When I retired two years ago, I wanted to write more and ride more. I haven't done more of either. Life keeps getting in the way. I spend more time with my grands, which is a good thing, but it’s amazing how quickly I can fill the hours in a day just piddling.
This week has been the exception that I dreamed of when I retired.
It started with the beautiful weather we had over the weekend. I rode Mallory, my TWH mare, about an hour Sunday afternoon. On a Quarter horse, it takes that long to traverse my trails. On Mallory, I have to double back a bit to stretch it to an hour. That’s okay. It’s amazing how different a trail can look riding one direction versus the other.
I also rode Monday afternoon for at least half an hour, then another half hour Wednesday afternoon. Thursday I spent the day with a former barn mate at the Bessemer barn where she still boards. There are miles of trails there, and she knows them by heart. She has been riding them for 20 years, helps keep them trimmed, and helps cut new ones.
While it was a bit chilly, we still enjoyed the ride, just the four of us (I’m counting our horses) and Mother Nature. The sound of horses’ hooves pushing through dry leaves provided a backdrop for our constant chatter. I hadn’t ridden with Pam since spring, so we had some catching up to do. We spent half an hour snacking at the mouth of a small cave beside a brook that didn’t babble near as much as we did. Yet we still managed two and a half hours in the saddle.
I’m trying to get into shape for an equine vacation. A company called Equitours sponsors horseback riding trips all over the world. I’m torn between Ireland, where you can ride Connemara ponies from castle to castle and sleep in those castles each night, and sunny Costa Rica. However, when I read the “fine print” about the tours, I discovered that a rider must be able to post and to stay in the saddle for six hours a day. I can learn to post, but six hours a day in a saddle? Geez Louise, I normally get fatigued and sore after two.
Thursday was the exception, however. I did fine, and could have ridden another hour or two. I wasn’t terribly sore last night, just comfortably tired and content. I like to think it’s because I’ve been working out at the gym for several months, and because I had ridden three times this week already.
Or did the two hours we spent at a local bar drinking margaritas, eating fried pickles and playing Gin Rummy have something to do with that?