It has been over 12 months since I last rode a horse and that day Rupert was an absolute gentleman. However, since little man arrived over 5 years ago my time on horse back has been very sporadic indeed, sadly.
There are two problems that I have to over come, one is childcare while I ride, the other has been to finally admit that due to the two back problems I have which were aggravated by carrying a child (my physio described what pregnancy does to the body as barbaric??!!), that I needed to find a quiet, walking sofa basically. I just did not have the core strength to be able to support my back enough.
Gone are the days of working a highland pony through his tendency to buck, or riding a 17h thoroughbred who was rather strong on the reins and getting down hurt so much. It was time to admit that I needed a horse that could help me, not potentially hurt me more. I had this conversation with Linda, a horse woman I have the up most respect for, and she said “I have the perfect match for you – meet Mikey”. It was love at first sight!
Mikey has a calm and cuddly kind of personality. Our first meeting involved 30 mins of me scratching where he asked me to, and me being snuffled and groomed in return. The answer to the question “So Mikey do you do kisses?” was a resounding yes as he stuffed his nose in my face for a kiss lol. Needless to say deliveries took a little longer that day as I had plenty of cuddles.
Now I maybe daft, but I am not stupid (although according to some this is still up for debate!). I didn’t decide to just get straight back on a horse, a little work was required first. Just some gentle stretching of the lower back everyday and some very basic fitness work, e.g cycling everywhere with my son. However, patience is often a virtue I lack and within a few weeks it was Mother’s Day and part of my “me time” was going to be my first ride on Mikey.
The day arrived and I faced my first problem – could I still fit into my freshly washed jodhpurs? I wouldn’t say they slipped on, but I didn’t have to fold and tuck myself into them either, or do the funny jumping wriggle dance to squeeze in – come on we’ve all been there. It was a pleasant surprise to find that I could wear my pre pregnancy jods. Although I didn’t dare breath too much hahahahaha.
I found myself getting quite nervous on the short drive to the stables. I was feeling excited, nervous, stiff and in a little pain. There was no way I was taking any tablets before riding, couldn’t risk not being able to assess how I was physically coping. When I saw him, it was love at first sight all over again – although I could swear he had grown since I last saw him. Bless that horse, he stood so patiently while I groomed him and fumbled about getting him ready. It was good for me though as it started to settle my nerves.
Then the time came to walk him up to the little indoor school and the nerves began to build again. I was about to ride, who to me, was a unknown horse not knowing how my back would react. Mikey plodded up and stood perfectly still at the mounting block, while I unceremoniously climbed up the steps (ok crawled). Before I knew it I was on the back of a very patient walking sofa, trying to remember how to ride. There’s a short video here. It wasn’t pretty, or perfect but I was back!! Yes, yes, yes – the smile on my face said it all.
I’m back and I’m riding twice a week. Never too old.