Hanging On

“When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.” – Thomas Jefferson

Chance came very close to bucking me off today. I typically do not have many close calls. I usually stick pretty well during bronc moments, or I fall.

It was not completely his fault, really. By 10:30am, I had already had a long day. I listed a house last night, and was being bombarded with phone calls this morning. On top of that, I had technical difficulties getting the pictures online. Needless to say, I was a little tense when I arrived at the barn and I had about two thousand things on my mind apart from my ride. This is also the first really cold week we have had here in Texas this season, and he recently had a body-clip. I was not 110% focused on my riding this morning, so we were a little sloppy; I was also riding with two other people, and he has not worked with other horses much lately.

There are many reasons for his temper tantrum today…

The other horses and riders were relaxing in the middle of the ring while I was finishing up my jumping. I had to canter right by them, and well he is sometimes a little resentful when his friends finish working before him so he lost it. He bucked, reared and bucked at the same time, then started to spin once we came back to earth. I sat up tall for the buck, but leaned forward for the rear-buck. When he started to spin I fell over his right shoulder. I was leaning over it staring at the ground and I thought, “aw man I’m gonna fall.” Somehow though I caught myself on his shoulder and managed to heave myself back into the saddle. As soon as I sat up, he settled under me. Almost as if to say, “oh I thought I had you, okay fine I’ll behave.” I cautiously picked up a trot, expecting him to come unglued again while we trotted past the other horses, but he didn’t. We then cantered around a few times. He was perfectly fine.

My seat has gotten stronger lately, and perhaps all the yoga is giving me quicker reflexes! Or maybe I just did not give up today. It is often more frightening to hang on than to just fall off when horses are really losing it. Because if they really want to get us off, they will; and the longer we hang on, the harder the fall will be. How do we know that hanging on won’t make things worse? Honestly, not too long ago I probably would have given up and let myself fall. Today, though, I didn’t let go. When I was back in the saddle I did have to tell myself that it was okay and to just keep going a few times, and take a couple of deep breaths. Chance really tests my nerve. However, I feel that I am becoming less and less afraid. I am able to work through situations that I once couldn’t. I am able to hold on when just a few months ago I would have let go.

For a long time I questioned my sanity for keeping Chance in spite of all of his issues and difficult personality. Perhaps I am a little crazy. I just think that there is no perfect horse, if it is not one thing it is another. This sport is very trying at times, even scary. Sometimes all you can do hang on and hope for the best.


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