It sounds like you really need to find yourself some horses to ride! They are very therapeutic friends. That sounds really pretty riding in the mountains with the ocean too. I have always wanted to ride down the coast like they do on tv!
Once your back readjusts to the riding, it would probably benefit from the added muscle tone that riding would give. Hang on to that tack for as long as you want - especially if that keeps up your optimism!!! If you get bored, you can bring it out here and use it! Lil thinks I should give everybody the website for my parents ranch - so if you'd like some boredom relief: http://www.guestranches.com/deerforks.htm They have some nice pictures on there, too.
Yes, I was pretty bummed about not getting my jockey license. Especially since I've been home eating mom's cooking - I now weigh 130 lbs. Need to be 110 to ride races! I'm only 5'2". You're right about the exercise thing. Much easier to be motivated to exertion by tasks that you love. I got very fit exercising horses on the track but loved every minute of it. The traveling part was also fun - no place longer than 3 mos. at a time.
Well, my tall friend (don't feel bad, I'm sure you made good use of your ambitions elsewhere), I must be going. My brother, Kelly, is driving me to town this afternoon to see what the doctor will do with my ankle (permanent cast, screw, etc.).