Happy New Year, everyone. It’s a big one for me. I headed into 2019 at 50.
Fifty means another year to watch my beautiful daughters grow. Another year to spend with my husband, David. Another year to figure out God’s purpose for my life.
It’s also a year to try something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time: Ride.
I love watching my daughters in their chosen activities. Serina, 13, and Sophia, 11, both play volleyball, a sport I played in high school, and ride horses, something I wanted to do as a kid, but never had the chance.
I enjoy taking pictures of them in the arena, capturing their joy and humorous antics on camera. But I realize, at 50, it’s not too late for me to experience equestrian-related joy of my own. Not as a spectator, but as a participant.
Some people know that I wanted a horse as a child, but I grew up in a south Minneapolis neighborhood where homes were packed into small rectangular lots, divided by rusted chain-link fences. When I asked for a horse, my dad joked, “Where will we put him? In the garage?”
On road trips, when we drove past horse pastures, I’d ask to stop. We never did. Even so, this pattern continued into adulthood. My boyfriend (now husband) obliged, although he was nervous that a property owner would come out with a shotgun or that one of the horses would take a chunk out of my arm. Neither happened.
I have often expressed my gratitude for the opportunities afforded aspiring riders, including Serina and Sophia, in North Alabama. There are a handful of wonderful stables within a 20-mile radius of our home. You can board your own horses, take lessons or participate in shows. Even leasing a horse in the Tennessee Valley is reasonable.
My children have been riding for almost seven years and are on the recently-resurrected Pine Ridge Equestrian Team at Pine Ridge Day Camp & Equestrian Center (Disney World has nothing on this place, according to the girls). The friendships and character developed through riding are incredible. Over the past several years, I’ve spent many hours observing, snapping pictures and capturing videos in heat, cold and rain.
As a kid, I not only wanted to ride; I also wanted to fly. When Serina and Sophia jump, they look like they are flying!
Now it’s my turn.
I jumped on Milo, the horse Serina is “partial-leasing” at Pine Ridge on New Year’s Eve and the experience confirmed my 2019 New Year’s resolution. This 50-year-old mom, wife and professional fundraiser is going to learn how to ride.
Sure, it’ll be a while before I get to tackle the 3′ jumps. First, I’ll have to work on my form and figure out what “get the right lead” means. I’ll have to learn to walk, gallop, trot and canter. That’s okay. We all had to crawl before we walked, right?
So in 2019, I resolve to fly. On horseback. And off. I might as well resolve to make this my best year ever. At age 50. With the people I love. Pursuing passions once dismissed.
I hope you will consider doing the same.