I went out this morning to take care of Maiden and have her do some work but it was so crowded at the barn there wasn't room to lunge her. There was already someone lunging a horse and two people riding and you can't have two people lunging when people are riding. So, since next Thursday will be six weeks and supposedly the end of my stall rest I decided I wanted to just sit on my horse at least. I got her all tacked up and went out in the arena and suddenly had a bout of anxiety and didn't want to try to get on her because I didn't want to go flying off and break everything all over again. Of course, intellectually I knew that was unlikely but the feeling did hit me like a ton of bricks. I asked my friend, M. to hold her while I got on but I was also waiting for the moment when the other horse being lunged would stop acting like a yahoo and Trainer J. would stop yelling at the top of his lungs and things would be quieter and calmer around me. Before that happened Trainer K. who was riding Gemini yelled, "Either get on your horse, J. or go stand in the middle because you're in my way!" To which I said to M. "Ok, I guess I'd better just get on now."
Once I was on her I realized how NOT scary it was to be back riding a horse again, especially in a saddle. And how NOT scary Maiden is to ride. We started out walking and I felt like I had forgotten everything and was fumbling all over the place and had horrible posture and nagging legs and floppy hands and everything else that's a no-no in dressage. My sacrum was also feeling very tender which was disconcerting. Maiden was actually pretty energetic and broke into a trot a couple times despite me asking her to only walk. So, after I got a little more comfortable we did some trotting which actually felt better because I was standing up/sitting down and that took some of the pressure off my sacrum part of the time. In general Maiden did extremely well and I did ok. But I think I was glowing like a little kid being able to ride again! It's going to take some time and riding to feel like I have my balance back and I'll feel braver and more confident when my sacrum and L4 aren't still so tender. But it was awesome and I really didn't want to get off but after about 20 minutes my sacrum was feeling pretty achy and I didn't want to put any pressure on the bone if it's not totally healed yet.
Meanwhile, I went to look again at the stable I'm thinking of moving Maiden to which is fairly close to my house and much nicer than where I currently am. Granted they don't have a lot of turn-out, the stalls are bigger and don't have the flooding issues, the arena is much nicer and the footing much safer and there is also an outdoor arena with good/safe footing. It isn't too far from the library so my husband and daughter rode along. I was able to talk to another boarder there and get a few more questions answered which was nice and meet the trainer who works there. The boarder I talked to has an older Hanoverian who was quite lovely, but when she was putting her horse in the arena and I was driving out, he spooked and she was trying to keep him from running out of the arena (and I was actually thinking "what she's doing is totally ineffective - I wonder if I should help her?") so I stopped the car (hoping the the car no longer moving might help him calm down in case it was my fault he spooked) and asked if she needed help and she said no, right as he tore the lead rope from her hand and went galloping past us (which I must say he looked very lovely). I asked if she needed help catching him and she said no, he'd just go back to his stall.
I don't know if that precipitated my husband's comment that my hobby is extremely dangerous. But I tried to reason with him that my other choice of a hobby that I'd been considering was roller derby and that was much more dangerous and he said he didn't think so. I need to see if I can find some statistics but I'm pretty sure that roller derby is more dangerous than riding horses (at least the horses I ride - probably not people who are into bucking broncos in the rodeo or national level barrel racing). I said dressage is pretty darn safe and he said "till you get to jumping" and I explained that jumping isn't part of dressage. He pointed out that I used to jump and I said, "Well, there is show jumping which is what I did as a kid but that isn't dressage. There is three day eventing which is has three components: Dressage, Show Jumping like I did in an arena with poles that fall down if you miss a jump and Cross Country with is some sort of crazy-ass-testosterone driven death wish for you and your horse." I tried the "It's safer than skiing." "It's definitely safer than when you used to ride your bike from Ballard to downtown Seattle to go to work." "It's safer than skateboarding or football." And he wouldn't budge. He still strongly believes it is more dangerous than roller derby because the girls are roughly proportional to each other (as compared to a horse) and you're falling down from your own height - not from the height of the horse. But he's not taking into account that you are (normally - unless you're at my slum-lord run current stable) falling onto softer footing (by far) than a roller rink or concrete floor, your half ton horse does not have the prime objective of knocking you down, and you do not fall off your horse every time you ride in a show or practice like you are guaranteed to do every time you practice or compete in roller derby. Still, I could not get through to him that what I do is relatively safe - probably far safer than driving in a car to get to the stable.
If anyone has any statistics on the safety of riding horses compared to skiing, skateboarding, roller derby, etc. I'd love to see them. But even then I doubt that would convince him.