No Such Thing as a Cowardly Cowgirl

January 19, 2009
Frustrated, I climb off of Lace, my horse. I feel my father's penetrating stare. I lower my head and hold Lace's reins as I walk up to the barn to put her in her stall.
"Where do you think you're going?" I hear my father ask. I stopped walking and felt tears swell in my eyes. I take a deep breath and swallow before I turn to face him.
"I can't do it, Daddy," I say. "I can't ride her."
He sighs and saunters over to me, looking me straight in the eye. You coward, I curse myself. He bends down so that we are eye level.
"You can't ride?" he asks coldly. I shake my head no and stare down at my riding boots. He narrows his eyes and takes Lace's reins from me.
"How long have you lived on this ranch?" he asks, knowing perfectly well the answer to that question. "My whole life, Daddy," I answer.
"And how many times have you ridden Lace here?" he continues. "Never," I reply, as my voice breaks.
"Now, do you ever want to be able to ride her?" he questions, knowing the answer to that question also. "Of course," I say. A wipe tear from my cheek as I look into his eyes. He hands her reins back to me and commands for me to get back on.
I climb back up into her saddle without protesting. I hitch Lace's reins and she starts to trot. I sniffle, trying to keep my nose from running.
"There you go," Daddy encourages me. I pull back the reins and she stops abruptly, standing only on her hind legs. I wiggle backward and grip the reins, trying not to fall off. She puts down her front legs then, jerking me forward. I shift all of my weight backward, determined to stay on.
Lace settles down as I steady myself. I climb off of Lace and hold her reins. Daddy comes rushing over to me and gives me a high five.
"I knew you could do it, darlin'," he says. I smile, knowing that I couldn't have done it without his help.

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