I suspect that the person who coined the saying “When you fall off the horse, you have to get back on” meant right away, not 35 years later!
I didn’t actually fall off the last time I was on a horse but it was quite a ride. Early in the spring of 1977, less than a year after we were married, Richard and I were visiting his parents’ farm when we decided to take the horses, Moose and Ginger, out for a ride. They hadn’t been ridden all winter. We rode up into the hills behind the house and all went well until we turned the horses toward home. That’s when Moose, with Richard aboard, decided to pull out all the stops and head back down the muddy trail at a full gallop! Moose came by his name honestly. He was a giant of a horse and stubborn as well. There was nothing Richard could do to slow him down. When Ginger, usually a calm and gentle mare, saw Moose take off, she decided to follow suit. I was an inexperienced rider; a city girl who’d married into a farming family. I clung to the saddle horn, determined that I was not going to fall off that horse and make a complete fool of myself. Down the trail we flew with mud flying everywhere. To this day I remember the thoughts running through my mind. I couldn’t remember whether or not we’d closed the gate at the bottom of the hill. If we had, what would the horses do when they got there? I was certain that if Ginger came to a sudden stop, I’d be launched into the air and would land as a broken heap somewhere on the other side of the fence! Fortunately, the gate was open and the horses slowed to a stop as they entered the yard. I slid off and walked gingerly back to the house covered in mud but with my pride intact. I had not fallen off the horse!
It wasn’t the wild ride that kept me from ever mounting a horse again. Over the next few years, pregnancies and babies kept my feet on solid ground when I was visiting my inlaws. Time slipped by and eventually there weren’t horses at the farm anymore. The opportunity to ride just didn’t present itself again.
This summer, as we travelled into BC’s Chilcotin ranching country, I decided that the time had come to get back on a horse. I wanted to go for a trail ride and though Richard was less than enthusiastic about the idea, he agreed to go with me and to fork over the high price that they charge tourists for such activities. Unfortunately, however, the day we’d chosen was a dismal rainy one. That’s when my wise husband came up with a much better suggestion. “If you really want to get back on a horse,” he said. “Why don’t you ask Sheryl to take you riding?”
Sheryl is a long-time friend who loves riding and has her own horses. Knowing that I might not actually ask her, Richard did it for me and Sheryl readily agreed. She and I are co-leading of a group of children at Vacation Bible School this week and when this morning’s activities were over she suggested that we go riding this evening. She and her husband, Trevor, own a hobby farm not far from town. They have quite a bit of bush and pasture land that is crisscrossed with riding trails. As the sun dropped below the horizon and cooler air replaced the heat of the day, we enjoyed a peaceful ride and a great visit. It was like going for a hike without any of the effort! As the evening came to an end, I told Sheryl that I’d love to do it again sometime. I’d just better not wait 35 years this time!
Riding Willow, a gentle horse of mostly Arabian descent.