My love of horses started very early. I was around 3 when Annie Appaloosa came into my life. She was my first horse. I was young but I remember meeting her, I remember brushing, visiting and riding her. I also remember falling off of her.
It’s probably one of my most vivid childhood memories and it was terrifying. I won’t go into details because it’s not a fun memory and I got pretty banged up. But…..within days of the accident my parents put me back on my horse. They knew that if I didn’t get back on I could be afraid of horses and riding for the rest of my life. Getting me back in the saddle after such a fall was one of the greatest gifts they could give me. Sounds crazy right? But hear me out.
If they had chosen to keep me “safe” by not getting back on, it would have prevented me from enjoying one of my favorite pastimes and altered part of my personality. I would have missed out on a childhood filled with bareback riding on my second horse, as well as volunteering with special needs children and adults at a therapeutic riding center in high school. I wouldn’t have joined my college equestrian team. There would not have been a celebration when my daughter wanted to take riding lessons or cheering when she learned to canter. I would have missed afternoons like yesterday where I went on a trail ride with my two big kids. We spent 3 hours grooming and riding horses while laughing and taking in the beauty of the outdoors. A lifetime of horse related memories would not exist if I hadn’t gotten back on that horse 40 years ago.
That fall could have not only defined my relationship with horses, it could have changed how I handled all of life’s challenges from that point forward. If we try anything new or take any chances we will all reach a point where a challenge creeps up. Sometimes little challenges, sometimes mighty falls. We can’t live a life where we are afraid to fall. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not glad that I fell, it wasn’t a great thing but the choices that were made after the fall are where the lessons were learned. It’s what we do when things don’t go smoothly, our reactions to the less than desirable circumstances that matter. Are you going to give up after the first attempt or are you going to get up and try again?
This year as you are out there chasing your dreams, starting new jobs, becoming the healthiest version of yourself, make sure you get back up when you fall. Try again, get back in the saddle. I promise you will be glad you did.
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