Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Hannah Russell
Features Writer
3:14 PM 6th December 2017

Having A Passion For Horses Without Riding…

Alfie with his winter coat
Alfie with his winter coat
I’ve not ridden a horse in nearly 2 years which is where I got the idea for this post from.

Last week someone asked me if I ever missed riding and I didn’t really know how to answer.

There are days when I would love nothing more than to jump back in the saddle and gallop across an open field, but when I look out my kitchen window and see Alfie grazing in the paddock or waiting for me by the gate than there is nothing more I want to do than go play with him in the field or tie him up for a good brush.

I have a total of four horses, two miniature Shetlands – Alfie and Pepper, Badger who is my first pony and is now enjoying retirement as he turns 30 next year and Paddy a rescue Gypsy Cob who is just 12 years old.

Hannah riding Paddy
Hannah riding Paddy
I used to ride Paddy twice a week and sometimes I wonder if he ever misses our weekly jaunts around the Yorkshire Dales… But then I remember the times he was so nervous of traffic passing by that he would turn himself quite literally inside out to get away.. So maybe he doesn’t.

In 2013 I found out that I had 3 fractured vertebrae in my back and 2 worn discs which was quite a shock.

I had been experiencing pain while studying sports education at college and knew something just wasn’t right. When the doctors told me it would be best if I didn’t ride due to the long term injury if I fell off and the impact could cause permanent damage, I didn’t really know what to think.

Riding was all I had ever really known since I was 6 years old and I was only starting to get into competing as I was getting older. To start with I found it hard to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t ever ride again and thought about the potential risks of riding.

But at the end of the day it really wasn’t worth it as there are people in this world who are going through far worse things than I was going through. What I’m trying to say is not being able to ride isn’t the end of the world.

My passion for horses wasn’t just going to go away. I still love horses just as much as before and now that I don’t ride I’ve been able to focus my time equally between my small tribe of four. I’ve developed a bond and connection with all four of them which I never had before.