Would that be so awful? I'm not so sure it is.
A few years ago, it would have killed me to give up riding. And when I mentioned it to Camille, she was appalled. But Mom, its part of who you are. It makes you so happy.
And, she's right. I've been riding since I was ten years old. To say it has been a passion of mine would not be an exaggeration.
And, maybe, this feeling will pass.
I still love horses. I love how they smell; their sun warmed skin and their warm hay breath. I love to groom them and just hang out with them. How I feel about riding them has a lot to do with my age, my aches and pains, and my need to take my stress level down. Way down.
Brett's pretty tired of me barking at him.
Competing is out of the question. When I'm in competition mode, I get very focused and very intense. This is a good thing when it is my only area of intense focus but that is no longer the case. I'm not much into intensity these days. I'm into calming activities like grooming and gardening. And acceptance is my word for this year; acceptance of my 56 year old self.
The feeling about riding (or not) varies in intensity between my three horses.
Lucy: She's my best friend when she wants a massage. She follows me around her pasture like a dog, begging for a rub here and a rub there. She's also a hot mess about 50% of the time. I'm not really interested in riding a hot mess anymore. She's never dumped me or been naughty, but the feeling of riding a bottle cap about to blow can be... stressful. When I ride her, I stand on the mounting block and take deep breaths before climbing on board. I have to ride her with laser sharp focus, ride every step, and manage her desire to race around. ...I don't enjoy that nearly as much now as I did when I was 16. Lucy is 14, with pain in her joints, and because of that is sometimes reluctant to canter. If/when I do ride her again, I expect I will keep it to the trot. Lucy has a lovely trot -- and she doesn't lose her mind so much at that gait.
Tex: I am having a blast working with Tex on the ground. We're building a strong bond and enjoying liberty work. I'm not following any particular method; we're finding our way together. I don't know if I'll ever ride him or not. For now, the liberty work is creating the kind of bond I crave -- and I think Tex likes it too.
Jackson: Obviously, I can't ride Jackson. Of the three, he is the one that I miss riding. When I spend time with him, grooming or just hanging out, my heart cries out in longing for the days when we rode. I did everything with Jackson -- trails and dressage and chilling in the sprinklers, bareback, on hot days.
Maybe when things are quieter at work, when my sciatic recedes completely, and when my confidence and energy surge, I will ride again. In the meantime, I'm just going to hang out with the herd.