“Do you teach adults how to ride horses? Like older adults?” the phone call came in on a cool Spring day.
“Of course!” I answered with excitement. At one time I was in her position; I did not take formal riding lessons until I was an adult. I have a special place in my heart for adult riders.
“Like 70 year old adults? I am going to a dude ranch and I would like to learn how to ride before I go. Our whole family is meeting there and we would love to ride horses. I just thought it might be a good idea to learn how to ride. I would like to learn how to ride Western because that’s what they do there,” her voice grew in confidence.
“I WOULD LOVE to teach you! I have a trainer that teaches Western. May I just offer a suggestion to take a few lessons in English?” I then explained the difference and why it would be beneficial to ride in the English saddle. She said that she would be open to my suggestion and we set up a time for her to come out and meet me, my horses, and the farm.
Her husband, known as “her better half” pulled up in their environmentally conscious electric car. She was beautiful, tall, lithe, strong, and balanced. She shared that she works out at the gym and it was evident. Her husband of fifty plus years made himself at home in one of our Adirondack chairs with one of our Great Pyrenees sitting by his side. He laughed; he said he was fine, though all we could see was white fluff and his hand stroking the massive dog. You could see the love they have for one another, and being mugged by a dog was worth the sacrifice for his wife’s riding lesson.
I was getting excited to work with her. She met all of the horses and she fell in love with Buttons, our very bad draft cross pony. He is not dangerous, but he likes to push his boundaries with all riders, even me! I thought he may be a great mount for her because he was low enough and certainly sturdy enough for her. At first getting Judith on the pony was a struggle; her aching joints did not always cooperate. Getting off of the horse was even worse for her and that’s when she shared that it was painful for her to step off of a curb.
Time passed and her strength, coordination, stamina, and skills increased. She and Buttons became quite the pair and she even nick-named him Beastie. This was an appropriate name because he would butt her with his head and nudge her for pets if she was not paying attention to him. She said that she did not know that horses had so much personality. What she did not realize was that she picked the biggest personality at the farm.
Judith now trots and her goal is to canter and jump before her 73 birthday. At the dude ranch, all of the horses got spooked and spun taking off. Judith stayed on and she said that she attributes it to the dreaded English saddle. She now kisses the English saddle and a fuzzy beastie named Buttons. She gets on with the grace of a ballerina and gets off without groaning in pain because there is no more pain. Walking off of curbs is no longer a problem and she attributes it to horseback riding.
Judith, you are the BEST RIDER at Raise Your Dreams Farm and am grateful to teach you and come to know you and your awesome family! You have been an inspiration to ALL of us here. I am frequently told how you have inspired others to go after their dreams.
I will certainly keep all abreast of the day that Judith finally canters and jumps! Now all we need to do is get her to a show!
Hey, do you know a rider that has inspired others? Please share!
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