Saturday, September 3, 2016.
I can barely walk, my legs hurt so badly in a way in which I am unaccustomed. Horseback riding. I did it. I went horseback riding!
In true form of my planning proficiency, I had the Saturday schedule nailed! It did not work out that way, beginning with an ill-timed morning errand to the bank. No, silly Steph, it is Labor Day weekend. Not open. Oh, true I would have no situation at all if I would just use the debit cards. Um, no. I’m ok.
My son had his day planned as well doing sixteen year old Saturday activities with other sixteen year olds. And that is when the bucket list in my head clanged like I had dropped a brick in it. With a steady stream of lists of housework duties and business responsibilities to attend to, I listened to the call of the sunshine instead.
Never in a million years did I believe I would ever get on a horse again. Maybe to go along, with a group or with my son, but not for myself. Twenty-five years ago I rode with dreams in my head. Today the ride was the dream. Her name was Baby.
I began to pack the Jeep, ready to take full advantage of a weekend morning without overtime and the bonus of an extra day with the Labor Day holiday. That moment struck me as did the realization last night amidst the cleaning of the bathroom. I was returning my plastic container stuffed full of nail polishes to its proper shelf when I paused. It was nice – just plain “nice” – that as a part of my processes of life, I need not destroy myself. Putting away something was just that. The act of placement in ones home, in ones life was just that.
I believe I might be, as my bucket list stated, “Getting my sh*t together.”
As I packaged up lights and tools in the bright light of Saturday, that internal bucket list rattled a bit with some rubble of the past. “Call Steph, call.” So I did. I called the stable. Two o’clock I could ride.
Turning onto that gravel road I drove alongside the pasture, watching the half dozen or so horses, grinding summer grasses in their mouths with liquid dignity of silent statues. Creatures whose own history is so entwined with humans that a person feels simultaneous awe, fright and kinship. I was so excited it took me five minutes and three attempts at parking before I stopped my obsession with perfect parking!
And there she was, Baby, the gentlest coffee brown horse with the blackest of manes all built upon the strength of trained, shadow-colored legs. My guide aligned her between two blue plastic risers for me to climb into the saddle. I would have refused but the twenty-five years since taught me to accept the offer.
When I called for the horseback ride, I expected only to ride an outline outside the fields of the pastured horses. I did not think I could handle more than that nor did I think I could trust a horse or myself. “No,” my guide assured me as she, without hesitation, began with a five minute reintroduction to the reins. We were off. And there I was. Riding.
I giggled thirty percent of the entire time atop Baby. I could hardly speak the remaining seventy percent. As soon as Baby started walking, the power in her pace felt like five more feet in length of my own legs. She put up with me giggling and rubbing her neck. She paced with pauses for sneaking to swipe a taste of the grasses which lined the trail. She never flinched when, with curiosity of her hindquarter muscles, I turned backwards partially to place my hand behind the saddle. Her graceful sturdiness was reassuring when I knew I did not even need any such comfort. After a half hour in the sun with her, alternating between my giggles and her tearing at the grasses, I forgot about this being my first ride in very many years. I had lost the consolation of the ride being more than I ever expected. I forgot those two notions, then tapped her sides lightly with my stirruped feet.
She trotted. I squealed with release of surprised and bouncing excitement.
But when was I back in my own saddle? When I began working on my first light display at the building since Valentines Day.
May your weekend be Blessed with all of your favorite things!
#thebrickdandelion #backinthesaddleagain #Ohbaby