I think it has been about eight years since I’ve done any kind of real horseback riding. This is strange for me, since from the age of 5 to 20, I rode at least four or five times a week (except during water polo season). I knew when I entered high school that I would put horseback riding secondary to water polo until I was finished with water polo, but I have always considered myself a horseback rider, even through all the years I haven’t done it.
The break started because I decided to retire my horse. She was getting older and more injury prone. My mom had sold her horse and would no longer be at the barn to look after mine. It was a tough decision because I knew that it would mean my horseback riding career would be put on hold for the foreseeable future. However, it was also an easy decision because I knew it was the best thing for my horse.
At my level, it is difficult to ride without owning your own horse. Of couse, I could always “school” other people’s horses, as I’d done for many years, but there is a limit to what you are able to do and the amount of time you can spend with that horse. And owning a horse requires a commitment that I did not have time to give.
I have avoided riding for the last eight years, due to both logistics and grief for my horse who was put down in 2009. But recently I’ve decided that it may be the moment to return to an old love of mine, even if only in a small way.