We have to go back 11 years when my husband and I were just dating. He'd shown me the basics a few times and he was confident I would be fine on a short ride outside of the stables. It was a very tame horse that never had issues. We weren't far from the stables when a big truck passed by and pulled his horn. Now, before you think this was some sort of warning that we were in the way or something of that nature, he was on the opposite side of the street and a very wide median was between us. Needless to say, that loud noise spooked the horse I was riding and her immediate response was to gallop away aimlessly.
I wish I could tell you that my then boyfriend swung into action and came to my rescue by chasing after us on his horse, jumping on and reigning her in to a complete stop. I wish I could tell you that. Truth is, I think he was in shock by it all and it took him two to three seconds to start yelling, "Pull the reigns, pull the reigns!" I did, just before she ran in front of a car.
I didn't pick up riding after that incident like he hoped I would. I've been on horses a few times since then, all for about 10 minutes or less, and sometimes with him leading the horse on a rope ...
Determined to get me back in the saddle again, especially since our daughter absolutely loves "riding horsey", he encouraged me to just get on the horse and ride around in the riding pen. Ride around in a fenced in circle, with a diameter of about 20-25 feet? That shouldn't be too hard! I agreed and got on the horse.
I told him one the stirrups was uncomfortable so he decided to adjust it. While he was adjusting it the horse moved forward. I said, "Whoa", and the horse stopped. A few seconds later the horse lunged forward, "Whoa!", I said to no avail. As my husband tried to calm him down, he yelled to me, "Pull the reigns!" The more he yelled it, the harder I pulled and the more the horse was lunging forward. I'm not quite sure what happened, but I felt myself about to fall off the horse. I don't know if I called myself trying to jump off or if I actually fell. All I do know is that I ended up on the ground and I was standing on both feet (hubby says he caught me as I fell - I honestly just don't remember at all!).
I started yelling at my husband, "That's it! I'm officially done!" He began encouraging me to get on the horse again. My leg was hurt, my pride was hurt, and I was still jittery. There was no way I was getting back on the horse again.
We stayed around the stables a little longer, cleaning the stall and feeding the horses. I began thinking to myself, "Am I ever going to get on a horse again? Really?" I've had two incidents and pulling the reigns just doesn't seem to work for me. I tried visualizing myself on a horse confidently riding. I tried telling myself that if I wanted to keep encouraging my daughter I needed to do it for her sake. I had past conversations rambling in my head about spending quality time with my husband while we ride together.
I'm still not convinced to get back in the saddle again and I've decided IT'S OKAY!
I don't have to force myself to do something that is uncomfortable that would basically be a hobby. Yes, my family enjoys riding but right now I can continue enjoy watching them. I don't need to actually be on a horse to encourage our daughter (and she enjoys it so much she actually doesn't need any encouragement at all). I can utilize different opportunities to spend quality time with my husband. And eventually, when I feel comfortable again I will venture into getting back in the saddle again.
Just not today.
And probably not the day after that either.
I have owned a dog even though at 4 years old I was bitten by one, I took a picture with a baboon that could have dragged me off a cliff, and I jumped off a bridge into a river with alligators near by (story for another day). I think it's probably okay for me to hold off on conquering horseback riding for a little while longer!
Truth is, I have a bad habit of beating myself up over things in which only God's grace can abound. So, there's no use in allowing myself to be caught up in stressing myself out unnecessarily, or forcing something that I'm just not ready for yet. In the grand scheme of things, this is just not an issue I need to tackle right now. It isn't a spiritual issue. It isn't going to further my relationship with Jesus - so it's okay.
So, honey and loving adorable daughter I will be with you and rooting for you every step of the way - for now, it will just have to be from the "sidelines"!
Just Around the Corner,