Sunday, January 28, 2007

Ridin' Dirty

I know a while back I posted about my lack of New Year's resolutions for 2007. Not exactly, 100% true. In fact, I did kind of have one, but like I said in my recent post, I prefer not to set my self up for failure by admitting to it. To tell people about it and then never do it is just embarrassing. Much safer to keep it in my head, that way, if I fail, at least I'm the only one who knows what a lazy ass I've been.

My point?

I did have a little resolution stored in the depths of my brain this year. It was to resurrect an old hobby, to get back in the saddle, quite literally, and pursue a lifelong dream. Yep, I wanted to take horseback riding lessons.

I rode English style for a while as a kid and developed a life-long addiction to all things horse. I love their smell, the feel of their velvety lips as they rub against the palm of your hand, searching for a carrot or a bunch of hay. I love the sound they make when they try to blow flies away from their glorious eyes. The clop, clop, clop of a giant police horse when it rides past my street on it's way back to the stables at the CNE is enough to make my heart well-up with urge to run over and touch it, smell it, but most of all, ride it.

Year after year I drag Crown with me to the Royal Winter Fair, just so I can spend some time wandering the stables, smelling the horses and watching the show riders trot around the ring. I could sit there for hours, but with Crown in tow a few minutes is more common.

Don't even get me started on the number of times I've begged Crown to go riding with me when we go down south. Ever the good sport, he's climbed up on more than his fair share of flea-bitten, sway-backed animals and suffered through a hot mountain ride just to make me happy. Will have to try to scan a picture soon so you can all see what he looks like, feet barely off the ground, pained look on his face as he bounces in the no-so-ergonomically correct saddles of the south.

Is the love of horses really a girl thing? There is the obvious sexual innuendos involved, but that doesn't really explain little girls and their desire to get a pony for Christmas. Or does it? What would Freud say?

There's the cowboy thing, and yes, I love them, too. I'll dream up a good ol' fashioned cowboy fantasy over the more trendy movie-star or rags-to-riches-big-city-business-man thing any day. Something about a darkly tanned man with a few strands of sun bleached hair peeking out of his Stetson, brushing off a dusty pair of jeans well-worked-in jeans, as he dismounts from a big sweaty horse. Mmmm....

But I digress. Not too many cowboys when you ride English-style. Think Prince Charles. Essentially the opposite of hot cowboy, right? This is definitely NOT what's drawing me back into the saddle.

Maybe I come by it naturally. Moms is also an avid horse lover, and rode for years in her teens/early 20s. Sadly, she was thrown while jumping and destroyed her leg so badly that she never went back to her lessons. It's been her dream (and secretly mine as well) to own a little hobby farm one day with a few horses, spending time each day training, grooming and riding. Heaven.

How ever it is that I came by my passion, the point is, it is a passion. And it is time to stop sitting around with a tiny dream in the back of my head and to do something about it. Until now it's not been an easy dream to pursue. Most riding stables are located a considerable distance outside of the city. To get there every week would be a major challenge. Plus, it is not the cheapest hobby in the world.

Luckily, a few years ago, a riding school opened mere minutes away from me, The Riding Academy at the Horse Palace. It's still a pretty-penny, but I'm justifying the extravagance by telling myself that you really should not put a price on your dreams. I'm in a pretty good place financially and I figure, if I can afford to pay for gym memberships, yoga classes, random shopping sprees, movies, nights out at the bar, well, then I can afford to pursue this dream.

Other justifications include the superb work-out riding provides. You should be able to bounce a quarter off my ass in no time, and we all know how I love a big strong ass. Heh. Also, while the men may not be much to write home about, the women in full formal dress, with the jodhpurs and the tall leather boots? Hot. And who doesn't love a hobby that comes paired with a great outfit?

So I'm doing it. I have registered for the 8-week Adult Introductory course, it's a prerequisite to the regular group classes because in order to take those you have to pass a riding exam and be able to tack and groom the horse yourself. Considering I have not ridden English or tacked a horse since I was about 12, I'm pretty sure I'm going to require the refresher.

My first lesson was supposed to be happening right now; unfortunately, due to a last minute cancellation there were not enough students to keep the Sunday course on the schedule. Instead I've transferred to Thursday evenings and my first class will be February 8th. I'm hoping that there will be enough riders interested to keep that class on the board. If you are out there and share my dream? Call today and sign up! There is no time like the present.

I'll keep you posted on my lessons and the condition of my ass (which I'm sure will be so sore for the first while that I'll be spending a lot of time standing up).

Giddy up!

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