Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
I love riding. I started riding when I was eight years old and from then it's what I did, what I do. I got my first horse when I was 11 and from then on rode and rode, competed, even broke in my own horse later on.
When I was 16 the horse I broke randomly took off bucking, I fell off and had a little concussion but was okay. Rode her again and she never put a foot wrong again but I was wary, as I had trusted that horse. I got out of horses for a couple of years and then when I was 20, my then current horse being unrideable, was offered a friends horse. I wasn't even in the saddle and she bolted off, bucking.
I broke my arm and cracked my spine. It was not so much the pain but the uselessness. Living basically alone with no family around it was hard to do things, just opening jars, cutting food, driving (I drive manual). With my back I couldn't lift more than 3kg for 6 months, I had to move on my current just because of my inability to do stuff. I hadn't done anything wrong with that horse. Most falls I can attribute, at least in some way, to a mistake I made but not this one. I did everything right. And still I was hurt.
After about a year I started thinking about horses again. I'd see them and smile, have dreams about them. I'd always been the "horse girl" at school. My long term plans, places I'd lived, had always been structured around allowing me to own a horse. Without horses I wasn't me. The thing that had shaped my life was gone. I was so nervous when I decided to ride, it took me weeks to psyche myself up and then I went and booked a riding lesson at the local riding school, asking for as small a horse as they could give me. Even then I was terrified to get back in the saddle. But I did it, and fought my nerves a few more times, taking more lessons, until I bought Rosie. I'd get on her in a round yard, in a stock saddle, after lunging and literally do one lap at the walk, and then get off. Slowly I would ride longer, and then start trotting.
I still have Rosie and she needs work but she's quiet. Unfortunately she has lameness problems, but is still okay for light work. I've been riding my friends horse and having one I can get on everyday, and is fine, has done wonders for my confidence. I used to be shaking before getting on, terrified that the horse would do something, and I wouldn't be able to do anything then I would fall and not be able to do anything. Be helpless. Now though, it's getting heaps better, and I can canter alone in the open, I even rode a three year old stallion the other day.
So explaining it... riding is part of who you are sometimes. And you might be all scared but when you're not riding you think about it. And you remember a time when you weren't scared. The more you ride the braver you are, and that's what people are working towards.