Much like Ava, as a child and even now, I have a great love and sense of compassion for animals and especially horses. I started riding when I was pretty much Ava’s age. In the years that I rode, I’ve been thrown, kicked, bitten, head-butted and managed to stay on the back or a horse, rodeo style, during a horse fight. Each of those incidents on their own were pretty scary. The scariest and most painful, was having my face trampled.
It took me a long time to get over the face trampling incident.
But you accept when you participate, that getting hurt it par for the course. They say you have to fall 7 times to call yourself a rider. Well, if that’s true, then I’m a rider, multiple times over.
I’ve been back in the saddle for just under a month now and progressing nicely and I have loved every minute of it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s damn hard work, I spend the first few days of each new week barely able to walk. My inner thighs so sore, I have to hold in a scream each time I sit down. It’s a sweaty work out. It gets my heart racing and it makes me feel alive!
Maybe a little too alive.
The thing is, since I started riding again, I hadn’t really given much thought to getting hurt. I knew, signing up for this, it was a possibility. But on Saturday, as approached my first cross bar jump in more than 30 years, I was suddenly very afraid. As I was trotting towards the jump, preparing my light seat, leaning forward and gripping with my thighs, the possibility of falling became a reality. Basically, I shat my rods, or in this case, jods! I did it, I was terrified doing it, but I did it. And it was amazing and fun and exhilarating and terrifying all at once.
For those of you who don’t know, this is a cross bar jump – basically a little teeny, tiny jump that made me leave skiddies in my jods:
Then it was Ava’s turn. Her first ever attempt at a cross bar jump. It didn’t go well and the reality set in for me…..
Her pony tripped over the cross bar, fell forwards on it’s knees and she literally catapulted over it’s head, landing, in a perfect headstand and then flipping over backwards. I literally watched it happen in slow motion….. it took every ounce of my self control not to scream and run into the arena. To let her instructors put her in the recovery position and handle the situation. It was scary AF!
Get back on the horse!
Both figuratively and literally, that’s what they had Ava do. And within 5 minutes she was back on and doing her thing. Granted, she was teary and scared, but she did it.
But here’s the thing….
I’m kinda terrified now. The reality has sunk in proper, I am going to fall too! I am going to tumble a number of times and I’m bloody scared. Falling off a horse is very different at 44 years old to falling off a horse at 6 years old. Watching my child take a fall like that was scary. A part of me, a small part, wants to discourage her, but I realize I can’t wrap her in cotton wool and protect her from the world and she’s just as likely to hurt herself riding her bike as she is riding a horse. It’s also not the first time she’s fallen, this is her third fall.
Three down, 4 to go….
Now I understand why my mom never watched me horse ride! I literally shook for a few hours after her fall on Saturday. I think I am more affected by it than she is.
I knew going into this, it’s not a sport for sissies and to be honest, I’m kinda scared for next Saturday but I’m also such a numb skull and I’ve spent a fortune on jods, boots and chaps (which, I proudly wore to my lesson on Saturday on the wrong legs – luckily I don’t embarrass easily!) so there is no way I’m giving up now!