Horse of a Thousand Wishes
In the summer of after my stroke, I learned that there was a therapeutic riding center in Winthrop, Moccasin Lake Ranch. There, Ginger, a barrel chested, gentle chestnut mare and I were introduced.
During my first ride, Annie, the instructor, walked Ginger and me along the trails and dirt roads behind the center. Previously, I had been told by one of my therapists that after sustaining a disability such as I had, to seek out new physical activities rather trying to return to favorite ones enjoyed before the stroke; that it would be less frustrating and more enjoyable. After my day with Ginger, I felt, I had found one. A new dream had come true.
|Happy Trails to You!|
Back in Kirkland I continued to pursue riding at another therapeutic riding center nearby, Little Bit. My new dream was developing! After 3 lessons, Little Bit called and reported that my bone density numbers on my left hip were too low and that I shouldn’t ride. The reason they are so low is because I put very little weight on my left leg as I walk due to my stroke and osteoporosis runs in my family. My dream began cloud over. The Little Bit Riding Supervisor and I spoke for a long time. She did say that I could ride if I signed a liability release. Unnecessarily, she explained that any horse can spook, jump sidewise, or buck causing a fall that could perhaps fracture my hip. This was obvious. My love for adventure and physical activity was tempting me to sign it, but then I began to think. If I injured myself, I would not only impact me but I would also impact my loving husband as well, maybe even more. This seemed so selfish as he has done so much for me. So after a time I decided to let go of the dream of riding at Little Bit.
Given my osteoporosis, it stands to reason that I would give up riding at Moccasin Lake Ranch but I haven’t. Pondering this for so long has not revealed a satisfying rationale. Subconsciously I must have recognized significant differences between Moccasin Lake Ranch and Little Bit. Little Bit serves numerous children and adults and most lessons are conducted in groups of 8-10. There is very little individual attention and I ride a different horse every time. At Moccasin Lake Ranch I ride Ginger only, a very reliable, comfortable horse. While in the arena, Annie is always with and there are no other horses. It is a much smaller program. I am more comfortable and confident at Moccasin Lake Ranch than at Little Bit.
In today’s early morning dream, I was visited by The Horse of Thousand Wishes. As dawn’s early morning mist rose, from the hills and vales of the landscape, an empty, almost desolate camp was revealed. No sounds of active campers, eager to mount their ponies. No comfortable nickering among the equine friends huddled together in the paddock.
Sweet Ginger, usually saddled, tacked and ready for me, was not there. Neither was Annie. There instead was Safire, the Arabian, the one I rode at Little Bit with her fast, erratic, bouncing, uncomfortable trot. Was she for me? Was I to ride her? Most campers did not as she is an erratic, uncomfortable mount. Excitement and trepidation flooded me. Should I get on? The stable hand saying nothing, beckoned me to the mounting ramp. Ready to help. Could I ride her? Should I rider her? My adventuresome spirit urged me to squeeze my right leg on her side. Her spirited walk startled me, unlike Ginger’s mild plodding. Should I be doing this? Sure! Kick her into a trot! No, into a canter!! Yes! I’ve dreamed of getting this far for so long! But wait. “Bone density”, “any horse can spook”. “Do you want to risk a broken hip?”
I woke up. Hip? Still in good shape. Phew!
The wee hours during which Sapphire visited my dream today have often been occupied by dreams of wishes; running, waving to a friend with my left arm, walking barefoot, holding a baby; the return of simple pleasures really. But when I awaken, these dreams canter away on the back on the Horse of a Thousand Wishes.
Watch the trailer!