The Paulick Report‘s Natalie Ross has ridden all her life. After spending time at the track, she had a hankering to gallop a race horse. She discovered that it’s harder than it looks.
One of the things I hadn’t really calculated is how difficult it is just to stay perched up there, much less stay still. The forward momentum of an accelerating horse pushes you backwards, toward the saddle. With the stirrup on the very end of your inwardly-turned foot, your entire means of balance is your calves and heels, which of course start moving around with the horse. For yoga practitioners, it’s basically the chair pose, on your heels, with your toes in and arms down. The taller you are, the more difficult it is to keep your body low behind the horse’s neck, and if you manage to do it, you have to hope that neck doesn’t come flying back at your nose if the horse becomes upset. I’m honestly not sure which set of muscles was more upset by my attempt to maintain this balance—back, calves, arms, abs, or heels.
When I was a teen, I was invited to gallop racehorses. My father said no. Unfortunately, even if I’d ever had a second chance, I was only “brave” enough to try that after the age of 16.
Have you ever galloped a racehorse?