by Laura Crum
I have not been an ambitious horse person lately. Quite frankly, I have been a lazy horse person. I feel a little bit guilty about it. I just haven’t been motivated. And I don’t mean too lazy to train and/or prepare for an event. I mean ride. I haven’t been motivated to ride much.
I know that sounds sort of sacrilegious, but it’s true. I thought I’d write about it in the sneaking hope that a few others can relate, and might say so, thus making me feel a little less guilty.
I’m not sure why I feel this way. Or rather, there are a whole collection of reasons why I feel this way, but I can’t pinpoint the main one. Nothing bad has happened. I haven’t been hurt or scared, there have been no wrecks, the horses are sound and healthy. When I do ride (about once a week these days), I see lots of pretty things.
Perhaps one reason for less riding is that my son is less motivated to ride with me. He is interested in other things these days more than riding. And certainly my riding life for the last thirteen years has been very much about riding with my kid. His horse, Henry, is 26, and has some arthritis issues in his hocks. Henry doesn’t really like climbing steep hills any more, though he is perfectly sound and quite free on level ground. My son will ride with me occasionally, and enjoys it, but he doesn’t ask to ride any more and often declines the offer of a trail ride. Still, we have had some nice rides this spring/summer. Here he gives Henry a breather/rest (one of many) on a steep bit of trail.
I have been very absorbed in my garden projects, particularly my little pond/water garden. My inclination on a nice day is to fuss with the water plants and float in the pool rather than saddle up and ride down a dusty trail. I’m just feeling lazy.
I rationalize this by saying to myself that I have paid my dues. I spent twenty years training colts, riding virtually every day and competing almost every weekend. I have done stuff…I’m allowed to kick back now that I’m older. Hell… how many people have done this?
But I’m all too aware that plenty of gals my age are doing ambitious stuff—you know, like riding Tevis. I’m mildly jealous of all my internet friends of any age who are doing lots of cool, very ambitious horsey stuff despite the fact that they are, well—in an interesting condition, or as old as me, or have suffered an injury or illness, or are super busy with school or job or being a mom. I’m aware that I could get off my butt and get in shape and do more stuff. But I don’t want to.
I recently spent a perfectly lovely day-- when I could very well have gone for a ride-- working in the garden, reading a book, floating in my pool, and turning horses out to graze. It worked for me. Worked for the horses, too, as far as I can tell. They seem to like being turned loose on the property as much as they like going for a ride. But there is still this small residual guilty feeling.
Perhaps I will get into a more ambitious horsey mode again in the future—it has certainly happened before. I took five years off from riding (other than with my child in front of me in the saddle) when I had my baby, and then spent the last six years trail riding several days a week with my son. We covered lots of miles, did hundreds and hundreds of rides together, and saw a lot of lovely things.
So who knows what the future holds, but that’s my question for today. Any other lazy horse people out there? And do you feel guilty about it?