Why I love … horse riding

‘Leading my daughter along country roads, I realised the love of being on horseback ran in the blood’

‘At 46 being able to feel my obliques again is a pretty nice side effect to fulfilling a life-long desire to ride.’

‘At 46 being able to feel my obliques again is a pretty nice side effect to fulfilling a life-long desire to ride.’

 

I have always loved horses. For me though, the reality of learning to ride was ruled by the old adage, “lots of time, not enough money, or lots of money and not enough time”.

That all changed in the summer of 2017 when a friend booked my daughter and me in for a horse trek in Wexford. I remember leading my daughter along country roads, seeing the smile on her face and realising that the love of being on horseback ran in the blood.

As soon as we got back from the holiday, we booked into our local equestrian centre in Carrickmines for lessons. The first few months were all about getting to grips with the basics of trot, canter, and jump, and since then a myriad of options have opened up to me, from dressage, showjumping and cross-country to trekking.

I practiced yoga and pilates to strengthen the all-important core and improve my flexibility, but when asking other riders how I could improve, they all said the same thing - more time in the saddle. 

This year I delved deeper and partnered up with a horse named Fionn, which means I get to ride five times a week and can practice what I learn in my weekly lessons on my own. There’s a heady mix of risk and reward the further you progress.

Its an all-over body workout, and it’s not just the days that I fall off that I’m sore. Horse riding requires you to use just about every muscle in your body and every neuron in your brain, and at 46 being able to feel my obliques again is a pretty nice side effect to fulfilling a life-long desire to ride.

On Friday I get to join my daughter in her first jump competition rather than just being a spectator, and that makes it all the sweeter.

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