Title sound familiar? Kinda sounds like a post I had a couple weeks back when I finally tried yoga. Finally. Finally! No, I’m not exasperated. I’m completely excited! One, that there are still simple things I haven’t tried before in my life. And, Two, that despite maybe never really having an interest in these things, I am open to the idea that I might actually enjoy them. Isn’t that refreshing? Way to not be jaded, KB (pats self on back).
But, really — there are times in your life when you feel like all the fun stuff is done. Like, I guess this is who I am and this is what I like and do. I already know what I’m interested in and what I’m not interested in, so I’m all set. Of course not. I mean, you don’t have to try anything crazy new to feel like you’re really getting your money’s worth on life experiences, but don’t discount the small stuff.
You might say horseback riding isn’t “small stuff,” and I agree. Horses are huge. Like, the size of cars, sometimes, except they’ve got eyeballs and teeth, among other things, that freak you out when it registers that OMG-this thing is alive! Kind of amazing.
This little excursion was a birthday gift (the weekend around my birthday that we’d originally planned to go, we were rained out and had to cancel) from Mike D. He knows how much I enjoy “experience” gifts, and was excited to gift me an experience I’d never had before. The trail was out in Sunol Regional Park, about a 40 minute drive out for us. Our ride was scheduled for 9am on an overcast Sunday. The roads and the park were still quiet and chilly, with the cold air still fresh and clean. Just right for a calm, first ride on a majestic beast, where getting away from the rest of the world makes the experience a little more yours — the outdoors, the horse, the morning… all yours.
My horse was a mare named Dusty, a seasoned gal who knew the trails, and was all about following the rules. She took good care of me, from the second I climbed on to her. Responded to the slight guiding movements I was instructed how to gently make with the reigns when the edge of the trail would start to narrow along the side of a cliff (eek!). I figured out how to sway with her a little on inclines, and how to put my weight into the stirrups when she galloped so I could control the bumps a little better. It was during these moments where I thought to myself that I would’ve made an excellent cow girl.
The trail was beautiful, so there was a lot to pay attention to, aside from just the sheer OMG of what Dusty and the other horses in our little group would do. Mike D’s horse, Ladybug was a little younger, and would make naughty, rebellious snorts, and try to insist on pace and direction. Our guides (one at the front of the group, and one at the back) kept the horses on their best behavior, but explained a bit about their different personalities and social dynamics. So hilarious to think about the lives of horses, the annoyance, the drama, and the little delights they must experience in their day-to-day interactions with humans and each other. Some Real-Housewives kind of stuff, I imagine.
I really loved the ride. I smiled the entire time, which might have been weird for the guides whenever they turned to talk to me, but whatever. I love the surprise of simple joy when I try something new, that giving it a chance brought an unexpected invigoration. Plus, now I know of this cool thing that I’d likely do again. Probably in the Spring, when the foliage on the trail is in full color bloom. More food for my imagination, as I daydream about life on a ranch, riding horses in the wilderness. Career change? Lifestyle change? It’s fun to think about.
… till the next time I “finally” try another something new.