Thursday, August 29, 2013

Holding on to Lightning

Hey Everyone!  

It’s Quinn today. :-D 
I hear people have mixed feelings on horses. Apparently they are either really scary or crazy magical, depending on your personal experience. I am going to go with magical, that sounds way cooler. And they can totally be scary and ferocious, but we’ll get to that later. Trust me, it becomes relevant.

I used to ride horses when I was younger. I rode all the time, and it started from the age of three/four when my parents rented a pony for my younger sister’s birthday party. It was great! I was hooked, and soon I was taking my first lessons at a real stable. My sister rode with me, and it was something we both enjoyed together. Even when we moved away in 1st and 2nd grade, we found another barn and kept riding. Then fate stepped in and threw me a curveball. We had always borrowed other people’s horses to show, but the barn owner started pushing my parents to buy a horse of their own… Buying a horse, in case you are unaware, costs a ton of money. So let me tell you, I was devastated when my mom broke the news that we would no longer be taking lessons.

At the time I didn’t realize just how expensive it was or how much space a horse required. We tried the tactic of convincing my parents a horse could live under the stairs in our basement, that the space was a perfect stall. (It isn’t, but when you’re younger everything seems larger than it actually is). We also tried the argument that my dad would never have to mow the grass again. (Again, this was a terrible argument because we didn’t even have a half acre lot; also, we lived in the suburbs where any farm animal is NOT allowed. This is again a foreign concept to a kid). We still were able to go trail riding every so often, but my time on a horse slowly faded away.

At one point I decided enough was enough and I tried to create a spell to find a Unicorn. Yup, you heard me correctly, spells find unicorns. All I needed to do was think really hard and, boom! A unicorn would come take me on any adventure I wanted to go. (Yes, I had friends. #NotMany #StillHadThemTho.) I could probably find that original notebook if I tried, and all you would see is a single word written towards the back, Lightning. (Because, imagine that, I can’t write spells. #NotGifted #IWasReallyYoung.) At least I had managed to name the Unicorn I had wanted to find. I also wanted it to be entirely black. So at the age of nine or so, I had my favorite animal picked out. I did some research a few years later, because, of course, I never really entirely grew out of that phase, and found my favorite breed of horse, the Friesian (they are entirely black).

 This brings us to the present.

I’ve been out of college for two years and I finally realized it has been way too long since I’ve been on a horse. So horseback riding became an instant addition to our list of hobbies and awesome skills. Alice and I talked, and we knew going in that it may not be feasible to ride every week, because who knew that the price on horses wouldn’t drop over the past 10 years? But we want to be able to talk about it, and write about it, like we are pros and not like we read about horseback riding on Wikipedia. Plus, it’s awesome. It’s a great workout and something you can really bond with people over. Honestly, everyone should try it at least once in their lives.  

Someday we are going to get refocused on archery (it’s been way too long), and the connection between riding horses and shooting arrows is obvious. #InstantBadAsses

Anyway, I did some research for the area and found a local barn. The rest is becoming our awesome history. I have been riding there now for a few months and absolutely love the place! It’s a very chill environment, not a show barn where everyone owns their own horses. It’s perfect for people who want to learn how to ride, and even for those who will eventually move into showing.

I am still inexperienced, considering the number of years that I have been out of it, and there are new challenges each time I ride. Like, for example, tacking up a horse, which is something I had never done in my entire life. I mean, who knew that horses didn’t like having the girth tightened? #Figures. Each horse handles situations differently too (like people), but I am slowly beginning to figure all of this out. And one day, I will finally get Alice out to the barn! I know she would love it, so hopefully very soon. #TakeTheHintAlice

Story time! Because the first time I rode with the main group was interesting… I had never had to canter a circle in order to avoid catching up to people and had no idea how to initiate that sort of movement, so instead I tried to slow my horse down. Turns out, this was a mistake. Poor thing got a little confused #MyBad, and turned and started cantering right down the middle of the ring, right toward all the jumps! Luckily, I managed to keep her feet on the ground, but I was still struggling to get her under control. After a few unsuccessful attempts of circle cantering, the instructor finally had to get everyone else to come to a trot so that she could pull me aside. #Embarrassed. BUT, I learned from the experience and still love riding, even when I feel foolish. Plus, now I'll totally be ready when my spell really does work and I have a pet unicorn living under my stairs. #HoldingOnToLightning)

With each mishap you learn, and continue to move forward. You can’t be distracted when riding, so it’s a great way to clear the head, stay focused, and get back to reality. A lot has happened to me over these past few weeks, so I am really thankful for all the different groups I am a part of and the support that each one provides! Get out there and try something new! It’s worth it, I promise.

Happy Adventures,

- Quinn

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