The BIG 30 Project: #6 Ride a Horse
Horseback riding may not seem like a huge deal, but to me it was.
I always wanted a horse when I was a kid but my Dad isn’t fond of them (probably because one caused a lot of health problems for my Grandfather after it kicked him in the chest) and I couldn’t exactly afford to have a horse without him. Then, there’s the other thing: I was afraid of horseback riding.
At my elementary school, we had an annual Fun Fair, just a little community carnival type of thing with games, garage sales, and a BBQ to raise funds for the school and entertain everyone. One year, when I was fairly young, they had horseback rides.
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I was a pretty cautious kid, so I was kind of nervous. Repeatedly, I was assured that everything would be fine. I got on the horse (with assistance) and it was fine- until the owner of the house next to the school yard decided to cut their grass, spooking the horse and landing me with a fear of horseback riding.
Despite growing up in a country environment, there weren’t a lot of opportunities for me to go horseback riding. One finally came when I was around 12 or 13, a trail ride with my family for my Aunt and Uncle’s anniversary.
I got on the horse, I freaked, I couldn’t do it.
I remember staying behind as my family went off on the trial ride, feeling like a giant loser. For the duration of their trail ride, I internally tore myself apart for not being brave enough to do it, for crying over the entire thing (which I couldn’t stop doing because apparently when you viciously berate yourself, it’s hard to not cry), and for any other reason I could think of.
So, getting on a horse was kind of a big deal for me.
I wanted to make 13 year old me proud.
I’ve been researching for a while about where I wanted to go and one day I just said to myself “Screw it, let’s do it now.”
I posted a status on Facebook asking my friends who wanted go on a horseback riding adventure and named the date. We worked out all the details; my friend Alison took care of the car rental, I booked the trail ride, Emily came along and looked fabulous, and after work deprived us of my friend Alicia’s company, Megan said yes to an entirely unexpected horseback riding adventure and added her awesomeness to our group.
We rented (or rather, Alison) a Mustang, and headed off to Wakefield.
As we headed out, rain hit, and we worried we wouldn’t be able to take our trail-ride, but thankfully the weather eventually held out….well, mostly.
We went to Captiva Farms and I am so glad we did. The staff there was amazing and were undeterred by a little rain. Our adventure was to occur!
We were asked if any of us had riding experience and if anyone was nervous. I-despite my previous fear-had decided not to be nervous, though I admitted that I was a little bit scared.
Each of us were assigned a horse based on what we told the staff and I ended up with a giant hulking beauty named Bruce.
Bruce is enormous. He and his brother Banner (note how I described him as HULKing, earlier? You’re welcome) are two of the tallest horses I’ve ever seen. Thankfully, Bruce isn’t just tall, he’s a giant mass of chilled out. Just a giant sweetheart.
We were given a half hour introduction/refresher on how to ride and within five minutes, any nerves I may have had were totally gone. I felt totally comfortable and EXCITED.
The rain didn’t completely hold off, by the end of the ride we were all soaked, but there were periods of dry and the gorgeous scenery more than made up for the weather. At one point, we came within 10 feet of a resting white-tailed deer who watched us impassively as we moved past her.
It was pretty spectacular.
By the end of the ride, we all felt the same way: Soaked to the bone and impossibly happy.
I’m so very glad that not only did I get to add this to my list, but that I took the risk in putting it out there for people to join in. I got to spend a very memorable day with 3 FABULOUS ladies and I got to face my fears. Although, in all honesty, I feel like it was almost to easy to conquer this fear. Does that mean that maybe I’ve grown as a person? I hope so.
At least there’s one thing I can be sure of.
I sure as hell made 13 year old me proud.
Completed BIG 30 Items
#1. Postmark Tattoo
#2. Reupholster a Chair
#3. See Amanda Palmer Perform Live
#4. Meet Someone I Admire
#5. Play an Instrument in Public
#6. Ride a Horse