They say that when a horse throws you, you’ve got to get right back on or you’ll never ride again. “They” say a lot of things, don’t they?
We had lots of horses and I fell off most of them. I got right back on though, and often fell off again, only to repeat the whole process.
Part of my falling off problem was my brilliant idea for making money. I would buy an untrained horse cheap, train it over the winter and sell it the following spring. This actually worked pretty well if you don’t count the wear and tear on your body, which I did not.
I once bought an Arabian filly, a pretty little bay that was supposedly “green broke.” That meant I could ride her but she didn’t yet know the finer points of horseyhood. The first day I got her I took her out for a test ride.
It was the day before Thanksgiving and the ground, with which I was about to get up close and personal, was frozen solid. It was a cold, clear, breezy day-the kind of day young horses are full of “pee and vinegar” as my Grandma used to say. I mounted up and we walked once around the ring before the other horses spotted the new filly and ran toward us from the back pasture.
This was her excuse to buck-not a little crow hop-but buck like a rodeo queen, head down between her ankles and kicking high. I hit that frozen ground hard-but then how else could you hit the frozen ground?
But you know what they say-when a horse throws you, you’ve got to get right back on. I caught her and mounted up again. A few minutes later, a piece of paper fluttered through the corral and this was her excuse to do it again. THUMP.
This time I lay on the ground for awhile looking vaguely at the frozen hoof prints all around. But you know what they say-when a horse throws you, you’ve got to get right back on. I decided to take her to the big open field next door, away from any excuses. This was working pretty well until we were coming down a steep hill and she saw a tractor way off in the distance. Headed down hill and bucking like a champ, she threw me over her head and I landed on a rock.
Don’t think I lay there in pain; not at all. It felt quite good to lie on the ground, especially compared to actually hitting the ground.
“How blue the sky is today,” I thought dreamily. “Wait-did I come here on a horse? Wow, look how blue the sky is…”
The man on the distant tractor had seen all this and drove over as fast as he could (which is not very fast on a tractor) to deal with my remains. “I never saw the sky so blue…and wait, whose face is that looking down at me?” The panicked farmer snatched me to my feet on the theory that if I could stand up, I must not be dead. “My God, are you all right?” he asked. I stupidly felt my ribs and head and yup, they all seemed to be in place. I thanked him and walked off to catch the horse.
I took a long look at the filly, then took a deep breath, put my foot in the stirrup…and stopped. You know what they say…
Who are “they” I wondered, and why do they hate me? I wanted to meet “them.” I wanted to hand them the reins and give them a leg up and watch them try to ride ride that hellion.
I did not get right back on. They were right; I never rode her again. I did, however, ride a few sane horses.
Here’s a good word-Perseverance. It means you keep trying, even if you fail at first. Like any good thing you can take it too far.
Wisdom is knowing how far.
The Magic Barn, volume one