True Lessons are Learned

December 20, 2007
What a great transition up! I thought to myself when suddenly everything went blurry and the world seemed to be flying all around me. I tensed every muscle in my body. Yetza, the horse I was riding, felt me tense up and freaked out even more. Yetza was a Friesian, one of the most beautiful horse breeds in the world. Every horse-lover dreams of riding one. On most days, I would be honored to be riding him, but today was not a good day.

Terror screamed up and down through my body. I didn’t know what to do. In fact, I had no clue what to do. I thought I was going to fly off.

“TURN HIS HEAD!” I woke up from my daze and tuned into what just happened in the last ten seconds. My riding instructor, Steph, was yelling at me to tip Yetza’s head into the inside and get more weight in my outside reign. I took a moment to process what she had said. Lucky for me, she was there. If I had been by myself, I would’ve been to Australia by now.

I let my muscles relax, turned his nose to the inside, and tugged on the outside reign. It took every ounce of courage in my body not to cry. I came to a slow halt. I sat for a few moments to collect my thoughts. I took deep breaths.

“Good job,” Steph told me calmly. I felt accomplished and satisfied with myself. I was half congratulating myself for not falling off and half for not crying. You’re ok, I said over and over. I took more deep breaths and then continued to ride like it didn’t happen. I wasn’t exactly having the best day, and I could tell that Yetza wasn’t either. It’s not the best combo to have while riding, but it does happen every once in awhile. It’s just something you have to face through your riding years; we can’t always be perfect.

It happened three more times until Steph just told me to get off. Thank you! I thought. In a way, I was relieved. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to keep riding, but I was scared. Fear was everywhere around me. I carefully lifted my foot over the saddle and stepped down. I was scared and I just kept trying not to cry. Steph lunged him for awhile and he calmed down a bit, but we both agreed that I should just stay off for the rest of the day. I took Yetza back, un-tacked him, and let him cool down. After he was cool, I let him go in the field. I sat there watching him nibble on the grass for a couple minutes and I realized that even if he threw all that nasty stuff at me, I would still love him and I’d still ride him. We all have our bad days, including horses.

After that day, I learned what dressage really was about. Having the courage to get back on and keep going. The lesson isn’t in the result; it’s in the ride to the result.

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