Life wi the Broons: finding joy

illustration of a woman riding a horse
The fourth in a series of blog posts by our Scots writer, Anne Brown.

So why do it? Why push oorsels to the limit? Maybe it’s to prove to oorsels that we can. Three years ago I started ridin again after a long break.

I thought that it wis somethin else in my life that had gone. I’d given away my jods, ridin boots and hung up my hat. I’d taken on a new persona as someone that canny do things, canny walk far, no safe to be oot on her own, someone to be looked after. Basically I lost my confidence, scared to try things in case it was somethin else to add to the long list of “canny do’s”.

Then a friend persuaded me to try the RDA (Riding for the Disabled). At first I wisny convinced, thinkin that I’d just be led around on an old lazy horse, but he assured me that wisny the case. Sick of the “canny do’s”, I decided to give it a try. It was like goin home, back to a place I belonged. My girls had horses, and I’d had the pleasure of muckin oot, groomin, transportin them to shows, and workin hard to pay for it. It was somethin that the three of us did together and loved.

Now I wis putting my neck on the line, hopin this wisny gonny be another disappointment, another loss. It wisny! It wis amazing! What a sense of freedom. I could sit up straight and see where I wis goin, where normally I’d be walkin but watchin where my feet were goin. The horse was in charge, I didny need to worry about trippin, I just had to trust him. They did lead me, for about ten minutes, then I wis on my own in the indoor school. They put me through my paces, testin me out till they found my startin level, then we worked from that.

They swapped about wi different horses till they found horses that suited, and I started to test oot what my limits were. The amazing thing is, I huvny found my limit yet. What I HAVE found is my joy! It’s my freedom, where I’m just Anne on a horse, not Anne wi MS, not Anne that staggers, just Anne on a horse.

They’ve even got me competin, givin me a target to work to, something to achieve. Last Sunday I got into my white jods, ridin boots, white shirt, navy jacket, even white gloves and competed in the Scottish Championships doin freestyle dressage to music on a gorgeous palamino cob called Toby. I came second but that’s not what it’s about, it’s about competin against me! Pushin mysel to do better each time. I don’t care if somebody’s better than me, as long as I’m better than I wis last time.

Every day we all have boundaries and obstacles, difficulties in functionin, frustrations and “canny do’s”. It’s so joyous to be able to find somethin where there’s no boundary yet. I’m gonny keep goin, puttin mysel under pressure, pushin mysel till I find that boundary, then I’m gonny push against it as hard as I can.

Illustrations by our wonderful volunteer, Elfreda Crehan