Oh how I <3 everything about spring!!!
Since the title of my blog is titled “Horsing Around In LA” I thought it only fitting to say something about horses and how thankful I am to have them in my life. 🙂
With all the hustle and bustle of the city, and hurry hurry get this and that done, traffic, stress, overabundance of people, and other things that come from living in a big city, it’s nice to get away for a while to a quite peaceful country like place where none of this exists; the barn. It’s the perfect little mini escape.
Horses are very beautiful, majestic, athletic, creatures that are just amazing to watch and get to know. The bond a girl & her horse(s) can make are priceless. Often times when no human understands you, your horse just seems to get it and vice versa. I also think this goes for most other animals we keep as pets. They just seem to have a sixth sense about these kinds of things, if you’re in a bad mood or had a horrible day. They just know how to make it all better. 🙂 <3
They give a girl someone to trust when they feel their whole world is falling apart. A mane to cry in, a wise eye that will never judge, unconditional love, and a boy who will never, ever talk back. 😉
Mister hugs after he came back to us from a not so nice place.
Mister having fun in the turnout.
Shadow & I at a Schooling Show at home.
My cousin with Moon, a very sweet pony!
Most of us can remember clear as day the first time they sat on a horse. Maybe it was an old, arthritic ornery pony not suitable for anything more than the occasional lead line ride or a hot Thoroughbred racehorse whose trainers were insane to put a 5-year-old on its back. Whatever the case it was a memorable experience because it was unlike anything else. Horses are big and they offer a whole new view of the world. A little girl all of a sudden gets a lot taller when she’s hoisted onto a horse’s back, she’s now on top of the world! This feeling, along with the feeling of going faster than she could on her own two legs, is very addictive, especially when you throw some jumps in there. Then you really feel like you are flying!
Confidence. Responsibility. Dedication. Respect. Compassion. All very important attributes one will learn when taking care of a horse and learning how to ride.
Whether you are 6 or 66 you can get on an animal that outweighs you ten times, make the animal walk, trot and canter quietly, and maybe even convince it to jump over something, all the while making it look effortless. Horseback riding, like most athletic activities, is much harder than it looks. What you don’t see as a spectator is how much muscle control, strength and balance goes into even the simplest of movements. Horses don’t naturally move in straight lines and pretty perfect circles. They don’t naturally lower their heads, collect and trot daintily around an arena. The rider is making all of that happen. As a person continues to advance as a rider, you will see their confidence grow. Riding is HARD work and like any other sport takes lots of practice and dedication!
Horses also teach responsibility. If you haven’t noticed, they’re alive and have minds and personalities of their own. They are very much like large, heavy, overgrown toddlers that poop a lot and make a mess when they eat. Riding horses and taking care of them is very labor intensive. This includes grooming, bathing, mucking stalls, hauling water buckets, unloading hay and other feed, unloading shavings for their stalls, cleaning tack, repairing fences, cleaning the barn, making sure your horse gets out for exercise, and the list goes on. All of these chores have to be done on a daily basis. Kids and others who are involved with horses learn to work hard and take pride in their work; another valuable lesson for life!
You can blossom into a confident, capable and outspoken rider and horseperson simply by hanging out with horses and learning how to ride. When first learning to ride, you may be able to get away with being a passenger at first, but soon you will have to take charge. There are many naughty ponies and horses to thank for timid little girls learning to quite literally take the reins and take control. In the horse/human relationship, the rider is dominant and has to be for their own safety. Riding teaches kids & adults alike to take control and lead, to make quick decisions and to trust their instincts. You may think you’re taking a riding lesson, but really taking a lesson in life.
I don’t have any little girls myself yet, but I really wish my own parents would have seen the value of this when I was growing up. In such a vain society where girls are taught that their core value lies in how they LOOK, horses teach you to place value on what you can DO. Would you rather your pre-teen spend her afternoon wandering around the mall looking for the latest make-up fashions and push-up bras and hanging out with boys or master her position and equitation as she flies over a 3′ jump on horseback? I wonder which one will instill perseverance, diligence, and confidence in her ability to set goals and reach them? Hmmmm that’s a hard one! As little girls grow into teenagers, having horses around can be especially helpful. Your teenage daughter can’t get wasted or high at her friend’s party because she has to be up at the crack of dawn to trailer to a show. She certainly can’t get pregnant if she’s spending all her free time at the barn with the horses practicing and taking lessons. If her boyfriend dumps her, so what? Her horse is cuter anyway. Horses give teenage girls something to think about beside boys, parties and all the myriad superficial things our consumer society is selling.
Best of all, it’s never to late to get started. Wether you are 10, 20, 30, 50, 70 or older, it’s never too late to take up riding! I LOVE that Japanese equestrian Hiroshi Hoketsu qualified for the London Olympics at age 70, although it’s not yet clear if he will actually compete in the 2012 Olympic games this summer. 70 YEARS OLD and he can go to the OLYMPICS if he so chooses to actually compete! So I know there’s still hope for me yet! 😉
I am convinced that horses give back far more than they cost in ways that are immeasurable and priceless. Simply put, horses are good for the soul, and for that I am thankful.
*Shadow & I, Champions in the Modified Division at our first show of the season. :)*