Something happened the other day. I was riding Annie, my excitable mare. Our training was going so well. Ever since the show we've improved steadily, to the point where I was playing with the idea of jumping again. Just little cross rails, nothing big. Happily cantering around the ring, I was thinking how fabulously she felt, how much like flying! Out of nowhere she bolted out of my hands. I thought I had her when she spooked again and that did it, it was time to bale. Out of the saddle and onto the ground – Bam!
Flat on my back I let others in the ring make sure Annie was OK. I just lay there in the dirt like you’re supposed to, waiting for my breathing to return to something approaching normal. I knew I had hit the back of my head. I had a good helmet on but you shouldn’t take anything for granted when the fall is hard.
I’ve fallen a lot. Riding requires falling. There is no avoiding it. Annie is sweet but not what you would call bomb-proof. This fall wasn’t my worst, I’d rank it second to the worst. So I lay on the ground, looking up at the sky, assuring my trainer that I could breathe and respond appropriately to her questions. Slowly I moved my hands, arms and legs, everything in working order. Then I rolled over and got up.
Walking around a little, all I could think of was, ‘I’m going to have a headache’ and getting back on. I had to get back on. Why? There wasn’t anything to prove. No one would think less of me if I didn’t.
I’m not sure I know even now. I think it has something to do with not wanting to live with fear. I did not want to be afraid of my horse, afraid that I didn’t have the skills to handle her, of knowing it could happen again. There's a reason why 'getting back on the horse' is a saying for not letting the fear get the best of us.
So I gathered Annie's reins, got back in the saddle (Ouchy! My butt hit the ground, too.) and under the watchful eyes of my trainer we walk-trotted with some degree of grace to end the lesson reasonably intact, body and mind.
When you’re sore, getting back in the saddle seems like more work than it’s worth. It’s not. Thanks for the reminder to persevere even when it’s uncomfortable.
Yes, Sheryl. You put what I was hoping to convey very well. Thanks.