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I Ride - a very simple statement

September 23, 2016 38 Comments

I Ride - a very simple statement

At the age of 87, the following was written by Julia Edward Drake in her personal journal.
Whether you’ve seen this before or not, read it again and enjoy the beauty of her words…of her truth.

~~~

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However, as many women who ride know, it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it ‘the sickness’. It’s a sickness I’ve had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of ‘the sickness’. It’s not a sport. It’s not a hobby. It’s what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I’ve seen because I ride amazes me. I’ve ridden out to find lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I’ve met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch… We haul 40ft rigs, we back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there
riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel with out makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the ‘sickness’ and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one.

“My treasures do not chink or glitter, They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night.”





38 Responses

Sarah
Sarah

August 06, 2018

Mmmm.. this had my body vibrating. As if I was experiencing the sensations while reading them. That’s it. Tomorrow…I ride.

Kate
Kate

August 06, 2018

I ride at 67. I can barely walk when I get off, but I ride.

Robyn Krotz
Robyn Krotz

August 05, 2018

65 and I ride. She said it perfectly.

Charlie kern
Charlie kern

August 04, 2018

This is so true and we’ll written. I will never give up riding, enjoy the ride and love my horse, he fills my soul with peace and joy.

Claudine
Claudine

September 28, 2017

Love your article ,it gives me encouragement to go ride in the woods ,however I am afraid .

Patti
Patti

June 05, 2017

I ride too at 54 with a fractured L2 – but my 27 yr old draft is retired here now – and I recently rescued a mare and her 3 mo old off a range in northern BC only to learn that she was pregnant and not touchable – so I’ve been doing a lot of Liberty training – and I got on her recently – it’s been a very rewarding detour – these new horses will take me into my 80s now – but I must be patient! we need to keep inspiring each other.

Twinnie39
Twinnie39

November 06, 2016

My horse is my Soul. We have grown old together. I am 77. Missy is 17. I have a husband, children and grandchildren who I adore but Missy is my kindred spirit. She has made my life complete.

Fran riggs
Fran riggs

September 27, 2016

Well written and oh so true!!! We are sisters! You are an inspiration!

Lianne Cantrall
Lianne Cantrall

September 27, 2016

She took the thoughts right out of my mind. Nicely written

Kathy Falk
Kathy Falk

September 26, 2016

Beautiful words. I wish that I was still riding; @ 74 yrs. I have had to stop. But my memories are worth so much. THANK YOU.

Robbie Manning
Robbie Manning

September 26, 2016

Tears…This is THE most beautiful explanation of my love of my horses and all that entails. LOVE this!!!

Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith

September 26, 2016

My feelings exactly. I’ve raised my children, watched my mother with Alzheimer’s for 10 years as s it ravaged her body and mind. She died last July. I have taken her ashes on my bucket list of rides as I process the grief I feel and at the same time feeling her spirit with me. Many butterflies have landed on me and I feel her presence. The peace I feel with my Rocky Mtn mare and my mom is healing my soul.

Lisa Smith
Lisa Smith

September 26, 2016

My feelings exactly. I’ve raised my children, watched my mother with Alzheimer’s for 10 years as s it ravaged her body and mind. She died last July. I have taken her ashes on my bucket list of rides as I process the grief I feel and at the same time feeling her spirit with me. Many butterflies have landed on me and I feel her presence. The peace I feel with my Rocky Mtn mare and my mom is healing my soul.

Ruth Barringer
Ruth Barringer

September 26, 2016

anen to that… I also Ride!

Julie Cooney
Julie Cooney

September 26, 2016

That is so me ?

JOE CALAFATO
JOE CALAFATO

September 26, 2016

WHILE READING THIS I COULD PICTURE IN MY MIND THE THINGS AND PLACES SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT. HOW GREAT A FEELING IT MUST BE.

Patti Bertram
Patti Bertram

September 26, 2016

I love this and I ride…..

Robin
Robin

September 26, 2016

This is an amazing testament to who are.

Charlotte Meek Richey
Charlotte Meek Richey

September 26, 2016

I too, understand that feeling. At 66, I still ride with 3 other girlfriends. We haul our horses, camp and ride. There is no other feeling like it. And yes, there is a lot of work involved to enjoy that feeling of freedom on horseback but it is so worth it. I just hope I’m still able to continue riding in my 80’s,

Joleen
Joleen

September 26, 2016

Beautiful story. I too still have the sickness at 57. It is the sickness that heals.

Shirley Betts
Shirley Betts

September 26, 2016

There is NOTHING better than the feel of a horse, it’s smell, sound, and love that you get from your horse/companion, one of God’s greatest gifts!

Jean Tozsr
Jean Tozsr

September 25, 2016

And this speaks to the peace of why I ride. Though grounded till hip issues resolve, i know I will be back to breath it in once again.

Laine Brickman
Laine Brickman

September 25, 2016

I could not have said it better!!!!

Deborah L Hanes
Deborah L Hanes

September 25, 2016

Very well said and this has been my experience as well. Live and ride in Middleburg Fl area.

Deborah L Hanes
Deborah L Hanes

September 25, 2016

Very well said and this has been my experience as well. Live and ride in Middleburg Fl area.

Deb Chapman
Deb Chapman

September 25, 2016

Well said! It is like this was written from my heart and my memories ?

Frances Jacobson
Frances Jacobson

September 25, 2016

how absolutely true that is it is a love of life happiness and fulfillment when you can enjoy the better side of the page and leave the stress and unrest behind It is a blessing and should be treasured

Jini
Jini

September 25, 2016

Although this is a valid, well-written piece I found myself wondering, ‘But what about the horse?’ Where is the horse – his body/injuries/aches, his feelings, his desires? If you read it again and substitute ‘mountain bike’ for ‘horse’ it reads pretty much the same. Just saying.

What happens if we accord the horse equal status and we only ride when the horse says, “Yes, let’s go for a ride.” And if the horse says, “Please get off.” Then no matter where we are on the trail, we get off and walk. Because we recognize that maybe our horse’s back is hurting, or something is pinching, or his leg is sore, or he just wants to put the damn backpack down and roll his shoulders and walk free for a bit. What then?

Mary kuehn
Mary kuehn

September 25, 2016

I ride also. It’s a wonderful thing.. All my aches & pains r forgotten. I am so much MORE when I RIDE!

Kitty McKinney
Kitty McKinney

September 25, 2016

Beautiful

Carrie Richardson
Carrie Richardson

September 25, 2016

Thank you so much for that.. it’s all true.

Bonnie Gill
Bonnie Gill

September 25, 2016

So eloquently written. You write like poetry and in so doing capture the feelings of so many equestrians.

Jean Ohmsen
Jean Ohmsen

September 25, 2016

That was beautiful, makes me think of you Lyn

Becky Prunty
Becky Prunty

September 25, 2016

Beautifully written…, thank you.

Carolyn
Carolyn

September 25, 2016

I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY. I LIVE TO RIDE

Victoria  Van Dyke
Victoria Van Dyke

September 25, 2016

Thk u 4 sharing simple truth & beauty.

Diana Hiiesalu
Diana Hiiesalu

September 24, 2016

I love this!

Deanne
Deanne

September 23, 2016

Ah, YES!
This is why we ride!
*except for the Granite Staircase, of course… ?

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