Getting back in the (literal) saddle

Speak to me for five minutes and you can guarantee I’ll incorporate horses into the conversation somewhere. My nickname is Shetty, my office computer is adorned with a pink fluffy unicorn pen, my house is covered in horse pictures and I would most definitely wear my riding stuff everyday if my boss would bear it. It is a confident assumption to say that, yes, I’m one of those ‘horse-women’.

The difference between loving to write and loving to horse-ride is that the former can be done pretty much anywhere for the total price of 0, whereas the latter is on the total opposite of that scale. Of course, I’ve always found ways to feed my addiction (horse books, horse games, horse TV channels etc, etc) but now we’ve settled in an area surrounded by likeminded equestrian nuts, I’ve finally started riding regularly again after a long 6 year break, save for the occasional lesson or hack. Luckily near enough 20 years of equestrian experience wasn’t totally wasted and getting back in the saddle was like I’d never been away. There’s an unparalleled bliss of lazy strolls through the forest, only the clip-clopping of hooves and birdsong for company. In contrast, the adrenaline rush of galloping through open fields, streaming eyes and a pounding heart, is like no other feeling I’ve experienced. It was incredible to get back to this.

I feel that starting to ride regularly again is reflective of finally feeling settled in West Sussex. The last three years since moving here have been entirely focused on building a career and trying to put down roots, whereas now that we’ve bought the house and my career is progressing, it feels like the right time to re-start the parts of my life which have always connected me to home.

The goal is to get back to having my own horses again in the future and I’m certain that my children will experience horses in the same way my sister and I did: mucking out in our pyjamas and seeing two hairy ears and a big nose appearing in the kitchen window. Now, half-way through my twenties, I know that the career I build for myself now needs to facilitate the (slightly terrifying) costs of equine life later down the line. So, for now, I’m so excited to be spending every other Saturday back at the stables – and the rest of the time wishing I was there!

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