There isn’t really much utility these days to jumping horses. Or riding them for that matter. Unless, that is, you are interested in measuring the unquanitfiable aspects of a person’s spirit, emotions, or psyche. It is tempting sometimes not to see this reflection of yourself. That was how I felt the weekend of the little jumping show pictured here. Spoiler alter: that isn’t me in the photos. To put it nicely, Oki and I would have won the prize for poorest performance if they’d been kind enough to give a loosing ribbon.
But I didn’t walk away empty-handed. Before the show, a trailer pulled up next to ours hauling a 13-hand pony and three women spanning the decades from grandma to granddaughter. We chatted as we brushed our respective tails and manes, and they told me their pony was thirty. That’s fairly ancient for a horse. Imagine your gramps running the New York Marathon. But octogenarians run that race every year, so why stop a pony from doing what he is trained to do?
Their first run was rough, a flurry of fur dodging fences. What’s a girl to do with a naughty pony? Well, surprisingly the answer was: jump higher. They killed it the second round.
It’s hard to analyze the difference without knowing what the rider felt. But if I was guessing, it would be her fearless embrace of the moment. It is the gift of youth. Not to worry that you might come crashing down, as experience has so often taught us will happen. Not to imagine the pain, or shrink from shame. Just to feel the wind whip around you, the movement of the horse below, and be grateful for the amazing ride you have right now.