As I lie on the ground and look up at clear blue sky, I notice a few clouds, the bright sun hitting my face, and a cool August breeze. And then more importantly, I realize where I am, on the ground. I move my legs and arms to reassure myself that I am in one piece and begin to get up. I brush the dust off my legs, and spit the sand out of my mouth before my eyes start to swell. Taking my helmet off, I head towards the fence before I am stopped by two voices, “What do you think your doing?” I shot my dad a glare telling him to back off and walked towards my trainer. After minutes of arguing I was back in the saddle.
I believe getting back in the saddle is a way of learning. On the way home from the farm where we bought my new “project” horse that I planned on training to compete in arena jumping, my dad warned me, “He’s going to be hard work. You are going to want to cry and give up, but you can’t, you are going to fall off and get hurt, but you have to get back on.” I nodded, not having the slightest clue as to what I was getting myself into.
Two years later I was still, fortunately, alive and able to still ride. I had been riding for six years but nothing in the world gave me as much as an adrenaline rush as when I was jumping my horse. That rush was often interrupted by the dirt. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, until I realized that, I alone was not doing anything wrong, but we, as a team were not doing anything right. You might be thinking he’s just a horse, you get on and ride, but what you don’t know is the amount of trust you have to put into this thousand pound animal that is carrying you around. It was not until we built a trust for each other that we started to make progress.
I am not quite sure who is responsible for my belief in trust. Do I applaud my dad for his efforts to get me back in the saddle, or my horse for bucking me off every once in a while until I got the picture? I learned a life lesson in a way a lot of people did not. My trust was not broken by a broken heart, but built by a trip to the emergency room. It was not torn down by cheating and lying, but gained by a bite in the back and a kick to the shin. I believe in the scar on my back that symbolizes the trust I was too stubborn to learn. But most importantly, I believe that if you never get back in the saddle, you’ll never know what you could have learned.
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