A few months ago, my husband had the glorious idea to take horseback riding lessons. With me, of course. At first I was hesitant, as usual. I’m a short woman, and horses are big and strong! But after a while he convinced me to just give it a try.
We quickly found a nice option for Western-style riding and booked our first lessons with our instructor Véronique. To be honest, I was overwhelmed at the beginning. Riding isn’t as easy as it looks on TV! You first learn how to approach a horse, how to put on the headgear and saddle, how to get up and down, how to tell the horse what to do, and most importantly, how to not fall off! At first, I was really struggling to process so much information, but now after a few intense sessions I’m slowly starting to feel comfortable on a horse.
So, does horseback riding count as exercise? I’d say yes, it does! You need to engage your core muscles all the time to keep your balance, and you’re using your legs a lot. After trotting around in the riding hall for about an hour, I’m always sore in new and unexpected parts of my body, like on the outsides of my ankles, or the area between my butt and my thighs. Eh!?
What’s also great about riding is that you don’t need to buy a lot of equipment. I usually wear an old pair of jeans, an old sweater, a warm winter jacket, and my hiking boots. (Plus a few extra layers underneath. German winters are COLD!) The only thing I bought was a helmet. The lessons themselves aren’t that expensive, either, I’d say they cost about as much as an average yoga class. And considering that we spend about two full hours there, including preparing and grooming the horses (which is actually a lot of fun, too), you get a lot of bang for your buck.
I love all kinds of animals, but I didn’t expect to enjoy being around horses so much. The horse I’ve been riding the last few lessons is a beautiful brown guy named Sugar. He’s very calm and friendly, but a little lazy and stubborn sometimes. And hungry! But our instructor said that’s normal.
I think I’ve found a new hobby. And some new four-legged friends! I can’t wait to go for a real ride outside of the hall. Okay, I’m also a little scared, but mostly excited.
Bonus: There’s a cheeky kitten roaming around the stables! That little guy likes to sneak up from behind and climb up people’s legs. Those tiny claws don’t go through my thick layers, so it doesn’t hurt at all. We usually snuggle for a few minutes after the lessons, while I comb down my horse. That much cuteness is too hard to handle!
So what’s the bottom line of this post? Try something new! Get over your fears and doubts, and do something unusual from time to time. Who knows, you might even like it!