One of the debates currently coursing through the student body at OVS is between football players and equestrians. The football players seem to think that horse-back riding is not a sport.
First of all, I’d like to invite football players to a sit-up competition. The equestrians would win.
Everyone who has sat on a horse even once can recognize the talent, skill, and hard work it takes for a 97 pound person (me) to maneuver a 1,500 pound animal to move forward, sideways, backwards, to jump and gallop and stop, all without looking like you’re doing anything. Not to mention the 1,500 pound horse has a mind of its own, a mind which most often, relishes in doing the exact opposite of what you want him to.
Horse-back riding isn’t a sport? Yeah right.
Whenever I can bully my dad into giving me a piggy back ride, which has been less and less often as I’ve grown taller, he has to remind me over and over again not to squeeze his sides with my legs. That would be because after thirteen years of gripping the sides of a horse, my legs are pretty strong.
Last spring, I decided to take a break from riding. For some reason, I decided to do cross-country running as my fall sport. First of all, that was a terrible idea. Secondly, I realized that I’ve gotten off a horse sweatier than I’ve been after a four or five mile run in ninety degree weather. My muscles have been far sorer after a challenging ride than they have been after a long run.
Horse-back riding makes you use muscles you didn’t even know you had. It makes you focus, and plan out every move of each finger, arm, leg, and foot because the tiniest movement from any part of your body could send your horse off running or bucking. The horse can sense your fear. It can sense which way you look. It knows what you’re going to do almost before you do – and it loves to do just the opposite of what you’re asking.
So to the football players who think horse-back riding isn’t a sport (cough cough my editor in chief cough cough), I invite you to come to the barn and ride for sports one day. Forewarning, you’ll have a hard time moving the next day.