I'm bored. I can't seem to stop yawning today, and I want nothing more than to do one of two things: Go home and take a nap, or go find some quiet bench in the middle of some quiet park and take a nap outside. But, alas, I am in the office for a few more hours. So I decided to tell my followers a little story:
There is something about me that is extremely well-known to old friends of mine, but much less known to newer ones: I am absolutely 100% horse crazy. Yes, you heard that right. This 26-year-old can't get enough of horses, and almost ten years of not being around them all the time has taken its toll.
When I was in middle school and high school, I rode horses because it made me happy. I started riding when I was in fifth grade, and I actually fell off during my second ever lesson. While trotting around the indoor arena a horse kicked the wall in its stall, the horse that was in front of me spooked and bolted, and because I was so inexperienced my horse decided to follow suit and started a pursuit. The other kid stayed on, but go figure this kiddo fell off. I wasn't seriously hurt and got right back on, but I can't lie. I was definitely shaken.
But here's where this story gets a little weird: After that incident, I was terrified of riding. I never told anyone about it, but after that each day that I had a horseback riding lesson I would shake the whole drive to the stable. I don't remember how long this lasted, but I recall it being several years that I was scared to pieces. And yet at the same time I loved it more than anything else. How's that for odd?
Anyway, I devoured horse books (both fiction and nonfiction), I looked up all sorts of facts about horses and horse care, I began to avidly follow Thoroughbred racing (something I still like to do as a hobby, and by the way my Kentucky Derby picks are Lookin At Lucky, Ice Box, and Devil May Care if you need my betting advice), and I pretty much was consumed by all things horse-related. I could spend hours browsing tack shops, and I would go through the mail order State Line Tack magazine until the pages began to fall apart.
I always was told that a rider wasn't truly a rider until he or she had fallen off at least ten times. That happened with no problem. I broke an arm in seventh grade, and I even broke a leg when I was a sophomore that left me in various casts for over three months (frankly, I think that episode counts for like 20 falls, but I digress). I competed in a multitude of schooling shows, and in my first ones I generally placed last or next to last. But as I grew as a rider, my scores improved as well. Soon I was placing first or second more often than not. It was hard work because I really don't think I am one of those "natural" horseback riders who can pick it up with no problems. I always had to work at it to be good.
At any rate, I rode up until I graduated high school. I couldn't afford to ride in college, and for some reason after college it just never happened. I did some research on stables in the area and even e-mailed one or two, but I never got this habit back off the ground. But lately I've been going a little stir crazy in my life, and since horseback riding was always a very steady influence in my young life I figured that perhaps it would help now as well.
I found a stable I like, and hopefully I can get this train rolling in the next few months. It's funny though how I was defined by horses ten years ago. Everyone at school knew I was a rider, and my friends always knew that whenever my weekly riding time was I would be completely unavailable. But these days it's not been an obvious part of who I am. Some people have expressed a lot of surprise when I have mentioned this part of my past to them, and for some reason that really makes me sad. It makes me sad because this is a huge part of me, and I want to get that part back. I want my friends to know me through and through.
So wish me luck! I have no doubts that it's going to take months, if not longer, to get back to the level I used to be at. There will be no jumping over three foot walls or oxers anytime soon.
(I would like to point out that no, this is not a photo of me.. just what I used to do!)