Subject: I ride

I did not write this, but I wish I had…..

I Ride….

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women

who ride know… it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with

power

and empowerment; being able to do things you might once have considered

out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill

water

barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery,

change

a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out

before

getting down to the business of drinking a cold drink after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At

least,

I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it ‘a sickness.’ It’s a

nice sickness

I’ve had since I was a small girl bouncing my plastic model horses and

dreaming

of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with

understand

that meaning of ‘the sickness.’ It’s not a sport. It’s not a hobby. It’s

what we

do and– in some ways– who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some nice

trailhead

somewhere, unload, saddle up, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in

the

air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of

my horse.

My shoulders relax.

A smile spreads across my weathered face. I pull

my floppy hat down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse

leaves in the sand.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding

flicks

his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume

to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of his walk and the movement of the

leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand

softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement: I ride. I think of all I do because I

ride. Climb

rocky slopes, wade into a lily-pad lake, race a friend across the

hayfield… all

the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest.. Other days just the

act of

mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no

matter

how tired or how much my sitter bones or any of my other acquired

horse-related

injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel a lot better for doing so.

I think of the people, mostly women, that I’ve met. I consider how competent

they all are. Not a weenie in the bunch. We haul 40 ft. rigs, we back ’em

up

into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp, tend the horses.

We

cook and keep our camp neat. We understand and love our companion–, our

horses. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know

that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, bathe, wait and

doctor. Your

hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel. You do

without

to afford the ‘sickness’ and probably, when you were a small girl, you

bounced a

little model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

“My treasures do not chink or glitter, they gleam in the sun and neigh in

the night.”

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