Howdy, Howdy!

Howdy, Howdy, I’m a cowgirl!!  Yup, a card-carrying, horse loving, bona-fide cowgirl.  Well, maybe not card-carrying but I’m really getting into horses again.  I haven’t spent this much time with horses since I was 15 years old and it has brought back a lot of memories of carefree summers spent on the back of my horse.

I’ve recently met someone who is fast becoming a really good friend and she has a grand herd of horses.  It is way outside of my paradigm to ride anywhere except somewhere near the location of my horse but she loads up and takes her horses to various riding trails within about 100 miles.  And she isn’t alone.  I went riding with her on Sunday and it was a sight to behold when she arrived at the trail followed by two more horse trailers of other friends.   I know it is corny but I felt proud to be a part of the expedition!

So the horse I ride on these trail rides is not my beloved Dylan but a horse that belongs to my friend.  She just loads up an extra horse and brings it along for me.  I really feel lucky for this opportunity and I still can’t believe that she is willing to go to the trouble for me.  This may be one of the best things that has happened in my life in quite a while.

Now for the downside of all this riding: my rear end.  Not an area of my body that I actually want to be aware of as I go through my day.  I get on the horse at the beginning of the ride full of optimism, vim and vigor.  The first hour of the ride is great.  I have to take my feet out of the stirrups every so often to straighten my leg and stretch my knee, mainly the left knee but that is minor compared to the thrill of riding out with a few friends.  The second hour (have I ever even stayed in a saddle for more than an hour before?) I can feel my sitz bones.  At the beginning of the third hour I go under a low branch which takes my sunglasses and I stare at them on the ground and wonder if it is worth the trouble of getting off to pick them up.  Getting off of the horse is no problem at all – my bones creak and both knees need to be unfolded slowly but getting off to get my glasses was no problem at all.  However, unless I want to lead the horse for the rest of the ride, I have to figure out how to get back up.  I do not remember it being so hard to mount up when I think of my years of riding but somehow it is by far the hardest part of the ride.  I face the saddle, grab my left leg with my right arm and place my foot in the stirrup.  So far, so good.  Happily my horse is a patient kind of gal – she stands while I’m hopping around with one leg on the ground and another leg in the stirrup.  Then, like Superman, I leap……and find myself back in the saddle.  Yea!!  I’m a cowgirl!!

Now we are on the third hour and I’m feeling good.  Getting off to stretch was a great idea…..although technically it wasn’t my idea.  It was more a rescue of my sunglasses and I did debate for a few minutes on leaving them right where they landed but knew I couldn’t handle the glare from the sun.  By the end of the third hour, there was some talk about heading back.  Some talk and a lot of jokes about how ‘some people’ might be saddle sore by the end of the ride.  Might?  Might?  I was already saddle sore but surprisingly, not like I thought I would be.  I’ve gotten much more sore bike riding and this was so much more fun!  The ride lasted about 3.5 hours and I can’t wait to go again……….

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