Back In The Saddle Again
So at age 47, I decided to get back in the irons again. It has been thirty-some years since I have been in the Hunter/Jumper arena, and I am discovering how much this traditional sport has changed. I also realize how my body has changed and become stiff and rigid in my old age.
Realizing that I was eager to make a change, I joined a CrossFit gym. It has been six months, and I am very thankful for the changes I have seen in my body and my physical endurance. I am also grateful to be involved with a Crossfit "box" with responsible trainers who are always making sure you are working out correctly and emphasizing form and mobility. Perhaps I am going through a bit of a mid-life crisis or maybe trying to live it up while I'm still able.
I decided to call up a recommended hunter/jumper trainer in our area for a lesson. Although I am still carrying some excess pounds, my body feels stronger than it has in years, and I am excited to get back in the saddle.
It all started with an email that went something like this:
I was interested in your lesson program, but I do not own a horse. Do you offer lesson horses? And do you have any openings?
Thank you for your time".
Yes, we do offer lesson horses, and we do have lesson times available. Could you please let me know your level of riding and what days work best for you? We are closed Sundays and Mondays.
Thank you for your interest."
"I have ridden a bit in the past, but it will be like starting from scratch. In short... I would be comfortable with walk, trot, canter, I think. I hope that gives you a bit of a starting place."
Can you send me your phone number, and I'll give you a call tomorrow."
I showed up for my lesson, and the trainer/owner brought up a horse from turnout. As she passed my car, I asked if she wanted me to bring my old saddle up to the barn. She took a glance and replied something like, "you certainly can if you like," but we have saddles that might be a lot more comfortable to ride in. These days people buy those old Hermes Steinkraus's for home decor. Thinking to myself... WHAT?? I replied, "comfort is good." I grabbed my old chaps and followed her up to the barn. She pulled a gem of a horse called Radish and put him in the cross ties. After a quick groom and tack-up, I proceeded to put my chaps on. The friendly owner of this horse looked at my chaps and said: "Oh wow, I had a pair of those back in the day." I quickly felt my age and was quite honestly feeling a bit outdated and a bit nervous about getting back in the saddle again.
I hopped on, smiled, and quickly felt at home in the irons once again. Although out of riding shape and a bit winded, I got through the lesson without anything dramatic happening. The trainer even let me jump a few small fences! I am quite thankful for the lovely warm blood that packed me around like a superstar.
I am looking forward to my next ride. I am also looking forward to learning about new trends in the Hunter/Jumper industry. Although I love the old traditional looks, technology has improved the comfort and safety of the riders. I guess I really shouldn't be so surprised at all the changes. Just like the equine hoof care world that I have been working in for twenty-plus years, some new products and materials enhance the performance and comfort of the Horse and Farrier. Twenty years ago, Farriers looked at our new composite plastic horseshoes and could not imagine nailing up a horse in anything but steel. Today they all carry alternative shoes like our HOOF-it Natural Flex Horseshoe along with their steel keg horseshoes with them regularly. I am very proud that we are leaders in the hoof care industry with new innovative products made out of high-tech materials that enhanced the performance of the Horse and Farrier.