|One of my early lessons. Don't you love the weird martingales? |
Every horse wore one at this barn.
|First horse show|
|Hilariously, the trainer told me to hold my hands like that, |
and subsequently destroyed my hand position for the next... 12ish years. Whoops.
I, like many, was bit by the bug while I was young, and it was an interesting phenomenon only because no one else in my life was at all interested in horses. I've always just... loved them. Connected with them. Even though I was no good at first, riding has always been an athletic pursuit my ill-suited to athleticism body could actually tolerate. When I say I'm ill-suited to athleticism, I mean that I have a congenital heart defect that, before the corrective surgery that really didn't do anything when I was 14, allowed my aorta to press in on my trachea as it expanded to pump more blood. I have a permanent... crushed spot - a soft spot, really - in my trachea that rattles gloriously and makes me sound like I need an inhaler. I sound like out of shape hell when I come off of XC at shows, and have always struggled with running or other vigorous athletics. Because I can't inhale and exhale in a particularly productive way, I've never enjoyed athletics. Horses, though, are a good balance. Because I'm generally calm and happy in the saddle, I think the corresponding drop in blood pressure helps make up for my lack of ability in the breathing department.
Either way, I spent a handful of years riding Arabians and getting obsessed with jumping thanks to the Olympics and books, and I'm sure the trainer who gave my parents the number of the local eventing barn was happy to see the back of me when I went. It certainly worked out well for me - I learned more about horses and riding over the next year than I had in the previous several, and that little eventing barn did so much to shape me as a rider and horse person today. For all of my whining about frost bite and being cold as hell, I'm hoping I can find my old resilience and determination. Maybe it's packed away in a box of winter riding clothes?