One of the great things about riding, whether as a hobby or a profession, is its long shelf life. Unlike other sports, you don’t age out at 18, or 25, or 30. In fact, many equestrians don’t even hit their stride until middle age.
Likewise, when it comes to competing, the sport is all yours until you decide it’s time to walk away. Many top international competitors are in their 40s, 50s and beyond. Japanese dressage rider Hiroshi Hoketsu made headlines recently when he qualified for the London Olympics at age 70.
Today, Horse Nation is celebrating the fact that horses don’t really give a flying manure ball how old you are–all that really matters to them is that you ride them fairly and provide them with a steady supply of snacks.
This grants them the unique ability to remain a constant in our lives even as our lives themselves are changing. Whether you’re a thirtysomething trying to figure out how to balance horses with motherhood (the topic of Amanda Smith’s “Midlife Crisis” column today) or an over-50 amateur who is nowhere near ready to give up riding yet (as is the case with Dia Fowles, author of our new “The Age Challenged Rider” column) or a 70-year-old Olympian, a passion for horses is something that many of us never outgrow.
Some have the opportunity to pursue riding from an early age; others have to make the opportunity for themselves later. As my favorite author Tom Robbins says, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
If horses are in your heart, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 10 years old or 100–it’s important to honor that part of yourself throughout your life.