Horses and I have a longstanding misunderstanding of each other.
My first time on a horse was in Hilton Head around the age of 2, and all I did was sit on it with my parents standing by. I only know this because there is a picture to prove it. They tell me nothing happened that day, but I have a feeling I may have been dropped into a pile of manure later, because there is no other explanation for my horse fear at such a young age.
At age 5, I got back in the saddle and was walked in a circle around the arena. The horse bit the women who was walking us in a circle. It wasn’t like a little bite either, it hurt her, and we went back to switch horses, though I obviously refused to get on a new horse. I hope my parents got their $2 back.
Then at age 9, I was on a Girl Scouts trip where we went horse back riding. I told the man I had a bad experience with horses, and was very scared and to give me the nicest horse. He was obviously a very sick, twisted man, because he gave me the only jet black horse whose name was something like Revenge, Lightning or Meany. I just remember it was something ridiculous that was not a good omen. Though I probably didn’t use the word omen at nine. Once on the trail, my horse continually went wayyyy off the path, until I finally had to get on my leader’s horse with her. This horse then tried to buck us off.
I vowed that day to never ride a horse again.
That lasted about 5 years, when we were in Australia and my parents planned a horse trip through the mountains. I’m not sure how they convinced me to go, because I’m pretty sure I kept saying “no, nope, not going, leave me behind, NO”. Somehow I was tricked into getting on the biggest horse I’ve ever seen, and off we went. The trip went okay, except my mom’s horse kept biting my horse’s butt, really pissing it (and me) off. Then at the end my horse decided to gallop home with me screaming on it’s back.
So at age 14 I vowed again I would NEVER ride again. And this time I was serious. We just don’t see eye to eye. They can sense my fear, and I can’t control my fear.
But I actually really like horses (with a sturdy fence between us). I used to wake up early to feed the horses across the street while waiting for the bus. I also really enjoyed taking photographs of them, and think they are strange, beautiful creatures.
So while on our girls trip to Nashville this weekend, I was trying to think of something to do on our last day, and brought up going to my uncle’s to ride horses. I figured no one would notice if when it was my turn on the horse, I was off in a barn snuggling a cat.
Before I could avoid the horses, we had farm chores to do. First, we filled the tractor with day old buns, then drove up the hill to feed the cows, who were very impatiently waiting and mooing. Then, of course feeding the kitties. After that, up to the pond to feed the catfish.
Finally it was time for our horse lesson. The horse whisperer, Kelly, hopped on Junior and showed us how to communicate with the horse through our bodies.
Who knew it was such a science and more than just having the horse following the horse in front of it. It seemed easy from watching – have the horse look left, lift left foot, press with right.
I faced my rediculous fear and completly ungracefully hopped on Junior. But once on him, it was like learning to ride a bike for the first time. I had to keep reminding myself what to do, and every once in a while stop and have a conversation with Junior about how things were working with us.
Even though I was shakin’ in my boots, I had a great time, I even asked Junior to trot a little (slowly). I’ll definitely be going back.
Don’t worry, even though I was having a blast with Junior, I made sure to make time to snuggle with the cat on the hay stacks.
xo Cowgirl ZZ
Update: Just realized this is #13 on my Bucket List that I now get to check off the list. Go me!
Also, if you’re in the Nashville area, check out the whisperer,Kelly at Horse Corner Farm.