|||||proud of myself||]|
When I was a kid I was short and skinny. Very short and very skinny. My dad decided that my body type makes me ideal for riding a horse and, since he's got a deep love for horses, but could not ride anymore himself (due to various injuries), I would be the horse rider in the family. At that time he owned a horse, a beautiful mare called Noor (light or flame in Arabic), and on Saturday mornings we would go to the stable and I had lessons. I don't know how many lessons I had; I blocked them out.
I blocked them out because one Saturday morning, while little me is on the back of this huge animal, something spooked Noor. We were in the rink, walking around, and she got spooked. She started galloping, at full speed, with little me clinging to the reins and stirrups. I was trying to get her to slow down, using words and my body, yelling in my fear. Nothing. I think I was as much of an influence as a fly would have been. She tore up the hill, which I remember as rocky, and I could do nothing.
That was the end of my horse riding career. I stopped the lessons and, while maintaining a strong appreciation for horses, their beauty and strength, I refused to get back on one of them.
As some people know I have quite the fascination with the "Old West", especially the Gold Rush. I have read and studied about it, I have a thing for memorabilia and artifacts of cow boy/girls, pioneers, prospectors. I've tried panning for gold (Ow, back pain) and eating acorns (ugh, bitter unless prepared right). I've studied and learned a lot of the California Native American history and culture (especially those of the sierra Nevada). I'm writing a novel set in the 1850s. You'd think all this would make me want to ride horses, right? It does, but the experience with Noor has made it too difficult.
Until this week. That's right. It took me 32 years, but I finally got back on the horse.
While we were at Yosemite, the girls and I went for a horse-back trail ride. I figured the horses at the Yosemite stables would be just about the tamest, most mellow horses on the planet; they'd have to be to do this job. And I was right. My horse did not do anything unexpected or unpredictable, did not start running for reasons I couldn't fathom, let me control her when I needed to (though I didn't need to much, she knew the trail way better than I did). My girls were great, asking if I'm ok every once in a while. I admit to nervousness a few times, when we first started, when the horse moved for the first time, and when we were going some steep parts of the trail, but overall I was fine. I enjoyed it! I'd be willing to try another ride, though i don't know how adventurous I can be just yet,
Getting past traumas CAN happen. Whew!