Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Don't Go Wobbly On Me Now

Day one of Week With No Kids was dreamy. I slept in, took my time getting ready, surfed the web without guilt, read a little, ran some errands and at 3:30 went on a trail ride with Kate, a friend from church. In theory it was a good idea.

My girls have been taking lessons from Kate for about a year and in that time we’ve talked about how I used to ride. And by “used to ride” I mean when I was in junior high, which in my mind was last week but in actuality was about 25 years ago. Kate was brave to let me get near her horses because I’m pretty sure riding a horse isn’t exactly like riding a bike.

When I got to the barn Kate had her horses, Cheyenne and Marie, in the cross-ties. We groomed them and got them all tacked up. Kate had me start on Cheyenne in the outdoor arena. She threw a few welcomed reminders my way: back straight, heels down. I rode around the arena a few times and I guess Kate figured I was sure-seated enough because she hopped on Marie and we headed out for a trail ride.

It was a beautiful day – gorgeous blue sky, perfect cotton ball clouds, light breeze – it was just perfect. The owner of the property has tons of it. We rode on the trail for almost an hour, chatting about horses and husbands and how we ended up where we are. It really was a lovely afternoon, a gracious gift. When I caught sight of the barn again I wasn’t ready for the ride to end!

One thing the ride reminded me was that horseback riding is not for wimps. You really need strong leg muscles to ride well. And as with any exercise it’s helpful to do it more than once a quarter-century. As soon as the horse stopped moving I realized I couldn’t feel my legs anymore. I knew when I got off Cheyenne I would have a serious case of John Wayne legs. All I could think was, “Oh, please legs don’t buckle under me when I get off this horse.” I managed to dismount and stay upright but it took considerable effort, especially because I didn’t want Kate to know my legs felt like Jell-O that’d been left out in the sun.

I kept it together long enough to take Cheyenne’s saddle off and walk her back to the pasture. Walking helped so I thought the worst was over. Not quite.

In the twenty minutes it took to drive home I realized my legs were still Jell-O-y. I pulled in the driveway and sat in my car for a few moments playing a little mind-over-matter. “Yes, the legs are little shaky. You can push through this!” So I gingerly got out and realized my mind might be steady but my legs were going to be wobbly for a while longer.

It’s been seven hours since the ride and I can just now hold my legs together. Barely. When I try to they push back with all their might, screaming, “Look, lady, you can’t ignore us for years then hop on a horse and hope for the best.” True. Very true.

No pain, no gain, as they say. And this little pain was certainly worth the gain of being with a friend on a perfect summer day. Definitely worth it.

Me and Cheyenne

Kate and Marie. Look at that sky! Gorgeous.