The first—and only—time I rode a horse was at a Girl Scout outing when I was 11 years old. I’ve never been the outdoorsy type and the very idea of horseback riding struck the fear of God in me. Nevertheless, I strapped on my riding helmet, sidestepped droppings to my horse, and set out on the trail with the rest of the troop.
The horse sensed my hesitation and took it as an opportunity to meander about the trail, falling further and further behind. He stopped to look at the clouds, smell the grass, eat a twig. Brilliant. My horse had the attention span of a toddler. I desperately pleaded with the him to giddyup and he simply didn’t give a damn. Tears pricked at my eyes. I’d surely be forgotten about in the woods. Forever. (Always so dramatic.)
After what seemed like hours (read: 15 minutes), the instructor circled back to find me. Through my blubbering tears, I told her how I didn’t want to ride an ADHD steed any longer and I preferred to walk back. I wasn’t allowed to. Instead, I was given a stick and instructed to swat the horse’s rump when he got distracted. Okay. Sounds like a great idea for an inexperienced rider, but I was on board. The next time his eyes fixated on a berry and he drifted off the trail, I wound up and snapped the horse in the rear. He didn’t quicken his stride to a leisurely walk.
He trotted. Trotted! My face paled and I held the reins for dear life, knuckles turning as white as my face. As you can imagine, getting off that saddle was the most relieved I have ever felt. When my troop wanted to go back the following year, I sat in the car reading back issues of American Girl magazine.
Even though horseback riding obviously isn’t for me, I still admire blue-blood equestrian style. These Gabor boots from Charles Clinkard are especially beautiful with the quilted shaft. Tuck in a pair of skinny cords, pop a trophy stopper in your wine, and you’re good to go. No horse needed.
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