Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ride On

This says L-O-V-E to me.

I've always loved animals. Especially horses.

See, I could get down on their level. Really identify with the animals.

One time, I even tried to save a little blind mole from an unfortunate, and ultimately fatal, encounter with one of our cats.

I lost. (I'm scarred from that one.)

I grew up riding horses. (I use the term "grew up" loosely, because I didn't actually have horses, my grandparents did. So I spent a lot of time around them. Plus, I took riding lessons for years. And even though I just spent the last 30 minutes of my time looking through old pictures, I cannot seem to find a single one of me on a horse, but I know they exist. Honestly.)

So I was super excited to get a Groupon for a local stable that offers trail rides on rescue horses. I'll go whenever I get the chance, which is somewhere around once or twice a year. (Someone, please let me come riding with you. You won't regret it. I promise.)

Guess who my lucky riding partner was?

My daughter.

Guess who was only marginally excited about going on a trail ride with her mother?

My daughter.

I walked into the stable on Sunday, a mix of sawdust, hay and horse filling my nose. I breathed deep. I belong here.

She, on the other hand, walked in, took one look around, and said quietly to me, "I'm not going."

Um. It took us an hour to get here, and I'm not just going to turn around and leave.

I was convinced that she would get on that horse and be just fine.


It was written all over that poor girls face. She would not even touch the animals. So when I got on my horse (Jake), I was actually kind of afraid that we would have to leave her behind. I weighed the choices in my head. Give in to fear, get off my horse, and leave. Or, terrify the girl, make her get on, and have a miserable time. Or, stay on my horse, go on my trail ride, and leave her in the barn with a bunch of (nice) people she didn't know.


The mom and daughter team who own the barn and the rescue horses needed to get the trail ride going, as they had them scheduled on the hour every hour on Sunday. Our ride was scheduled at 2. And by 3:00, my daughter was still refusing to get on that horse, so the mom and daughter said to leave her and they would take care of her.

It felt very weird to just leave her in a situation I knew she wasn't comfortable with with people she didn't know. But I had a decision to make, and I went with it.

I saw her standing by the barn in the distance, easily identifiable in her bright pink jacket, riding helmet still on her head.

Had she been standing there the whole time?

"I got on the horse, mom!"

No words needed. She did it!

Fear. It can paralyze us, assuring our hearts that we aren't strong enough. It keeps us company when we are lonely and beats us up when we are feeling low.

What makes you scared?

You are stronger than you think.

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