To Everybody Who Helped Me That Summer:
It’s been almost two years since the one and only time I chose to not to get back on the horse but instead go to the hospital. It was a weird day and it had been a weird spring overall. My coming three year-old was kinda out of control, she had always been such a good baby that I hadn’t really figured out I needed to discipline her quite yet. I got on that day, Tana started bucking, and I lost the battle.
I ended up on the ground in the arena, face and head filled with dirt, and no memory of the accident just happening. After a couple of hours in the Ellensburg ER, my Mom and Brother came to pick me up, and took me home. For a week I sat and felt sorry for myself and through part of it was probably going to quit riding. For a few days I wanted to give my horse away. After I realized the hair I lost would grow back and my black eyes would eventually go away, I picked up the pieces and decided I was going to figure it out. My Mom told me that she and my Dad would support me in whatever I chose, Mike called me and said, “we’ll figure it out.” Kylee offered to ride Tana because I was still scared out of my mind.
Throughout the next weeks people told me to give up on her, sell her, trade her, buy something that doesn’t buck. As a three year-old this was the first time she had bucked, she had never done anything I would classify as “bad,” and overall had been a pretty good filly. Some people told me she was a reject and would never amount to anything. Then there were the people who told me, things happen, young horses buck, it was all going to work out. I cried a lot to my best friend and went back and forth about what I wanted to do. She literally listened to everything I said and would tell me all my options and then some. She told me not to listen to everyone who told me to give up because deep down she knew that I shouldn’t listen to everybody and give up. I finished the quarter and came home for summer to figure it out.
It had been three weeks and my Mom said one day, “if you aren’t going to ride her then you need to get rid of her.” So that Saturday my Mom ponied me on a trail ride and of course Tana did just fine. I have no clue why I was less scared to ride her through the woods than in the arena but I was. My friend Kylee rode her the following Monday and she didn’t even act like she had ever blown up before. When it came down to it, I wasn’t scared to ride her in general, I was scared to get on her. Kylee made me get off, get on, get off, get on. That entire summer my Mom took me to the barn everyday and made me ride, even on days I didn’t want to, by August I went on my first ride by myself. By September I was confident to go back to school, with Tana in tow.
As the summer came to a close and I was back in Ellensburg riding everyday without my Mom. I realized that entire summer was a mental battle. I had to mentally fight with myself everyday not to be scared. I had went back to my Mom lounging me on a line while I rode because mentally I needed that. I took Casey with Tana everywhere because I thought she would protect me. Did she protect me? Sure she did. But did I need her? No. The entire summer was a mental battle, a mental battle I won. I won this battle because my Mom made me ride everyday, Linda picked me up and took me to barrel races even when I didn’t want to go, she would stand in the corner while I scaredly trotted circles, Kylee made me get on even when I didn’t want to and was there to hold Tana when I got on. She would tell me over and over that she didn’t like crying, so I wasn’t allowed to cry.
That summer wasn’t easy. Did I want to give up some days? Sure, I thought it would be easier but I had put a year and a half into this filly so I thought I owed her one summer. Has she ever bucked again? Nope, not one time. Has she grown up a lot? Yeah, she has. Does she still have bad days where I decide it’s not worth the fight? Yeah of course she does, she’s a horse. I wouldn’t trade not giving up on her, it taught me a lot. Horses in general have taught me a lot. I learned to be tough and giving up isn’t always worth it. If you broke your leg would you just give up walking ever again? No you wouldn’t and you would surely hope that your friends wouldn’t give up on you. Last night I was loping and thinking about how blessed I am. How I learned so much from that summer and realized those few months made me a much better horsewoman.
XOXO Happy Riding