Horse riding duo Anne Wiseman, 67, and her granddaughter Shaylah, 11, prove it’s never too late — or too soon — to saddle-up. They ride every Monday night at Ranchlands Equestrian Centre and, while they’re not quite in the same class division yet, their shared passion gives them plenty of fodder to chew over.
I always wanted to go horse riding when I was young, but there was always an excuse — nowhere to keep a horse, no money, and then I had kids, so no time. Then about 10 years ago I got breast cancer. That was the wake-up call I needed to just get out there and do it — you can’t sit around and wonder, because you never know when you’ll die.
Once I hit 60 I thought “it’s now or never” and started horse riding. Straight away I really enjoyed it.
It’s great exercise — fantastic for the core and legs — but the people I’ve met and ride and compete with are all really nice. Shaylah has always wanted to ride horses, like me, and as soon as she came to watch me, she was hooked. It’s been wonderful for her listening skills, confidence, and mixing with kids her own age; plus it’s been good bonding for us and we’ll often sit and she’ll ask me, “Grandma, why can’t I do this?”. I’ve got so much out of riding and would definitely say you’re never too old to try it.
Yes, I’ve fallen off plenty of times and looked at the stars (lucky nothing serious), but the best way is to start off learning the basics and get comfortable on a horse. You go at your own pace and, before you know it, you’ll be in the dressage ring or jumping!
I love being with horses. When I was young I saw a movie and thought how nice they looked, and knew from there I wanted to ride one. Then Grandma started doing riding and she rang me and said, “Come down to watch and pat some of the horses”. The moment I felt them, I never wanted to leave.
I’ve now been riding once a week for five years and recently won two trophies.
Riding and competing has helped with my confidence overall, especially when you have to get out in front of a big crowd where all eyes are watching you and you’re being judged for your actions on the horse. It’s been great having Grandma there as she gives me tips at half time and I ask her if I’m doing anything wrong.
I’d really love to have my own horse… Paint Horses are pretty nice. I’d take it to the Outback and teach other people how to ride.
Been meaning to get in the saddle? Well, giddy up! Find out more at Ranchlands Equestrian Centre.