Horse Interrupted Part 2

(Archive photo)

While I started out as a hunt seat rider (jumping horses) in my early riding years, the grace and technological skills of dressage drew me into longer stirrups and the beauty of balance. But now my body is older and wiser. Competition has lost its glamor, and all I want now is connection with a kind animal and the grace of moving with one. So, after purchasing an economy-sized bottle of ibuprofen, I am going to try my hand at Western riding, also known as “stock seat.”
In horse language, English riding is the one with the “little” saddle, the kind non-riders shrink from because there is “nothing to hold on to!” Western riding is what you see in the cowboy movies and rodeos and is generally the accepted mode of riding in more rural areas because; well, it’s more practical for what they do. The differences don’t stop in the saddle either. Those who ride English and those who ride Western view each other with a jaundiced eye. They are almost their own political parties, with separate beliefs, ways of doing things, personal missions and goals for themselves and their horses. And while you may find bi-partisan barns, they generally do not mix well together. People will sidle off to either English barns or Western ones.
After searching the internet for a barn that might welcome a 50-something wannabe returning rider, I found Fox Ridge Farm in Vernon, NJ, and then chose one of the coldest days of the year (so far) to drive over and check it out. I was greeted by Joe, husband of Danielle, who runs the farm and teaches the lessons, cares for the 20+ horses, some of which are owned by boarders and some are lesson or leased horses, as well as three rescued animals in various stages of being nurtured back to life. Joe showed me around and introduced me to some of the horses, including Bunny, a rescued pony from Pennsylvania with a kind but wary eye. Mostly English riders were here, he said, and a few Western, but everyone was encouraged to enjoy their horses in whatever way that fit for them. Bad language was not tolerated, nor was abuse of an animal or a fellow human being.
This might be my new place. We’ll see.
Next weekend: Go watch the lessons. What the heck, I’ll just sign up for one, if space is available. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll have a chance to brush a horse or two. And when I get home, I’ll pop the ibuprofen and brush the horsehair off my coat with a smile.

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This entry was posted in English riding, Fox Ridge Farm, horses, rescue horse, Western riding. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Horse Interrupted Part 2

  1. YAY! Good for you! I am so happy that you have made this step. I think you need this to rekindle your heart and soul. Doing what we love is important to our self-nurturment-be it birding or riding.

  2. I hope this farm works out for you, if not, remember there are much more to choose from. It does sound like a nice place with a good philosophy. Have a great time riding in your lesson. By the way you look great on a horse.

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