Safety and aging

5 things to make the transition to our senior years easier

It’s really hard for me to admit that I am not as quick or fit as I once was. I can’t get out of the way or respond like I could in my 20’s. It really snuck up on me. It started about five years ago if I want to be totally honest. A few extra pounds and it’s much harder to step up on these horses. I’m not as strong and have been knocked off my feet more than once. While I may have experience with horses, driving horses is relatively new to me. I’ve learned that it’s far more dangerous for me and anyone, or anything around me if things go wrong with a cart attached to an out of control horse. When riding, you only have a loose horse to deal with if you get dumped. A loose horse and cart is definitely going to end in a wreck if someone doesn’t get them stopped.

A recent accident with a cart has left me fearful of ever getting back in the cart or driving again. It will be a while, if ever, that I drive again. I hate to admit defeat, but I still have nightmares about this. It is hard for me to recount the details in this article. The horse and cart are going to stay put up for a while. I need to mend, regroup and maybe get some help. Having to admit I need help is really hard for me. I’m pretty independent but as I approach my golden years, I realize that training horses is probably not in the cards.

I don’t see any point in sending her to a trainer. They will drive her, possibly without incident. It’s my issue to deal with the fear and do so with the instruction of an experienced instructor watching in an enclosed arena. While a trainer may be able to fix this, if I can’t get over the fear and address the situation appropriately the next time this happens what’s the point?

The one horse I trust with my life is April. We’ve been together 20 years. We’ve done all kinds of different events, even ridden through Yellowstone National Park together. I wouldn’t be looking at another horse to ride if she was sound but she is too lame to ride much anymore. My heart is really to find a safe horse in his early teens that has most of the stupid gone. Again, realizing that there are no guarantees with horses. Things just happen. Even so, I miss my horseback riding friends and getting out on the trails and obstacle courses.

April Working Buffalo
April Working Buffalo at Coastal Equine

Age kind of sneaks up on you. I was just having this conversation with my friend, Barb. She listened as I told her my story and agreed that aging is not kind to horsewomen. I’m still learning and have discovered that if I want to keep riding that there are a few things that I will need to do:

  • Find a seasoned trail horse to partner with
  • Start taking better care of my body. Eat right, stretch, and lose the extra weight.
  • Keep physically active. Sitting in front of a desk all day is not kind to our bodies.
  • Ride more often, even if I have to borrow a horse.
  • Share my fears and concerns with my peers. I think processing it with someone who understands is comforting. Makes you feel you’re not alone.

Horse ownership is not for the faint of heart. It can be exhilarating but also heartbreaking. Finding friends in common is crucial; yet being able to mentor younger riders or give a horse experience to someone who is unable to own a horse can be very rewarding.

I am really looking forward to forming a group of women who are experienced horsewomen or just love horses and want to be a part of something to help and support each other.

My dream is to live on a horse property that is located in a community of other horse people where we can ride off the property, have events, campfires and enjoy our horses until the end of our days.

Be safe, and be kind to everyone you meet and keep riding!

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