I’m all smiles after my amazing birthday ride.

I’m all smiles after my amazing birthday ride.

Well, it finally happened. I turned 30. And I don’t feel old at all—well except for my muscles that are still protesting loudly from my latest ride. In fact, I feel invigorated now that I’m riding again. It’s amazing how returning to an old passion can reignite the spark of life. I feel like a horse-obsessed teenager all over again. I’d like to say that this time around I am a little smarter and a lot less reckless when it comes to riding. And while in the saddle that seems to be true—I reined myself in from jumping on only my third ride back – on the ground, I’m older but not really any wiser.

I thought it would be a fabulous idea to have Luc help celebrate hitting the big 3-0 in style. I spent more than half an hour torturing him with love by dressing him up for my birthday. I made him wear a pink princess party hat (that was all I could find at the store), some sparkly purple ribbons (I have a bit of an obsession with sparkly things), a shiny happy birthday banner, and even let him pose with a party balloon and blower. Thank goodness he’s such a levelheaded horse and was more interested in the plastic bag I brought it all in, hoping to find some carrots inside.

Luc gives his signature cow-face to the camera.

Luc gives his signature cow-face to the camera.

He stood patiently for the most part while my sister held him and I took photo after photo (more than 200 in all!), trying to get the money shot where he didn’t have on his signature cow-face as I like to call it – where his ears are out to the side and he looks less than impressed with what I’m doing. It wasn’t until after the helium balloon we tied to him broke free that he showed any interest at all. He turned towards it and calmly watched it float away, straight into the pasture we’d just taken him out of. His friends were terrified, cowering together as far away from the intruder as possible, freaking out even more when my sister went to retrieve it and take it out of the field. All the while Luc watched, ears forward, and I finally got a good photo.

Then it was time to ride. That’s right, I decided to dress Luc up before I rode, knowing full well it could have riled him up for my ride. I really am blessed to be able to have such a saintly steed as my partner. After I removed his birthday finery it was time to mount up. No butterflies this time! Of course there was a bit of an incident while mounting. Once I’d made it up the steps, Luc moved away from the mounting block. I was left with two choices, get off the mounting block, move Luc over, and then get on the mounting block, or, beg my sister to move Luc for me. I chose the latter. There was no way I was getting off that mounting block now that I was finally on it!

Luc says Happy Birthday!

Luc says Happy Birthday!

I stepped smoothly into the stirrup, settled into the saddle, and we were off. It was an amazing ride. We made it all the way down to the scary end and weren’t eaten by any invisible monsters. Luc and I even spent a substantial amount of time working at that end. I was so proud of both of us. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present from him! We walked, trotted and cantered, and while it’s still not graceful or easy, it is getting better. I even toyed with the idea of trotting him over the tiny x-rail already setup in the arena. Ultimately my 30-year-old wisdom kicked in and I decided that wasn’t a very good idea. I’m nowhere near in good enough shape to be jumping anything, and it wouldn’t be fair to Luc to have to pack his unbalanced rider over it.

At the end of the day it was one of my best birthdays, and I owe it mostly to my fantastic family and the always-incorrigible Luc. His antics never fail to brighten my day and put a smile on my face. He helped turn what I’ve been told can be a frightening milestone, into an incredibly memorable experience. I hope that every horse lover has the chance to get to know a horse as amazing and amusing as Luc. Just don’t tell him that, the last thing we need is for him to realize his cuteness gives him a free pass. He’s enough of a terror at times as it is!

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