Monday, 5 November 2012

In which I get back in the saddle

It was one of those ideas I’d been toying with for a while. You know, one that slips through the mind every so often, making its presence felt but not lingering long enough to become a nuisance. But then, it keeps coming back, again and again and again, until you’re having trouble keeping it quiet.

I used to ride religiously as a child (literally. There was much gripping onto the pommel for dear life, screaming “OH GOD, OH GOD, PLEASE STOP, YOU BLOODY CREATURE”), but gave up ponies in favour of boys when I hit about 16 (an error, if ever there was one). I’ve rarely ridden since, other than Best Mate’s previous horse, and we use the word “ride” there rather loosely. It was nothing that Charlotte Dujardin would recognize as such.

Best Mate's previous, Roneo. Good natured enough to put up with even inadequates like me when really he deserved much better.

But the thought of taking it up again is one that’s been floating around for a while. I’d managed to put it off for all kinds of reasons – cost, time, that I’ve not done it in years and I remember just how much it hurts in places you don’t realise you have places after lots of time off, that I didn’t have a location near me.

But it’s kept nagging, and then the Olympics happened and our equestrians won pots of medals (not that you’d know from some coverage in the media), and The Equestrienne and I started to have our regular lunches, and The Domestic Slut took it up after many years off and started raving about her riding lessons at a school not very far from the flat – all of which was nudging me towards thinking that, just maybe, it would be fun to get back in the saddle (again, literally). And then I spent a weekend with Best Mate, and met her new horse, and got a few more enthusiastic text messages from DS.

Best Mate's current, Mr Brown. A thoroughly handsome chap.

And suddenly, I found myself on the phone to a local riding school, telling them that I hadn’t ridden in about 15 years, and could I please book myself a private lesson with the owner of the school, and something bombproof would be lovely, thank you. 

I’m thoroughly excited about the whole thing, if a little concerned that I’m a) now so inflexible I won’t be able to get on the damned thing; b) going to come straight out the side door at so much as a sniff of anything faster than a walk; and c) that I’ll end up loving it so much that I decide I need one of my own, because I’m not entirely sure horse-ownership is allowed in the terms of our tenancy agreement.

The Writer is less excited, on account of the facts that a) he was planning on buying me riding lessons for my imminent birthday, a plan which I have now gone and scuppered; b) he is convinced I’m going to fall off horribly and break my back in several places. That one, to be fair, isn’t inconceivable. Hunting and cross-country-type activities aren’t going to be on the cards for a long while – and it’s going to take me at least that to be able to re-master a half-decent rising trot – but I imagine accident-prone ol’ me could do myself a nasty from sitting still, so you never know.

And so a trip home is in the offing, to dig out the riding hat. And hopefully a little horse sense.


Redbookish said...

I think it's like riding a bicycle: you never forget. And the moment you get a sniff of that horse smell, you'll wonder why you ever stopped. Have a wonderful time.

Amy said...

How exciting! I hope you have an excellent time. And I'm sure you could fit a horse in the living room, as long as it wasn't too big.

Foodycat said...

Well, after stealing the horse's shampoo, I suppose riding them is the least you could do!

Mud said...

You will have a wonderful time. But do pop some vaseline in the bathroom cabinet in case of unfortunate 'chafing'.....

Kat said...

*smug peer pressuring face*

Just think of all the lovely ponies! And hacking in the park! And that bit a few weeks in where you stop being utterly terrified that you will fall off every five minutes!

Blonde said...

Red: I do hope so. That's the plan, at least.

Amy: Thank you! I'm really looking forward to it.

Foodycat: You make an excellent point there...

Mud: Oof. Now there's a thought.

Kat: Yes, it's YOUR FAULT. I am looking forward to the ponies and the hacking and the not being terrified, though.

nuttycow said...

Ah you'll be fine. I wish I could get myself back in the saddle. I'm not scared, just don't have the time or company *sobs*

Let us know how it goes.


Kat said...

@nuttycow I went on my own (and indeed go on my own!) but yes, if you don't have the time then it's a real bugger. I've very much enjoyed my Sunday afternoons in Dulwich - and bizarrely, it seems that half the London's power media send their kids their for lessons.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Oh I'm so jealous, last time I saw my horse it really reignited that proper all encompassing love for the beasts. I'd sign up for lessons myself except my bank balance won't let me do it unless it's a treat. Although Christmas present list is a good idea...

Plus I get very stubborn about paying a lot for something that I used to be able to do any time for free*. (*My parents would probably disagree with that part of the sentence.)

Brennig said...

To get away from all the horseiness in my life I use a place in Wales - Grange Trekking - four hours in the saddle a day, rain or shine (inevitably, rain), across the Black Mountains. Stunning views, vertical climbs/drops and good home cooking. I'd recommend this place if you want a weekend riding break.

rennbird said...

Oh my, that Thelwell cartoon takes me back to the days of Kids Own by Charles Owen riding hats, and rubber riding boots that can be cut to size. I too was a very horsey child, whilst friends had Take That on their bedroom walls, I had Cancara and Freddy, that chestnut horse from Horse & Pony magazine.

I gave up riding long ago, but I keep getting pangs to get back in the saddle. Let us know how it goes!

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