Thursday, September 13, 2012

Forward, One Step at a Time

It’s one of life’s most cliche lessons that size isn’t everything. I’ve learned that multiple times with respect to my own body, but it applies to so many other things as well. Even horses. Espesically horses.

Sydney is small for a horse, around 15.2 hands (just four inches away from being a pony). It’s only thanks to his ample girth that my legs aren’t too long to fit on him. Through the years of competing against huge Thoroughbreds and warmbloods, this was an occasional source of frustration as we continually struggled to make his shorter stride cover the distance in the right number of strides. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because I knew I could trust his natural agility (despite his heavy build) to get us out of any situation his natural laziness jumped us into. He was always so cute as he tried his heart out, never “stepping” over the fences in bad form. When you’re small, you have to lift your knees to get over that jump!

So, he’s small for a horse, but plenty big for me. In fact, in comparison to Peter he’s downright huge. And yet, while I have been consistently riding Sydney for about a month now, I had yet to throw a leg over “Midge.”

Months after my bucking-pony incident, my finger and pelvis are (mostly) as good as new. Unfortunately my mind hasn’t kept pace. Sure, it’s less distance to fall from a pony, but the fact remains that said distance was still far enough to do plenty of damage. And, being four years old and just green-broke, Peter is much less predictable than a 17-year-old Quarter Horse.

I’ve been making excuses for a while. It’s windy, I’m tired, I can feel something in my back, Zoe rode him two days in a row.... But really, I was afraid to risk falling off again.

But I finally took that risk. It was hot yesterday, with only a light breeze, Zoe was riding so I wouldn’t be alone, and all the dogs were safely inside instead of milling around underfoot and thrashing around in the tall weeds next to the ring waiting to send midget ponies off on bucking sprees. So I decided to suck it up and ride.

And...nothing happened. Well, aside from not being able to steer very well. ;) Peter has yet to figure out exactly why that is such an important skill, anyway. We only walk/trotted with about ten steps of cantering, but still. It was a victory.

Which puts me one step further along the road to full recovery--body and mind. Because that’s another one of life’s cliched lessons: sticks and stones can break your bones, but they’ll heal. It’s the scars you can’t see that linger.
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