Newbie Horse Rider

Blog for new adult horse riders

Month: June 2017

Fabulous 50


Napa Valley, CA

For over a year I dreaded the day that was fast approaching:  my 50th birthday.  Thanks to my wonderful husband, the half century mark blew in like a lamb as we spent the day on route to San Francisco.  Having turned 50 last year, his words of wisdom rang true: the prospect of turning 50 is far worse than the actual event.  Most people get stressed out over at least one birthday.  For some it is 30, for others 40, but for me it was 50.  Having moved past this milestone has allowed me to reflect on why I was so stressed about it.  After all, it’s just a number.  The funny thing is, I’ve decided that I actually LIKE being 50!  So, for all of you who are stressed about getting older, let me share a few words of wisdom.

  1. Look forward, not back.  Sure, you’ve done some awesome things in the past.  Feel free to recall those fond memories, but don’t dwell on them.  Instead, look forward and think about all the stuff you’d like to accomplish in your next 50 years. Spend some time planning how you’d like to live the second half of your life.
  2. Being young is so over rated!  Ok, so maybe I had more energy 15 years ago than I have now.  So what?  I use that as a terrific excuse to curl up with a good book on a Sunday afternoon, something I would never have had time for when I was 35.  When I was younger I was constantly on the go: full time teaching job, kids, graduate school, etc…  Sometimes I look back and wonder how on earth I did all that without loosing my mind.
  3. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a little more money to spend on yourself when you’re 50.  When my husband and I were first married we would sometimes have to look around the apartment for loose coins just to put gas in the car.  While we do have three kids to put through college, at least we can fill up our gas tanks and take an occasional trip.
  4. Embrace who you are, inside and out.  When I was young, I didn’t always like what I saw in the mirror.  Why did I have to have curly red hair when all the beautiful people had straight blonde or brown hair?  I hated my freckles, my rear end, my height… As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to not only accept the way I look, but embrace it.  Now the things that I used to despise about my physical appearance are the things I love the most.  They are what set me apart and make me, me.  Hopefully I’ve passed this message onto my teenage daughter.
  5. Age gracefully.  There is nothing wrong with having lines on your face, or gray hair.  Our society has an obsession with youth and has brainwashed us into believing that we should look 30 forever.  Why???  I don’t want to look 30.  I’m not 30.  I like the lines on my face because they are a road map of all that I’ve done in my life.  I’ve earned every single wrinkle and every gray hair.  Of course I believe that we should take of ourselves as we age, but we shouldn’t have to hack up our bodies and inject toxic substances into our faces just to feel accepted.
  6. Wake up every day feeling grateful for this wonderful experience called life.  How fortunate I am to have this opportunity to turn 50 when so many poor souls never get the chance.  I try to find beauty in the most simple of things, and laugh as much as I can (which probably explains the wrinkles around my eyes…).

Now go out and enjoy your age!  And remember, your horse doesn’t care how old you are or what you look like as long as you show up at the barn with carrots.

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The Newbie Horse Rider at Large

The beautiful view from our room in California wine country

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,…”   Charles Dickens could always find the right words to sum up any situation, such as my life over these past few weeks.  It started with what I thought was a stomach bug, followed by a whirlwind vacation with my husband to San Francisco and Napa Valley (now thinking that perhaps drinking numerous pints of beer and eating copious amounts of bread wasn’t such a great idea), stomach issues continued, then the horse show (more to come on that in a second), stomach still not right, out to Dallas to see my mother and father, stomach still in turmoil.  On the bright side my mother is doing well, on the downside my body seems to have developed an aversion to all sorts of things, most of them yummy.  Ugh!  Getting older can be rough on the spirit.

For the time being I am home and excited to share all the gory details of my second horse show – ever!  Unfortunately, my travel situation did not set me up for success in this past show.  I arrived home from California Wednesday night and by Thursday afternoon was riding Austin around the show ring.  I had been counting on practicing in the arena before the show, but my plane got in too late on Wednesday to allow for this.  There are many experienced show people who would not be at all fazed by such a situation, but I am not one of them. Showing up to the fairgrounds feeling exhausted from the trip, not to mention a stomach that was not cooperating, really did not put me in the mood.  I even told my trainer, “I’m not feeling this.  I really don’t feel ready for this, like at all.”  His response?  A coy smile.  That’s his code for, “Yeah, you’re still riding.”  Damn!!  Why can’t I find a trainer who gives into my whining just occasionally?

It felt like I was on Austin for less than a minute before we were ushered into the arena.  There were four of us in the class, and I couldn’t help but notice that the other women seemed far more experienced at showing their horses.  Nevertheless, I did my best to focus on the task at hand and recall every little thing we worked on in our lessons.   Austin was nervous, likely due to the fact that he had a stressed out woman on his back, and kept trying to pull away from the rail.  Despite my best efforts I couldn’t get him to walk straight, and so he moseyed on down the rail as crooked as a drunken sailor.  We got through it, but it wasn’t  pretty.  The surprise was that we actually took third place, not bad considering.  The championship class two days later was much better, even though we took last place.  In that class my goal was simply to ride well and keep Austin relaxed, which he was.  He was so relaxed that he broke momentarily from a jog into a walk at the exact second the judge was looking at us.  After that I knew our place was not going to be stellar, so whenever I felt Austin tense up I’d scratch his neck and he’d relax.  The great thing about showing is that it provides a window into the gaps in your riding and training.  We know what to work on, and already I’m noticing a huge improvement.

My daughter, Emma

My daughter, Emma, had nothing but terrific rides on her horse Matt.  After winning her equitation class, she is now ready to compete at the Morgan show in New England in July.  Well done Emma!

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