When I was a child I loved horses. Now, not so much. My daughter loves horses. I want to warn her that any animal that can’t look you in both eyes at the same time is sure to be untrustworthy. So far I’ve kept my mouth shut.
As a kid, I read Black Beauty and followed that with a whole series of books about horses and the adventures that they caused. The most memorable was about a girl who purchased a wild horse at an auction and tamed it herself. I had visions of becoming a great horse trainer and for a brief period wanted to be a veterinarian. This was followed by an even briefer period where I wanted to be a pet psychologist. Think Horse Whisperer.
Just after high school, I talked a friend of mine into doing a trail ride with my boyfriend and I. The three of us (six if you count the four-legged companions) had a great time walking through the woods, admiring the trees and generally feeling in control. We came into a large open field. The two lead horses and presumably their riders thought this was a great time to speed up and gallop across the field.
My horse agreed.
I did not.
The horse won.
I held on for dear life. Failed. Thought if I grabbed the horse around its neck I’d have a better shot. Failed. Fell forward over the horse. Horse stepped on my arm. I lay there staring up at the sky.
I recognize this was not at all this particular horse’s fault. It was entirely my own incompetence. In fact, the horse stopped, turned around and came and stood over me sniffing to make sure I was alive. I think the horse was shocked.
Somewhere on the other side of the field, my boyfriend and my childhood friend both realized I was no longer riding behind them. They came rushing over. Once they found out that I hadn’t broken anything and that I was still in fact alive they both tried their hardest not to laugh. The hoof shaped bruise was purple for several weeks. The bruise to my ego lasted longer.
I stayed off horses until just about a year ago when my husband and my sister and my daughter all conspired and decided that a horse back ride on the beach was a really good idea. I rode with my daughter. We walked the whole time. I survived. She loved it.
My daughter recently started preschool. I asked her a couple days ago what they had done that day. She said “Mom, it was so exciting, a farmer brought horses and we got to ride them at the preschool. There were two. We had to take turns.” I”m thinking “Really? That’s impressive. I didn’t know we were at a preschool that included equestrian training. Wonder why they didn’t get a permission slip. Good thing none of the kids fell off”. When my husband got home I asked him if he knew about the horses at school. He looked at our four-year old and raised his eyebrow. She laughed and said “Oh Mom, They were pretend horses, but it was a lot of fun.”
This parenting thing is a lot like riding a horse. Slightly out of control but very exciting. Hold on baby.