Photographs by Garry Armstrong

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Garry and I used to ride. Horseback. We rode horses. I started riding pretty young and before I got good at it, got pretty broken trying to find my way. I dragged Garry to take riding lessons with me when we were both in our fifties and it was great. He took to it like a duck to water. After watching westerns his whole life, he could now ride the high country with the best of them.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

At some point in the mid 1990s, I had one nasty accident that completely unglued my spine. Riding, I was told, was out. Not just sort of out. Really, truly completely absolutely O-U-T. I’d heard this before, but I’d cheated because I really love horses. But this doctor was serious. He said one little fall and that would be “it” for walking.

That hurt. I have always loved horses. The smell of barns, the feel of a horse under me, the way they gather their muscles to make the next move. How you can feel their intentions in your feet and legs. I love the velvet of their noses and how they take food off your palm with those big soft lips.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Last night, more or less out of the blue, the granddaughter emailed me to say they were having an event at The Barn and would we like to come. Barn? What barn?

It turns out she is volunteering at a horse barn down the road, just over the Rhode Island line. “She’s learning to ride,” I told Garry. “It’s genetic. My mother rode. I rode. She can’t help herself. She needs a horse.”

He looked a little puzzled. “You show me a young woman volunteering at a barn and I will show you a young woman trying to work off riding lessons.” It’s a thing, young women and horses.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – Lad with local “unicorn”

It also turned out she also needs a portrait lens for her camera. I can’t give her one because I don’t own a camera that size or style. In fact, the camera she has was my last full-size camera. I did tell her there’s a lot of Canon camera and lenses on sale these days — new and used — since so many people are changing to smaller cameras.I thought we might just be able to snag a lens for her. If she has time to drop by.

Garry took pictures. I took a few too. I got a delicious scent of horse barn while Garry’s thinking taking riding lessons again. He deserves it. Go Garry! It was a better than usual Saturday out here in the country.

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

Categories: Animals, Cameras, Family, Friendship, Garry Armstrong, horses, Photography

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20 replies

  1. wonderful that she is volunteering like that- and smart- she is giving but getting too!


  2. Just love the unicorn.


  3. Garry, these are fun photos your took. Looks like the two of you had some fun. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cee, I had fun once I switched from observer to photographer. It was like the old days as I saw shots evolving. I hunched down on the riding track but only got a couple of decent shots of a rider coming towards me. I need to move faster. I enjoyed this shoot!!


  4. I rode a horse once… on a family vacation in Colorado. I was just shy of turning 20 and in the prime of my life. The horse’s name was Julep, the sturdiest horse they had since apparently the stable was a bit concerned my 200 pound frame might break one of their more dainty steeds. The experience wasn’t bad, but I left feeling like I’d be perfectly happy never getting on another horse again, and that hasn’t changed 21 years later. OK, I might be tempted to ride that unicorn up there…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I took a lot of unicorn picture for you, entirely. I will send you some of them. She was a rather large unicorn, as these things go.

      They must have had awfully small horses. Lots of riders are big and/or heavy. It’s not a sport for which thinness is an issue. Great TALLNESS is more of an issue. A really short horse and a long legged rider can look a bit … odd.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Squirrel, I hope my body will allow me a few opportunities to ride again this summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. But I am sure you had a wonderful time at the stables and nice to see riding remains in the family. I love visiting our local stables, but riding no way. I sat on a horse a few years back and when I discovered it was a living breathing thing, I decided that was not for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I used to ride okay. Not a great rider, but good enough to stay on and almost never fall off. But now, I have quite enough trouble just getting up and on my feet in the morning. I’d never make it into the saddle. And the thing is, no matter how well you ride, horses get spooked by all kinds of weird stuff. They see something out of the corner of their eye and thing it’s — a ghost? Something. Anyone can fall off and people do. Sometimes, they get badly hurt. I did. My mother did which is why she stopped riding.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mrs. Swiss, despite the “cowboy” aura, I still step gently and carefully around the dung. Guess I’m more of a pilgrim than cowboy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A wonderful Saturday, indeed! Here, it’s the girls who learn to ride – my mother had a theory that was so because a horse is a means of mobility that girls could control while boys controlled their cars. The only time I saw her ride, she held on so tight that the poor horse went backwards! Kudos to Garry for wanting to take lessons again — I’m sorry you can’t join him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really wish I could ride. I miss it a LOT. But these days, just walking from the car to the barn is a big deal. They’d need a pulley and winch to get me in the saddle.

      I think girls love to ride because a horse feels so good between your legs. They do. It’s the power of the horse. We don’t get to control a lot of power in this world, but a horse? That’s power with love! Also, we have fewer physical “issues” with saddles than boys. We don’t need special, um, cups. We just fit right in that saddle, like a well-fitted recliner that can jump fences.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s an amazing level of communication that happens between a girl’s legs and the horse she’s riding! It IS power with love! I love the image of a well-fitted recliner that can jump fences!


        • When I was a teenager, I decided that if I could have a horse, I wouldn’t need a man. I changed my mind, but there were a lot of years where I thought my original idea was the better one. Now, I can see that look in my granddaughter’s eyes. SHE wants a horse. It’s the look they get when they are near horses, that teary, doe-eyed look of love. She’s hooked.

          Liked by 1 person

    • slmret, I’d love to let the “cowboy” in me out again while my body is still capable.

      Liked by 1 person


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