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FF Sparks (Casual)

Horsie Day!

YAY! Smarty Jones won the Derby! (Being of Philadelphia stock, we had to cheer for him, and were glad he won.) Amazing, though... enter the Derby undefeated, and win the Derby!

Today has been a horse-centric day in a lot of ways. While scanning many family photos earlier, I found a LOT of my grandmother, when she was younger, with a horse she used to ride. Pictures of her with the horse, her on the horse, her grooming the horse, her feeding the horse, etc.

Now, I knew my aunt Sally had been a rider when she was younger, and I knew my mom had ridden when she was younger, for a little while. However, most of my life, I've been forbidden to ride. (In fact, I was forbidden to go on the pony rides at the fair.) And I did not know that my grandmother had ridden, or that my great-grandmother had also done so. Horses were more or less a forbidden topic growing up, because mom would freak out. So I've been interested in them, but only ever able to be interested from a distance. I've pondered taking riding lessons a few times, but every time I consider it, if mom finds out, it turns into an argument about 'reckless activities' and suchnot. When I wanted to try riding when I was younger, mom insisted I learn downhill skiing instead because it was safer; the only time I've ridden is on a friend's horse farm when I was staying with them, and mom didn't know.

Sally and I did a bit of talking about it today, and I now know a bit more of why. I knew my mom had been injured while riding once, but it turns out she'd broken her tailbone and the instructor made her get back up and get on the horse and finish out the ride. In the end, it made the injury so much worse that mom spent a great deal of time in pain, had to drop out of some gymnastics stuff she was doing, and developed a horrible phobia of horses.

Sally is encouraging me to try riding and working with horses as a way of getting out of the house and being more active, because she says she thinks I'd really enjoy it; that a fondness of horses is really in the family blood, despite mom's horrible phobia. Of course, it'll still be a bit of a fuss with my mother; she still freaks out whenever I even /mention/ wanting to look into horses.

What's interesting is that Sally and her sister-in-law (though my uncle died of lung cancer six years ago, Sally's still close to his family) have been considering starting a bed-and-breakfast and horse farm in Washington. (The things she's been considering are 'stay here in Philadelphia,' 'move to the tropics and raise gardenias and orchids,' or 'move back to Washington and start a horse farm.') She'd take a lot of the antique furniture from this house, use it for a nice old bed-and-breakfast, and then have a horse farm attached so the guests could go out and go riding and stuff. It's one of the possible things she's considering doing, and so we talked a bunch about this today. That if I was interested, she thinks it'd be cool to go work with the horses there and all. (My mom would have absolute kittens, but that's an entirely different matter.) I admit that could be kind of cool. Plus, she's said if I know any friends who like horses, would they be interested if that all happened? (Gee, I dunno. Hey, wonderwombat, do I know anyone who's obsessed with horses?)

In general, I get along better with my aunt than I do with my mom. Can you tell? ;)

Comments

As someone who's had horses since she was 8 or 9 and has taken many, many rotten falls ... I still encourage you to get into it! It's fun, it's good exercise, it's extremely theraputic. I haven't gotten to ride in a few years and I miss it like crazy.

So yeah. If you get the chance, give it a try. It really is a wonderful thing!

(...As I waste no time throwing myself behind Smarty Jones for the rest of the Triple Crown.)
*waves Smarty Jones flag with you* :)
Horses can be a lot of fun. I took riding and fencing lessons as phys ed electives in school (too bad Stevens Tech didn't offer a Cavalry minor). It's easy to get into. I know of at least two kinds of stables - English-saddle and Western-saddle. English-saddle is more common on the east coast and with hunt clubs and the like. Western-saddle is more common (big surprise) out west.

If possible, I suggest going with an English stable to start. You're forced to learn good habits with an English saddle, like how to post with a trot, which will (literally) save your ass. You'll probably start with a horse that's at least three years old, maybe older. Riding a four-year-old quarter horse was like getting on a bike with two sets of training wheels.

The only other things that are necessary are a good pair of shoes or boots with real heels (to catch the stirrups), a helmet, and some common sense. Like any other 'reckless activity', the best way to safely enjoy it is to stay sharp and use common sense, and if all else fails, hold on real tight.

The first time I was on a horse, I remember thinking, 'Where's the seat belt?' That feeling passes pretty quickly. IIUC, you've done kayaking and downhill skiing, so you're probably familiar with the feeling. The first time you try it and you don't know what you're doing, there can be a lot of fear. Once that's over with, the biggest thrill of it all is competence - the thought that 'yeah, this isn't the safest thing... but bring it on, because I can do it'.
*raises her hand* If Sally did the horse farm thingie and needed summer workers sometime in the next 2 years... more than summer workers after that, I'm there. :D
It'd be a couple years anyway, I think. Still, something to think about! :)
*grins* Oh, definately! I would willingly give up whatever computer-type job I might get myself into to work on a ranch full-time, since that's what I can envision myself doing and being happier than working at a computer every day.

Keep us posted! :D