Learning to Fall

Close to where I landed on my head

PART I

I fell off of a horse today.  Quite literally, I was riding towards a jump thought things were going smoothly leaned forward just a touch as we approached the jump, the horse was cantering into it, then screeched to a halt throwing his entire body weight backwards. I went flying forwards, right over the jump, landing on my shoulder and neck right in the dirt (see above).  I truly somersaulted through the air I think.  I was so distraught.  I was riding a horse I’d never ridden before, with a new instructor I’d never trained with before, in the Grand Prix jumper ring.  I felt it was too much – when they assigned me the horse I was nervous but trusted them to know what I could handle and what I couldn’t  I was so frustrated when I fell off, and the first thing I did was blame.  I’d been having a terrible ride, because I was afraid, instead of having fun, and I felt like I’d been put in an unsafe position. That may be true, but I needed to take responsibility for my piece.  I leaned forward, and the horse took advantage of my mistake.

Then I felt completely embarrassed because I started to cry.  I told myself it happens to everyone, every once in a while.  But I still felt a bit humiliated.  I was scared, I was frustrated, a bit shell shocked and I cried.  I’m human. The trainer had probably had a similar experience before too. So I held on to that, in order not to beat myself up. I got to just do what I needed to do in that moment and let myself be. Nevertheless, I got back up and rode the fence once more and we got right over it.  I was trying to live with my heart open in that moment.

PART II (The following week…)

I got back in the saddle, and had a beautiful ride this morning with another horse who was the sweetest that could be. She was steadfast and gentle, very conscientious about her rider, and she had fun time jumping around the ring.  The only problem I had in this lesson, was that I couldn’t trust her to do her job and get me over the fence safely.  I was too badly burned from the week before to trust her entirely, and it had a negative effect on both us in the lesson today.  She wasn’t sure what she was doing wrong, and I was second guessing myself.  The ride was still great, I learned a lot and it was worlds better than the week before.  I guess the lesson for me here, was that you can’t carry over the bad experiences you have with one horse (read person) and expect every other horse (person) you encounter to treat you the same way.

So to live with my heart a bit more open this week, I’ll try to clean the slate blank for each person I encounter, each relationship I’m engaged in.  It’s not fair to bring your baggage onto the scene. before you even have a chance to build a new relationship of trust with a new person. If you fall off and get hurt that’s okay.  You know how to take good care of yourself, so you can get back on and try again.

Off for another riding adventure tomorrow.

Where we'll ride on tomorrow