Last week I fell off a horse. Really. No metaphors. Horse is a white paint named Inki. Very strange looking horse, but she’s pretty in her own way.
For the past three or four months I’ve been riding with Little Girl during lessons, and a little in between lesson times. We started by putting a big old Western saddle on poor Inki. Next thing I know, I’m cantering and not really thinking about it. The (real) girls in our group lesson were all doing jumping courses. No jumping in a Western saddle.
I say “real” girls because I am our barn’s token seasoned citizen lesson rider.
After about three weeks I decided to give up the big saddle and go back to the normal English-or-whatever-you-call-it saddle. I’m not very good with equestrian lingo. I just know that going from western back to whatever was sort of like going from a sofa to a balance beam.
Another week went by and I’m cantering Inki comfortably and our wonderful trainer says it’s time for cross-rails. Well, ok.
That went better than I ever expected it to, so we go with small verticals. And I mean small. After a couple of weeks I’m doing that and keeping my balance and everything is just peachy. Trainer and daughter are both talking to me about showing. For the record, I am not, nor have I ever in my life been, a participant in any athletic event. Ever. Clarinet and piano playing are not sports. Neither is book-reading or computer-geeking. Not even stacking plastic cups. (Personally, I think plastic-cup-stacking was invented to make geeky kids like I was have a “sport” to call their own. I just don’t get it.)
Last week I fell off the Inki horse. I’ve fallen off a horse before, more than once. I am an expert at the emergency dismount. We were riding mini-jump courses. I had already successfully taken this jump, at the canter, several times. This time I took the jump just fine, Inki took a couple of strides, then I lost my balance and fell. Actually, I grabbed her neck and rolled off her left side, landed on my ample tush.
So, I got up, brushed off the sand and dirt, got back on the horse, and did the jump again.
Yesterday was lesson day. I didn’t try to canter any verticals, but I did canter cross-rails. I learned that I should not eat lunch at Taco Bell and then ride in 80+ degree weather. I learned that I should have gone back to the barn after last week’s lesson and worked on getting my balance and my confidence back a little quicker. I was reminded that sometimes fibromyalgia gets in the way of my progress and I don’t have the strength or energy I had even one day earlier. And it’s true what they say about activity level and fibro. The best thing to do is to keep pushing, even when you don’t feel like it. I didn’t do that after I fell, and I should have. I will next time.
I have a great bruise. Our barn owner said we should take a picture of it and put it on the barn’s website. “Yes, you too can learn to ride a horse in your fifties and you can have your own big purple butt to prove your success!!”
I’d like to think there’s a lesson in here for the Wubby.
But the difference, and it’s a big one, is this: when you fall off the horse, you have to WANT to get back on.