That line about how you need to get back on the horse and try again after you fall never really had any meaning to me. I’ve rattled off that old cliche plenty of times when describing the need to keep going after failing at something, but since I’ve never been a horse rider, I didn’t exactly know what I was talking about. Is it hard to get back on a horse after you’ve fallen off?
Laina might tell you yes. She fell off a horse at her lessons the other day and I’m so glad I wasn’t there to see it. Apparently as they were practicing weaving in and out out of poles, Laina steered the horse she was riding (Chocolate) a little too close and the pole fell down…startling Chocolate. Chocolate took off, Laina fell off, and because Laina had a death grip on the reigns she didn’t actually let go right away and was drug a few feet. Whoops a daisy!
I got back to the arena just in time to see Laina back on the horse, but clearly whimpering. When she saw me she completely broke down. And because I’m the mother and I’m weak, I had to fight myself to just step back and allow her to keep going when everything in me wanted to scoop her up and tell her enough was enough and she could be done for the day. Her instructor seemed to think otherwise and encouraged Laina to go back to the poles and weave Chocolate in and out again.
“Okay Laina you need to tell her to go…you need to tell her it’s okay. She sees that pole right there and she thinks it’s scary, but you’re in charge and you have to show her it’s not scary…”
But Laina just sat there whimpering.
“Laina, Chocolate needs you to take her through the poles again tonight or she’s always going to be afraid of them. She’s always going to think they’re scary. If we let her quit tonight and don’t calm her fears, then she’s going to be afraid again the next time she sees the poles and she might startle again. We don’t want that to happen right? You need to tell her to go…”
And they stood there in that corner, instructor giving a pep talk to a scared girl on a scared horse with a scared mom looking on and I swear everything she was saying about helping the horse face her fears was actually all for Laina. She needed to finish her lessons being in charge again and feeling confident in her horse or who knows if she’d ever want to get back in the saddle again.
And with a deep breath, Laina pushed her horse forward, through, and around all of the scary poles again and again, until Chocolate’s ears no longer turned back in fear and Laina no longer whimpered. Phew!
I learned something about myself that night as well. I’m such a rescuer and just look how capable and confident these kids can be if we just expect it of them.
Now…since that lesson has been adequately learned by all, I’ll be fine not to learn it again thanks.
STAY ON THE HORSE LAINA!