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I Ride

December 15, 2009

Sharing from my in-box - 

Below from an 87-yr old very active horseback riding mother I thought an
expression of a horse lover's thanks and feeling of empowerment--and
worthy of sharing in this season.

Subject: I Ride

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women
who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power
and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered
out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill
water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the
vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by
the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the
business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At
least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'.
It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model
horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the
women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a
sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as
women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some
trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I
breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor
the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen
smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into
the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding
flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is
perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement
of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in
my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I
ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend
through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my
chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real
accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how
much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I
ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find
lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside
rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams The Granite
Stairway at Echo Summit; bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl
add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent
they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch.. We haul 40 ft rigs, we
back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the
horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the
horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know
that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor.
Your hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel.
You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a
small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real
one.

"My treasures do not chink or glitter, they gleam in the sun and neigh in
the night"

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