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The Seven Stages of Aging on Horseback

A love of horses doesn't go away just because we get older. But the way we ride (and fall) does change a bit.

By Cindy Hale | Monday, January 31, 2011

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About once a week I trail ride with my good friend Debbie. We showed horses together for many years, and I’m really enjoying introducing her to the more laid back experience of trail riding. So when she called to cancel this week, I was surprised. Then she explained that she’d taken a tumble off her gelding while riding in the arena, and needed to take it easy for a few days. We were both disappointed, and together we lamented how our bodies just don’t withstand the insult of getting tossed from the saddle anymore.

"Let’s face it,” I told Debbie. "We’re getting older. When we fall off we don’t bounce.”

Indeed. Though we used to consider falling off just another aspect of horsemanship, nowadays we see it as something we’d really like to avoid. It has nothing to do with fear and everything to do with a loss of elasticity that occurs to human bodies on the other side of thirty. Yet because we’re horse crazy women we continue to ride, leading the non-horsey folks around us to think we’re suffering from some kind of dementia. So that you can understand this concept better—or maybe prepare yourself—here’s a little chart that explains it all.

Seven Stages

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Reader Comments

Pat    Holmen, WI

11/29/2016 9:00:31 AM

Laughed until I had tears. I have friend who could have written the article. She still won't give up her horses or riding.

Jinx    Orlean, VA

9/25/2016 12:12:56 PM

I have to laugh at this. I had a bad fall in April (first in 15 years), and I am between stages 4 and 5. Stage 4 walked back to the trailer (really, shouldn't have). Stage 5 getting the plate and screws now as the bone pieces did not heal. But, I see myself in other stages as well... perhaps slow healing needs to be on the list?

Karen    New Era, MI

9/25/2016 11:07:52 AM

The key is to not fall off! Rap riders raitly do!!

Michelle    Lorain, OH

11/12/2014 8:28:03 AM

As a rider in my late fifties, I can appreciate the 7 steps! Since I started really riding in my forties, it seems I have skipped a couple steps. Fortunatley, I haven't reached steps 5,6,or 7. I am very familiar with 3 and 4 though. I must say it has been worth every ouch,limp, and dislocation.

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