I grew an inch taller when I was in college and that is fine, but I could have used that extra inch in height when I was riding horses.
People who don’t know too much about riding think “riding” is being a jockey and they always thought that I was the “right size” to ride. If I had been a jockey, great, but I rode hunt seat equitation and the longer the leg, the better one looks on a horse. My stocky pins did nothing to elongate me visually and my trainer was forever telling me to “Sit tall!” and “”Stretch up!”, and my favorite, “Make yourself LOOK tall!” I know I willed space between my vertebrae and I still can lengthen my neck upwards to give the illusion of something like height.
I remember participating in a riding clinic given by one of the top jumper riders in the country. It was the 1970s and the trend was for trainers to be caustic, and this woman was incredibly observant and generous in her praise and criticism but she was also relentless in her comments about my height. “How are you going to be an equitation rider at your height?” “How can you ever expect to win the equitation classes without any length in your leg?”
Now these comments had no real correction, unless I opted for boots with some sort of platform (they don’t exist, or believe me, I would have worn them). Finally the famous rider was so exasperated at my refusal to get taller after an hour of riding that she called me in to the center of the ring and ordered me to dismount.
She covered the microphone before she handed it to me; “I really have just been thinking of an excuse to ride your mare…” she winked and hopped on my horse.
I looked at her happily riding my mare and realized that she was just a bit taller than I was and that she was riding with my stirrup irons at the same length that I used them. I was left holding the microphone. I had nothing to say but had plenty of things to learn: the importance of good posture was just one of them.