California Riding Magazine • June, 2011

Enjoy The Ride
The long road back to riding
makes for a nice life.

by Sue Hardman

Able to buy our first farm while stationed at Ft Campbell, KY in the mid 80's. Blue was a good boy, versatile, and a pretty little grulla.

Pony Clubbing with Brandywine Hunt in
Chester County, PA. What a great place to
be able to ride in the early 70s.

Seems like I am running into many folks my age (54) and older who are interested in riding. I think my story is a common theme among this group. Early childhood and teen horse experience is a wonderful blessing to have in my memory bank. Though, at that time, I remember desiring more and better, but facing financial and commitment level constraints of my parents. (Now, as a parent, I truly appreciate the sacrifices made to allow me to live out my heart's desire.)

In my early adult years, I was able to continue involvement with horses but usually on a shoestring, as finances and time seemed to be in high demand during that stage of life. My career as a U.S. Army Officer, and support from a generous husband, provided adequate income to keep my hat in the ring, but frequent relocation and deployments generated their own set of challenges. (Who would have thought there were so many horses in Alaska?)

Riding here in San Diego (Cook Training Stables at RidgeMar in Del Mar).
After one month of being back in the saddle, realized my legs were not
properly conditioned but fortunately my eldest daughter, Marianne, loves
the sport as well and I enjoy watching her train.

Did too much without being in proper condition
while stationed in DC. Vacationing in Centreville, VA, took this
beautiful Hanoverian on the cross country course and promptly had a fall.
Kept me out of the riding scene for five years.

Our kids came into the picture and fortunately shared my passion. This allowed a sweet, vicarious involvement with equestrian activities. Now, I'm enjoying the time and finances to pursue my passion to the degree I desire, but my physical body is the restriction. I'm grateful that my yoga instructor was able to adapt my daily practice, gradually preparing my body for horseback riding ... so my dream can come true. The last 40 years contained a unique "course of obstacles" that add the spice to life. The real joy comes from making the most of where you are.

Enjoy your ride every step of the way.

Sue Hardman is a Realtor with Century 21. She specializes in equestrian properties because horses are her passion. She can be reached at 858-245-1232.