photo of the day


Clare and I had missed our riding lessons on Tuesday due to the weather. When my riding instructor called and offered us the chance for a make-up lesson, I knew it would be a bit of a stretch, but with a little effort, I could make it work.

So between running to the mall to order a new mattress and driving up to New Fairfield to drop Nick off at a friend’s house for the night, Clare and I managed to fit in an hour of riding over at Gray Friesian Farm.

I can’t tell you how lovely it was to be riding in the milder temperatures. I think it not only relaxed me but Mr. Grumpy as well.

I have still been feeling really anxious since Texas took off on me at a canter a couple of lessons ago. Not that it was keeping me up at night but it was still enough to make me think twice before I mounted up. I didn’t want to be afraid and I didn’t want that fear to not only keep me from getting back on Texas but from making any progress. So when Adrianne asked me what I wanted to do at my lesson, I told her I wanted to break through my anxiety.

I had never been in the arena on a weekend and it was a very busy place. I had only ridden one other time when there was more than one other rider and Texas had taken off on me then, too. So I was a little apprehensive but determined that I would be able to work around the other riders and their horses.

I find I’m better off letting Clare have the first ride. That way she warms Mr. Grumpy up a bit. Also, she doesn’t have the patience to sit and watch me ride first so she takes off to go visit the other horses and then we have to waste time looking for her when it’s her turn. And letting her go first gives me a chance to watch and breathe a bit which calms me down and gets me ready to ride.

It was good for me to be able to watch the other riders. There were some experienced riders in the ring and watching their form and confidence really helped me when it was my turn to mount.


I watched Yanni riding with almost imperceptible cues to guide her horse around the ring. I watched another rider and noticed her seemingly effortless posting. I listened to Kirsten, the stable owner, telling a rider to “ride with your brain, not your body” to control her horse.

When it was my turn, I got on Texas and practiced walking and steering. Then I trotted on the longe line and managed to find some of the confidence and focus I had before his canter had taken away my nerve. I know I made progress and it felt good.

Part of me wants riding to be easier than it is. It isn’t easy. I’m up for the challenge. There is a lot to think about when you get on a horse. But riding is so much fun.

One time when I was in the ring with Texas he raised up his velvety nose and breathed on me with his soft, warm breath. He smelled so good, a combination of horse, hay and leather and it smelled divine. The other day I was wearing my riding gloves and I held them to my face and I could smell Texas. It was one of those lovely moments when just a smell takes you to another place and time and in my mind I was riding high.

When I was young I used to fantasize about riding. Almost every book I read was about horses. Every drawing I made would feature a horse. I’d be sititng in the back of the car with my parents as we drove from one place to another, but in my mind, I was riding alongside on the back of a beautiful black horse. When I read my autograph book from the 6th grade, almost every person who signed my book made some sort of teasing remark about my horsey obsession.


As I grew older, I gave up the idea that I would ever be able to ride. Even as an adult, I could hear the voice of my mother telling me that riding was simply out of the question. I cannot tell you how glad I am that one day after hearing her voice again in my head, I chose not to listen.

~ by photobella on 7 February, 2009.

2 Responses to “photo of the day”

  1. very pretty, and good for you! I used to be similarly obsessed with horses, but have found in my adulthood, that they scare the crap out of me!!!

  2. Good for you for riding through your anxiety. Anxiety is a very powerful thing, especially on horseback. I really admire people who take up horses in their adult life. I have ridden all of my life, and but I don’t know if I would be that brave to start it later in life. Riding with your mind is really good advice. I always “think” my command before I give any aides. It helps too with anxiety, if you are thinking about riding, you have less room to think about fear. Good luck to you and happy trails!

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