Monday, September 29, 2003

Mother and daughter saddle up for workouts

Basic training

By Shauna Scott Rhone
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Does horsing around run in the family? It does for Paula Drake, 52, of Anderson Township, and her daughter Lindsey Richardson, 26, of Mount Lookout. Drake's been saddle-savvy since she can remember and brought Richardson on board as soon as she could handle the ride. That way, they still see other twice a week for lessons and get their exercise to boot.

What is it? Horseback riding.

How did you get started? Paula: I have ridden most of my life, starting when I was about 9. I started my daughter by putting her up behind me on a horse when she was just a couple years old. Lindsey: I remember hanging on to my mom as we cantered around the cornfield when I was about 4 years old. I was hooked. I took a break from riding when I was in college and just recently started riding again.

What do you get out of it? Paula: A wonderful physical workout combining cardiovascular with both upper and lower body exercise. It is the most wonderful way to exercise and unwind at the same time. The added bonus is that you can ride by yourself or with others. My daughter and I have a girls' night out once a week where we ride and then have dinner together. Lindsey: I get to combine my love of animals and the outdoors and get a workout at the same time. There is also a great sense of accomplishment in teaching a horse to do something new and having him do it when you ask him. There is a special connection between horse and rider.

What type of equipment do you need? Riding helmet ($40); a pair of jeans, sturdy shoes and a willingness to get dirty! Lessons cost a minimum of $20 a lesson. Many stables have lesson horses that you can use for lessons. Often you can barter for lessons if you are willing to clean stalls and help to provide other services at the barn (more great exercise, that stall-cleaning stuff!). Right now, neither one of us owns the horse we are riding. Paula's horse, Buffy, is a retired dressage show horse and Lindsey's horse, Hank, is owned by a family friend.

How long does it take to get started? No time at all. It takes only the time to locate the nearest facility and set up a first lesson.

How long did it take to learn? We are still learning. That's the neat thing about horseback riding. There are always new and fun things to learn. You can learn to jump, ride dressage, barrel race, trail ride. There are riding clubs that sponsor weekend camping/riding trips. There are even vacations centered around riding, including guest ranches in the Rockies, safaris on horseback in Africa and trail rides through the countryside in Ireland. The opportunities are endless.


Basic Training is a new feature spotlighting Greater Cincinnatians who work hard at having fun. If you would like to nominate someone who keeps fit by playing sports or developing a new skill e-mail, fax information to 768-8330 or mail to Basic Training, Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202. Please include a daytime phone number for you and your nominee.

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