My New Running Buddy

I ran 6.5 km last night.  With my horse.

Wait.  What?

I started running because I needed some time alone to gather my thoughts and re-charge my batteries.  Horseback riding has always been my outlet for this, but with three little kids I just didn’t have time.  A quick run made more sense (hence my love of 5K races my first year as a runner).

Now, as I train for my first half marathon, I’m starting to resent some of my runs.  It’s gorgeous outside.  I have convinced my husband to stop working long enough to watch the kids for two hours so I can do a long run.  But two hours is enough time to go riding instead…

Riding is my first love, but I’m not ready to give up running either.  While out on a long run I hatched a plan to get both of us exercised at the same time.  People run with their dogs all the time. Why couldn’t I run with my horse?

I laid out the criteria of the run in my head.  1. It must be one of my driveway runs. I definitely don’t need traffic whizzing past (yes, a truck does go by here once or twice an hour!) and spooking my running buddy.  Also, the sides of my driveway are grass and level for the first foot or so before dropping off, so would be better for his feet – I could run on the gravel, he could jog beside me on the grass.  2. It must be an easy run, too difficult to worry about pace when you’re already worrying about a horse.  3. Tell no one. This is a weird plan, people will laugh at you.

My  husband was away for the night, kids were in bed, I had an easy run on my schedule. The stars had aligned, time to try the crazy plan.  Baby monitor on the step, I prepared to run to the end of my half-mile long driveway and back four times… with my horse.

Me and my best friend of 16 years!

Here’s the really crazy part: it worked! It’s difficult to explain the concept of pacing to a barrel racing horse with lots of energy and long legs, but after the first mile he calmed down a bit and we settled into a pace we could both agree on. It’s hard to run while holding a thick lead rope, but hey, I’m not going to do this every day, so I managed.  I got my four mile easy run in, and my horse got his legs stretched too. Success all around.

When my husband got home, I told him what I’d done (now that I had been successful, I decided I was allowed to tell someone!). Surprise: he thought it was brilliant! 

So then I got thinking about novelty runners.  You know, the guys who run a marathon while juggling, or run backwards.  I bet no one’s ever entered a race with a horse before! (I’m kidding, I won’t actually do that. But I could.) 😉

Gotta run.


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