Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Writer Takes Up Riding

Okay, it's been a few days, but I want to write some more about Horses in the Wind, the newest Time Spies book. Why did The Writer do a book about Seabiscuit? She grew up with horses around her, but was never horse-crazy like a lot of girls. When she was 49, she thought about what she wanted to do on her 50th birthday. Every day when she drove to Jazzercise, she passed two stables. The Thoroughbreds would often be out a pasture, their coats gleaming in the sun. The Writer decided she would learn to ride! And on her 50th birthday, she would take a trail ride!

This has disaster written all over it.

The Writer went to Hazelwild Farm, one of the stables nearby, and signed up for beginner's lessons. The trainer assured her that adults often took beginner lessons. On the first day, The Writer pulled into the parking lot. She was the only one who drove to Hazelwild. All the rest were tiny 8-year-old girls. At this barn, the students have to tack up their horses. The herd was rounded up before the lesson, which meant dealing with high-spirited ponies. The Writer was usually given Jake, the biggest pony.

Every week, she went into the stall to do battle with Jake. She would beg a different, tiny little girl to untangle her bridle and put it on Jake, or pick Jake's hooves (his legs were like cement pilings), or put Jake's bit in his mouth (he nipped), or tighten Jake's girth. The tiniest little girls would throw their tiny shoulders into Jake's middle to make him blow out the breath he was holding, while the great hulking Writer stood around.

When it was time to ride, the little girls settled into the saddles light as leaves and raced around the ring. The Writer bounced all over the place because she couldn't learn to post (this is Virginia and you learn English style). Jake liked to brush her off on the fence. Once he nearly broke her little finger. At the end of the 8 weeks, the little girls could ride like centaurs and The Writer couldn't post to trot, or even walk very well. She decided to move on to another barn.

You mean there's more to this ridiculous, boring story?


TamraW said...

I have the cutest image of the rider at her first lesson with all those little girls . ..

ellsworth said...

It was definitely not a pretty picture. She towered over all those girls and was a big scaredy-cat besides! But The Writer did leave her comfort zone.