Sorry for the radio silence. I took a spill off my horse last week, bopped my head pretty hard, and was told by a doctor I had a mild concussion. Needless to say, blogging was out for a bit. Pun intended. I felt like I was in a dream state for several days – which was totally bizarre.
The good news is I’m back in the saddle. Literally. Here are Savez and I warming-up at our local show this past weekend, five days after our fall. She was great, although I was not quite myself.
IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…
Our show was interesting. Savez and I correctly jumped our first course, but the second and third courses were another story. On round two, we trotted into the ring and picked up the canter. As we approached the first jump, I started to feel woozy and could not remember which jump was actually the first. So I just started circling like a complete idiot. Riders, trainers, and what felt like everyone and their brother, were watching. I could see my trainer in the distance shaking her head like, “what the %#&! are you doing?” I trotted away from the jumps and was excused from the ring. My third round was a repeat of my second genius performance, with the exception that I had a few nice lines then totally blanked out again. At this point, I knew my brain was not where it was supposed to be, which left me feeling frustrated.
As Savez and I walked out of the arena, my trainer confirmed this failure was all me, and had nothing to do with my horse. Duh. Negative voices started whirling around in my head and I wanted to give up. I had to dig deep and remember the very same advice I tell my kids: always give it your best and don’t give up, no matter what obstacles get in your way. Ugh, for some reason my own advice suddenly sounded annoying. Feeling negative felt much easier. I walked back to the barn, untacked Savez, gave her a snack, and regrouped in a chair outside her stall.
A bottle of cold water and a cheap taco later, I re-tacked Savez and we went out to complete our remaining flat classes. She was obedient and we both did well. I’m glad I didn’t toss in the towel that day. I had to push past the feeling of failure and keep going.
WE ALL MUST FALL…
Last week was the first time I was unseated off my mare in our three years of riding. But as any equestrian knows, a fall is just a matter of time. Thankfully it was a safe one. We were cantering in the arena and she suddenly spooked along a tree line and shot out like a bolt of lightening. It was fast but at the same time felt like slow motion. One stirrup lost. Then the next. I tried to reach down to grab her mane as a last resort, but no luck. It was at this moment she took a hard left. I almost hung on, but physics won and I popped off her back like a cork. I don’t remember much, except flying over her neck, hitting my head really hard, then seeing four hooves above me. I thought, “oh crap, she’s going to break every bone in my body.” But she didn’t step on me. The wind was knocked out of me and everything hurt – mainly my back and head.
We looked kind of like this.
After I ate the dirt, Savez just stood there looking at me. She was like “oh, my bad. But did you see that fire-breathing monster in the bushes!?!??”
My trainer brushed the red dirt off my back then gave me a leg up to climb back on. I felt seriously out-of-it, which is probably why I wasn’t afraid to ride her right away. I have zero memory of riding her after the crash.
IT’S HOW YOU GET UP…
One of the many things I love about riding (aside from the joy of loving/caring for a horse) is that it forces you to face your fears when things get too uncomfortable or simply don’t go your way. No time for excuses or weenying out, you have to just ride through it. Much like life. Honestly – how many times do things go exactly “our way?” Sometimes we fall and have to get right back up. Riding is great practice for how best to deal with the bucks and kicks of life. It also helps develop discipline, patience, leadership, and the ability to “carry on” despite staring eye-to-eye at a challenge that feels much bigger than you. These habits can’t help but trickle into personal life and influence the way to handle the day to day, which is never perfect. Whether it’s overcoming a fear, pursuing a hard-to-reach goal, raising kids, or just hanging in there during a challenge. Riding is a great teacher for pushing through it all with grace and perseverance. I’m grateful for my horse and thankful for last week’s challenges in my riding life. It built some character. I leave with one of my favorite horse quotes…
“Three choices in life:
give up, give in,
or give it all you’ve got.”