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Taking up new challenges

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

There exists a black and white photograph of me, taken over twenty-five years ago in the Lake District, next to a horse. I am wearing a long silk skirt and hold the bridles, while keeping the animal at an arm’s length. I look positively terrified. 

My friend Margaret, whose parents’ farm we were visiting over the Easter break, was bent on teaching me how to ride. She had been an equestrian since childhood, and routinely galloped around Hyde Park, and couldn’t fathom how I had lived so long without getting on a horse. Once she saw my body language around her animals she quickly dropped her plans and settled for a walk around the lake.

Eventually, one my neighbours, about fifteen years ago, insisted I tried. And I did. It wasn’t fun, nor pretty. So it was really surprising when the same neighbor, who might have forgotten all about that first foray on a saddle, emailed me her offer to teach me to ride. “You love animals and nature so much” she enticed.

My first instinct was to thank her profusely and demur. Instead, I let the thought settle for half a day.

I have been venturing into unknown territory recently, and very much enjoying the results. I have been taking a free form movement and dance class that has given me a new appreciation for my body and left me wondering why I don’t dance more often. I have taken up crossword puzzles in English – a lifelong passion of mine, in Italian – learning to navigate the abstruse and unfamiliar clues with more success than I anticipated. And why shouldn’t I succeed? And I am embarking on a learning journey of sorts that has me very excited.

I ended up accepting my friend’s invitation, in the spirit of trying something new, and will be settling my butt on a saddle soon. This time, I will insist on no photographs. At least until I am ready to gallop down a beach, hair in the wind. Isn’t that what they always do in movies? We shall see.

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  1. I so hope your riding experience is magical. These elegant majestic creatures can absolutely touch your soul. Very best thoughts.

    April 9, 2017
  2. Ellie

    I think it’s the spirit that counts. Horses feel it. I learnt the hard way years ago when, although my heart wasn’t in it, I forced myself to ride a horse. The horse could feel it, and wanted me to get off, obviously as much as I did !!! It let me off graciously and kept our relationship of the softly, stroking, whispering kind. I understand Winston’s comment if you want to excell, but the enjoyment in personal achievement has no time limits. The father of a friend of mine learnt to ski aged 67 – he finally had the time to do it, felt it was a challenge, and tackled it with enthusiasm. I learnt to drive aged 59 and passed first time (theory and practice)!! I’m no Sebastian Vettel, but I think I’m a more responsible driver than most people who’ve been driving for years. So, it sounds to me like you’re going to enjoy the horse-riding experience even it’s just a one-off!!!

    April 7, 2017
  3. Interesting… several days ago (maybe a week now?) a friend of mine asked me if I want to be a writer for a health blog (run by the company she works for). I was hesitant at first, so I asked her to give me some time to think it over. I kept making excuses, then counter-arguments. After reading this post, I thought, yeah, maybe this is worth a shot, and sent her a message – “in the spirit of trying something new”, even if it might entail hard work.
    Good luck with the horse riding!

    April 7, 2017
    • I am so glad if I inspired even one kernel of your decision. Go for it. You might even enjoy it!

      April 7, 2017
  4. winstonmoreton

    Nice critters but riding them is like skiing – something to learn as a youngster

    April 6, 2017
    • Thank you for the encouragement W! I will report back, sore butt et al.

      April 7, 2017

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