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Back in the Saddle Again

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Today, I am sore.

I am sore, because after about four years off, I rode a horse this past weekend.

That may be small potatoes for some of you.  Maybe you ride all the time.  Maybe you aren't into horses to begin with.  Maybe it's silly.  But to me...it's huge.


These ugly old boots?  They feel like home.  They have been worn only a handful of times in the last four years...mostly when holding Seamus for the vet or the farrier.  Every time I put them on, I feel...happy.  Comfortable.  And sure of myself.  I *know* this person.  I recognize the girl in these boots.

I admit I was afraid they would no longer fit.

After having Claire, my feet have gotten bigger (OK, everything has gotten bigger, but come on now...my feet!?).  I have pair after pair of cute peep-toes and sandals and wedges I used to wear for work that I will never wear again.  I have shoes I bought recently, still in denial about my new foot size, that have rubbed blisters into my heels and left red marks over my toes.  If these boots didn't fit...I would have cried.

So, imagine my excitement when I put them on and they felt exactly like they did the last time I put them on.  Perfect.

Yes, my new riding pants and half chaps were larger than the ones I wore in my previous life.  The "big" jacket I used to wear when riding in cold weather ($4 on clearance at Old Navy, SCORE!) clung to me uncomfortably and barely covered my tummy.  But my boots fit.

I was giddy as I nursed the baby for the last time before I left, and downright bubbling with excitement as I pulled a couple of carrots from the fridge (whoever was going to pack my sorry ass around the arena was going to earn a carrot or two!).

My only fear was that I would end up riding some nutjob.  In case you missed it, I haven't been on a horse for four years...I am out of shape *and* now a mother of two.  When I got to the barn, the first thing I told the trainer was that I needed something easy to ride, to help build my confidence and get me back into shape.  I'm happy to report she had just the horse for me.

A retired Grand Prix horse named Jolly, he was a kind old soul and did indeed pack my sorry ass around the arena.  Better yet, he was lazy, so Lord Almighty did I work.  I felt myself hurting in places I didn't even know I had.  But the best part was - I hadn't forgotten how to ride.

I'm not saying I looked like I did the last time I rode (pre-kids), and for more than one reason.  My timing was off.  My hands were sloppy.  I kept hunching over and my knees were begging for salvation after just ten minutes.  But I felt at home.  Not nervous (like I imagined).  Just incredibly...happy.

My legs were shaking from sheer exhaustion as I climbed off poor Jolly (and you can go ahead and feel sorry for him here...where I used to be light and nimble, and able to pop off of a horse's back with ease, I now felt like a creaky old sack of potatoes clumsily bumping my way to the ground).

He was rewarded heavily in carrots.

And today, I sit here in pain (kind of a lot of pain, and it's been four days) but incredibly grateful for that pain.  These sore muscles are here for a reason.  They are here because I did something I love.

It is easy to get lost in mothering.  Someone once told me (when I was pregnant, no less) that she would never have a kid because having kids changes you and takes away a part of who you really are, and that just made her sad.  Aside from the facts that she was piss drunk and telling this to a very pregnant girl...there was a bit of truth to her statement.

Having a child does change you in ways you will never imagine (uh, I said I might get a minivan - that's not something I would have said pre-kids).  And maybe it does take away part of who you "were" - but that's not sad to me.  I feel more whole since becoming a mother - I feel like my life has been added to in ways I'd never imagined.  But - I am stumbling through motherhood, and I do feel awfully lost a lot of the time.  For me, horses are a way to reconnect to who I really am - they remind me that I am not only a Mom, but a person too.  Riding a horse this past weekend helped ground me.  It helped me find a little balance in life when I didn't even notice I was askew...and that can only make me a better mother.

For all the things I am trying to add to my life (sewing, writing, cleaning on a semi-regular basis - all of which I am pretty much failing at!), there is something to be said for going back to my roots.  Back to what I love and what I already know.

I am happy to report that I am back in the saddle again...and that I couldn't be happier to be there.

Neigh!

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2 Comments:

At February 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM , Blogger Mrs. M said...

I am also a rider, and this post nearly brought me to tears because I know EXACTLY how you feel. I haven't been able to ride for a couple of years, but I'm hoping to change that soon. I can't wait to put my boots and breeches on again.

*hugs*

 
At February 16, 2012 at 7:43 AM , Blogger Carrie said...

I hope you get to ride soon...as you can imagine, it was the BEST. FEELING. EVER. I ended up being sore for almost a week. But it was totally worth it, and just reminded me all week long that I finally got back on a horse! :)

 

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