When I was a child I was obsessed with horses. Properly obsessed, for a while. I used to dream of having lessons, and badgered my parents weekly and raged at the unfairness of having to learn the bloody piano instead of fun horsey stuff. So instead I read ALL the books on how to ride and earned myself an encyclopaedic knowledge of types of horses and what all the various bits of tack were called. This knowledge has dribbled out of my ears over the years and has now been been replaced with things like types of wine and what all the various bits of cheese are called.
Aged around twelve or thirteen I started working at the weekends at a stables. The deal was, ostensibly, working in exchange for lessons, but the lessons never materialised despite the (slightly scary) yard owner’s promises every single week. What happened instead was that I’d work solidly mucking out and leading small children round on ponies for six hours, and once a month or so the owner would remember about me and put me on a too-big horse and send me out into the woods for a hack. Often unaccompanied. Terrifying stuff. I spent more time on my arse than on horseback, unsurprisingly.
Anyway, this lasted a couple of years, and then I grew out of horses and discovered vodka and boys. And life went on.
Molly has been having lessons since she was seven. She’s nine now, and bounces around on a Thelwell-esque pony over jumps and round corners with aplomb. I love watching her. It’s been really good for her in all sorts of ways, she listens to her teacher, she is disciplined about it and keen and it gives her a ‘thing’ to talk about with her friends. She does gymnastics too, for much the same reasons. She is animated in discussions about her hobbies, engaged and interested and delightful. Which, for an ‘explosive’ and tricky child like my Pie, is worth rubies and diamonds.
It occured to me this morning, while I was in the bath, that there’s actually nothing stopping me having lessons now. In fact, I’m not sure why I haven’t done it before. So when I took the Pie up to the yard I asked what they could do for me. Well. It turns out they are quite keen to get the ‘rusty mums’ back in the saddle, and there’s a whole cohort of us. Not sure what I think of the Rusty Mums sobriquet, but that’s what they are calling us and who am I to argue.
In my usual gung ho foolhardy manner, I have booked myself a fortnightly lesson. So midday tomorrow will find me astride a huge formidable beast (called Squirrel), on a lunge rein, being instructed in the art of not falling off. I am not sure whether I am more scared than excited but I’m going to grab life by the balls as per usual and give it a go.
The twelve year old me is overjoyed. The thirty four year old me is wondering what on earth I’m thinking. But, you know, I think it’s important to listen to your twelve year old self and it’s a really wonderful and warm feeling to fulfill a wish that you’ve harboured since your early teens.
I’d love to know about your own childhood wishes and whether they came true as an adult; did you ever buy yourself a Mister Frosty for example, or finally learn to ice skate? I know my husband has filled our house with the Lego he didn’t have enough of as a child, which always makes me smile.
Or do you try and live vicariously through your own children by giving them all the things you never had?
I love a bit of wish fulfilment, and I’m going to carry on trying to grant as many wishes as I can, both for my family and for my own inner twelve year old. It’s good for the soul, I reckon.
Love and kisses xxx