Saying Yes

Chester
Chester

I’ve never had any real interest in horses.  As a kid I went horse back riding a few times and I had two imaginary horses.  One was a white box that I pretended was a horse named Whitey.  The other was an invisible horse named Star who I would take with  me on walks one summer.  When Rocky came along I felt my connection to him wasn’t because he was a horse, but because he was Rocky.   But when Stacey offered to treat me to a  horseback riding lesson a few weeks ago, I found I didn’t hesitate to say yes.

The strange thing is that I don’t know Stacey that well and although riding has recently become a passion for her, I’m not sure why she thought I’d be interested in taking a lesson.  But the really strange thing is that I was interested.  It’s not something I even would have considered before she asked me.

So today, in between gardening and having dinner with Stacey and her husband Ed, I found myself taking a horseback riding lesson.

Denise was putting a meatloaf in the oven when we got to her house.  She asked me what I wanted to learn and how much experience I had riding.  I told her I was there because Stacey had invited me (Denise seemed to understand this completely)  and that the last time I was on a horse was for a 3 hour tour of Canyon De Chelly which was extremely painful on the butt.   Denise promised there would be no pain in today’s lesson and I immediately felt comfortable with her and trusted her.

We started by grooming the horse I would ride whose name is Chester,  then Denise showed me how to put a saddle on him.  She told me a bunch of other things too, like the best way  to walk around a horse so I wouldn’t get kicked, and how to tell what was going on with a horse by watching his ears, mouth and tail.  And how we are constantly communicating with a horse by what we are doing and what we aren’t doing.

Once I was on Chester, I found  that I wasn’t a bit nervous or uncomfortable.  That it all seemed very natural.  I’m sure this had a lot to do with Denise and  the way she teaches and that Chester is a really good horse.  But I also felt something in me that was different.  I knew that it was important that  I let this very large animal know that he was going to do what I wanted him to do, not what he wanted to do.   That I had to be confident and give very direct and clear messages through my actions and my intentions.  And mostly, I was able to do that.  I was also aware of my body and what it was doing, trying not to send a confusing signal by telling the horse one thing with my legs and another with my hands which were controlling the reins.

When the lesson was over I had enjoyed it enough to want to try it again.  And I also realized that if Denise asked me again what I wanted to learn, I would say that I would like to learn enough to feel confident to ride a horse by myself.  I’m not sure if this will ever happen and it’s not something that at this point I have a great desire or yearning for, but I’m finding the whole experience all very interesting and finding myself saying yes to it instead of no.

 

7 thoughts on “Saying Yes

  1. This is a wonderful turn of events. Chester is a “school master,” he will be a good horse to teach you about riding. I have ridden mostly geldings, but have branched out to riding gaited mare mules. I know you will love riding.

  2. Congratulations! I understand completely…right down to the imaginary horses (named STAR too!) as a child. Three years ago, at the age of 56 I did just as you are now. I always loved horses but never had the opportunity to be around horses regularly. That is, until just by chance I met my mare, named Gypsy. She’s a black Canadian mare and perfect for me. Three years later, she is mine. I still have a lot to learn about riding well, but the relationship between us grows stronger everyday we are together. Whether you own a horse or not is not the end all (though I KNOW you’d be very happy to have your own if/when the time is right). What IS the important point is experiencing the very special relationship you’ll have with the horse. I look forward to reading more about your lessons and experiences.

  3. Just saw the new banner/logos for your blog and they look great! I enjoyed reading about your experience with Chester. I adore horses and feel a kinship with them as my last name is horse in Italian.

    Love your blog and hope to see more posts about your riding of horses. Nice that your new friend encouraged you to try it. Rocky was so special. You have a natural connection with animals.

  4. Women and horses seem to have a natural affinity to one another. I believe you will have some interesting stories to tell as time goes on, Maria. Can’t wait to hear them.

  5. How wonderful to say YES….you never know what amazing adventures lie ahead. The new header is lovely and such fun! Really made me smile.

  6. OK.OK. My favorite story! I am thrilled you rode and awed by the insight the experience gave you.I’ll let you share my dream only cause I like you so much! I’m looking into stables close by now and getting input. I’m so happy you had this experience. 🙂 I have to beat Jon to a horse! Oh,and a big shout out to Chester~

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