But one day I decided that I wanted to ride again. I spend a lot of time taking care of the children and I finally gave myself permission to do something that I like to do just because I wanted to. The lovely thing about children getting older is that some flexibility comes back into your daily life. After making that decision, I realized that I could have my cake and eat it to - not only would I ride, but the children would ride, too.
We haven't done any sports with the children because of my own laziness. I don't like running around taking children to activities, and there haven't been that many opportunities anyway. I briefly considered ballet in Baku until I realized that it would take three hours every week. We tried to start karate in Dushanbe with a teacher who would come to our house, but I couldn't get the teacher to ever call me back. So my children haven't done any sports, and they really haven't asked to do them either.
I had hired a Russian teacher around the time the car got registered and during our first lesson I had her call the stable. Our teacher, Elmira, had been recommended by a friend who also mentioned that Elmira had helped her out with getting things arranged for a birthday party. She was happy to help, and by the end of the session we had lessons set up for that Friday.
Friday morning we all put on our brand-new matching riding tights, matching paddock boots, and matching helmets. Elmira showed up at 8:15 to come to the stable with us and act as interpreter, and we headed over. Thankfully it's only three miles from our house, because Tashkent is a big city and it could have been a quite a lot further.
We showed up, waited around a bit, and then the children got to mount up. I missed half the lessons because I was busy filling out forms, paying money, and making sure I understood the payment system, lesson scheduling, and how to change lessons if we were going to be out of town. Every place has their own system, and every country their own way of setting up systems, and what might make sense to you isn't necessarily what makes sense to someone else. Add in the translating from Russian to English and back again and it took quite a while. I was very glad to have Elmira's help; I'm pretty sure it would have been a disaster mess if I had tried to do it on my own.
Meanwhile the children were learning how to mount, sit, use the reins, and do exercises on the back of their horses. Thankfully there was a girl who could speak English to translate some of the directions, and miming accomplished the rest. At the end of the lesson, almost everyone pronounced it fun, and Edwin, as usual, pronounced it horrible.
We finished the morning with my own lesson, which reminded me that I never was a great rider and twenty years absence hasn't made me any better. But I'm old enough that I (mostly) don't care whether or not I look fantastic and I just enjoy doing it even if I'm pretty lousy. I was able to remember how to post and canter and I didn't fall off when I lost a stirrup, so I guess that's a good enough start for now. The good news it that I'll have lots of time to work on it!