On Painted Toenails and Horseback Riding


Recently I got inspired to ride again. This is not to say that I had stopped riding before but I mean really ride again; as in taking my dedication to a new level by learning and perfecting some new skills. Initially, all was well. As most of you know, I’m a school teacher who is off during the glorious months of summer. I spent my time riding whenever I pleased.

Then August rolled around. It was time to somewhat reluctantly trade my riding boots for opened toed dress shoes and relegate my riding to evenings after school. I did the only reasonable thing I could think of. I painted my toenails. There is something about adding a fresh coat of nail polish. It’s shiny and unblemished and there’s a tiny girly part of me that really likes it. I silently vowed to commit to the added upkeep.

A week passed and my painted toes began to lose their gloss. Chips began to appear in the paint.  A decision would soon have to be made. Repaint my toenails or ride my horse?  I waffled.

At first, I reasoned that they really didn’t look all that bad and forged ahead with my riding. The next time I looked down they really did look that bad. I mean really bad. Had I gone out in public like this? What to do? There truly wasn’t a decision to be made.

To heck with my toenails, I was going riding! With one leg at a time propped up on the bathroom vanity I added another layer of paint, waited a few seconds for it to dry, then donned my riding boots and headed over to the farm. I felt only a small twinge of conscience until it happened again and again. Multiple layers of paint later I finally caved.

On one of my horse’s off days I scrubbed, stripped, and re-applied the paint.  The girly part of me was temporarily satisfied. This time though I’m not kidding myself.  The multi-layers of paint process begins anew.  As it turns out, my downward spiral or the beginning of wisdom started with the decision to paint or not to paint my toenails.

I’ve come to realize that lots and lots of things like housecleaning, laundry, and mowing the yard can wait. You can limp along with a band-aid approach to those things. I find it impossible to get along without riding.  The moral to this story you ask? If there’s a choice, choose riding. Always choose riding.

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