My first encounter with a horse ended up in tears. The animal was too big and the ground was too far off for my comfort.
Many years later I had another chance to try my luck at horse riding. I was on a trip with some friends’ children and we had a wonderful buckboard ride. The owner of the horses allowed the children to take a ride around the yard. I said to myself ‘Here’s your chance. It’s now or never!’ But again the experience wasn’t to my liking. Horses are hard to predict and for a person with no previous experience even coming up to these animals can be dangerous.
Several years passed before I approached another horse. My niece wanted to go horse riding and I went with her. Just to watch and give her courage. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine myself finding guts to ride myself. The instructor asked a simple question ‘Two horses or just one?’ and I immediately said ‘Two.’ I held the reins and squeezed the horse with my legs, afraid to fall off the saddle. But the ride was extremely enjoyable and I wanted more. The positive feeling towards riding held until the evening when I discovered excruciating pain in my adductors. Now I knew how to walk in a cowboy style.
I must have been crazy to go back to the stables the next day. But I did. And I do not regret it. It was one of the best decisions in my life. I am not a great rider but I make small progress with each lesson. And my expectations are not high – I ride for fun, not for glory. And for positive feelings that horses give me when I’m around them. I can be dead tired and have tons of worries but when I enter the stables everything goes away. Just one look into the horses’ gentle and trusting eyes and I forget the world outside. They are great stress relievers.