Horseback Riding – 20 Years Later

It’s been 20 years since I rode a horse.

From 1st through 6th grade, I rode horses at my school, San Domenico. Yes, I went to that kind of school. It was awesome. After classes were out, I’d walk down to the stables, get Snackpack or Shotgun (my two favorite horses) groomed and ready, and have my after-school class. As kids we didn’t do much but trot around in a circle. Sometimes we’d have to hold an egg in a spoon while trotting without dropping the egg, or sometimes we’d do a little jump here and there. I loved it. Here’s a picture of me after a show in 1992.

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I was all about horseback riding until middle school came around. Over the summer between fifth and sixth grade, I developed my more jiggly, girly bits (boobs, butts, hips, you know….) and I was incredibly insecure in the loose-fitting leggings and boots I had to wear for riding. I hate to admit it, but I was so embarrassed of my body and how I looked, I quit so I didn’t have to wear that outfit anymore. That, and I didn’t feel in control of my body like I did as a kid. You need to feel powerful on a horse, and I lost that for a while. I wish I had told that to an adult so they could have had pity on my adolescent self-esteem and encouraged me to continue on anyway. But I didn’t… so I quit.

It’s been 20 years, and I haven’t been on a horse since. I’ve long since embraced the body-shape puberty gave me, so that isn’t why I haven’t ridden in so long. It’s just hard to find the time and money to get back on a horse when you’re not enrolled in a fancy prep-school anymore.

Enter Corinne’s wedding!

Last week I went to my step-mom’s amazing and beautiful wedding in Darby, Montana, where she owns a ranch. One of the activities listed for the weekend was horseback riding through some trails and you know I signed up for it. I signed Michael up for it too because I thought he’d look cute being scared and excited at the same time (which he totally was.)

Here’s some shots of our ride:

The ride was awesome! The whole entire process of horseback riding comes right back to you: getting your foot in the stirrup and hoisting yourself up, flinging that other leg over, all the rein stuff, the different commands, the up-and-down you do when you get going a little faster – it was all a muscle memory that hadn’t left my brain in 20 years.

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This was a great life list item to check off. It reminded me of the confidence I’ve gained as an adult, and that I still love riding horses so much. I’m saving up for other things at the moment, so more riding won’t really be in my near future. But… when the opportunity comes knocking, I’ll always say yes.

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2 Responses to Horseback Riding – 20 Years Later

  1. Corinne Afanasieff says:

    We are so happy that you had a special time! More riding opportunties are defintely in your future 🙂 Cheers to the next adventure!
    Love you,
    ~Rinny

  2. Grandma Barbara says:

    You look great on a horse! Grandpa and I loved riding that day in Montana too! I have fond memories going to your riding lessons at San Dominico. xoxo

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