Ambivalence … and Courage

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Ambivalence … and Courage

I subscribe to the San Francisco Park and Recreation newsletter. I read in it that a company from Arizona was bringing horses to Golden Gate Park for a month and anybody could sign up. I am not *that* daring, so I wrote and told them all my concerns. I hadn’t ridden for forty years. I was afraid I couldn’t get on and off, afraid I couldn’t get from the parking lot to the stables, and most of all (I didn’t tell them this) afraid that I would throw my back out and not be able to leave the house for a year. They were very accommodating; if the worst came to the worst, there was a strong young man who could lift me on and off.

For a couple of weeks it was, “yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no, yes no” and finally, “fuck, why not? “So I signed up. So much for ambivalence! I took the chance! Still, being somewhat cautious, I only asked for half an hour.

I got on fine, with no help except for the mounting block (it looked like a sturdy little staircase.) The manager, Donna, took me out solo so that she could give me all the attention she thought I needed. It was overkill, but I didn’t care. We got along great; we both found plenty to talk about and had the same slightly twisted sense of humor.

My horse’s name was Badger. He was a beautiful dark brown, nicely proportioned, and very mellow. I would show him to you, except I forgot my iPhone in my excitement. Although this isn’t Badger, he looked like this, except his tail wasn’t as long and his saddle  was a a good deal rattier.

We rode on trails in the park, some paved, some dirt. There were native flowers in bloom and also “exotic” ones like climbing nasturtiums. There were stretches where I had to duck to avoid low-hanging branches. All we did was walk, but I didn’t care because I could pay closer attention to the plants and sunlight and smell of the horses.

We had the trails all to ourselves. There are two huge Dutch windmills at the north and south sides of the park near the ocean. We visited both of them and glimpsed the ocean from the trail. Huge waves breaking on a long stretch of sand. Heaven.

It didn’t hurt to sit on Badger, and it didn’t hurt after I got off. To my amazement, I didn’t hurt any more than usual or in any new places when I woke up the next day.

I thought of signing up again, but decided it would dilute the specialness of the ride. Besides, they are an Arizona company, and I will be in Arizona again this year running away from Christmas with my BFF (best female friend.) Two of the company’s branches are in places we plan to visit!

I wonder what it would be like to be on a horse in the desert. I could cover a lot more distance, even at a walk, than I can normally in a week. Even a tortoise could, come to think of it.

I’m already playing with my ambivalence. “Yes no, yes no, yes no, no rush, there are still six months to decide.”

 

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6 thoughts on “Ambivalence … and Courage

  1. I am so happy you did that, Jeanne! Riding a horse is really wonderful- they are empathetic and kind. I grew up with horses and I did a lot of showing with my mare.It has been 35 years since I have ridden and I decided to take a few lessons at a local stable.It was a very bad experience due to all my chronic illnesses and I got off and decided to never get on a horse again. I hope you get to ride in the desert on your non holiday vacation.

    1. I’m so mad at chronic illnesses. I hate to see my friends suffer so and get so restricted in what they can and can’t do and where they go. One friend had to choose between an absessed tooth and months of recovery if she went to the dentist’s office. It’s just plain not fair.

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