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  • Jane Wheeler

Well worth the "ouch"!

I had a chance to go horseback riding tonight. I have not been on a horse since I was a teenager – which sad to say was a long time ago!

I have not had a chance to be with horses since that time so picking grass and offering it as a treat to the horses, the smell of horse, brushing and saddling took me back quite a ways. I admit I had to use the climbing cone as I think my flexibility went out the window several years ago. I figure I probably could have thrown my leg over the saddle but then I might have thrown out a hip or two in the process – best not to chance it!

I had had visions of me getting one leg into the stirrup and then finding myself flatly prone across the top of it – arms and feet flapping like a bird or swimming upstream atop of the horse. I am thankful to report that this did not happen although I am sure there would have been pictures others might have paid money to see.

There is something about horseback riding that takes you back to simpler times, less hectic paces and communing with nature. Before I got to ride Roxie I had to brush her down and then place the blanket and then the saddle on before the bridle went into Roxies’ mouth. The preparation of getting ready to ride, unlike getting in the car and inserting a key, it took time and was a unique bonding time for me and the horse.

I have always marveled that such a small piece of metal like a bridle could determine the direction of one huge animal. But I guess if I had a bridle in my mouth and someone was pulling on it – I would probably be turning at their whim as well.

Atop of my animal, Roxie, a blue roan we started to move out, “heels down, toes up” was the phrase to remember. Our heartwarming escorts took us to their “trails” – passages made in a woodlot, with a meandering waterway, beaver, grouse, foxes, deer, moose and a variety of birds. On the other side of the road was the open prairie where we could see across the fields with an unobstructed view. The view was gorgeous.

Undeniably this ranked as one of the best highlights I have had in a while. The sun shining, the horses moving through the brush effortlessly, the great company and laughter, does it get much better than this I wondered?

I should think of taking up riding again I quickly pondered.

We rode for about an hour and a half. By the time we got back I was feeling my legs stiffen from practicing the phrase “heels down, toes up” and trying to keep them in this locked position. I used the mounting cone to dismount and was really glad I had since my legs almost buckled when I got down. Definitely stiffened up! The inner thighs were a slight bit touchy and I had the urge to walk a bit strangely, I figure I will be a tad bit sore tomorrow.

After the ride I brushed Roxie back down again and I tried to give her a longer time as my way of thanking her for her compassion with me the novice rider.

The decision is still pending if I want to take up riding again – I guess I will make that decision after the soreness of the next couple days plays out.

One thing I do know that for tonight – the “ouch” was worth every second of it!

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