I’ve been working up the emotional courage to tell my story of terror, fear, drama, and pain. This, my friends, is the story of Charlie the Angst-Ridden Horse and his quest to forcefully rid himself of an inexperienced rider. This is the story of how I was thrown from a horse…………………..
It was a beautiful day on the Horton farm, and Brian had promised to take me riding. While Brian and Cindy caught and saddled the horses, I did what any city girl would naturally do in this situation–I went to find something cute to wear. (Cuteness cannot possibly be overlooked in these types of situations.) I walked outside to meet my horse. This is me and Charlie:
Charlie and I seemed to hit if off right away. He was a gentle soul, and Brian assured me that he was the oldest and most docile horse on the farm. I was a little nervous to ride since I hadn’t ridden a horse since I was a kid. Horses are huge animals that can kick you in the face or squash you or throw you off their backs. How many Scottish novels had I read where someone ALWAYS gets maimed or killed by a horse? Too many. So, I was a little nervous. My dear husband knows how to handle a skittish horse and a skittish wife, so he handed me a brush and invited me to brush Charlie’s coat:
“Ahhh….yes…THIS I can do,” I thought to myself gleefully. So Charlie and I played “beauty salon” and I made him the most handsome horse in all of Alabama. I brushed him and said “Chaaaaaaaaaaarlieeeeeeeeee, let’s go to Candy Mountain Charlieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” about eighty times. I sang “Put a Banana in Your Ear” and other lovely ditties while we (supposedly) bonded. Charlie dozed off a couple times while I brushed him, an encouraging sign, although I was a little concerned that he might rather take a nap than carry me around the farm like a sack of potatoes. Nevertheless, I pushed my fears aside and got in the saddle:
Things were cool. Brian taught me how to steer Charlie and told me that it was all cool. The chickens gathered to watch us embark on our journey. Actually, the chickens were sneezing and causing quite a ruckus. Seriously, I didn’t know chickens sneezed either, but here is proof:
Cindy rode her horse, Austen (named after Jane Austen) who was a bit ticked about the whole riding thing. I found this picture to be a bit troubling after being told that if you see the whites of a horses’ eyes than you are in trouble:
Fortunately, Cindy is an excellent horsewoman, businesswoman, and musician and gained control of her cantankerous horse. Brian got on Bronco and prepared to take the lead like the manly man that he is. Becky, my other sister-in-law (who graciously took these photos) and the sneezing chickens sent us off on our journey.
Notice how one sits like a sack of potatoes and the other sits like a kick-butt horsewoman.
We went on a leisurely walk around the pond and the back of the farm. Brian and Cindy told me funny stories about crazy things they did as kids, and not-so-funny stories about various Hortons who were thrown off horses and seriously injured. Charlie and I plodded along quietly and I was feeling pretty good about being a horsewoman of considerable skills. The walk ended too soon, and none of us wanted to go back to the house, so Brian suggested we go on the trail through the woods. Sounded like a fun idea to me, and so we went into the woods. I found out very quickly that riding through the woods is kind of hard for an amateur. The path was narrow and there was alot of overhanging branches and debris in the way. I was still having fun though, and was enjoying the challenge, when all of the sudden Charlie reared up and deposited me on the ground like the aforementioned sack of potatoes. I was stunned, but not hurt, so Cindy yelled at me to grab the reins and get right back on the horse. I figured I should listen to her, so I did. We all kind of laughed shakily about the whole thing, told Charlie he was a dumb horse, and went on our way.
5 minutes later, we reached a part of the trail that was blocked by a fallen tree. Cindy and I waited while Brian dismounted and started to move the tree and the branches out of the way. Charlie did not like what Brian was doing, and started tossing his head and acting jittery. Just as I was about to call out to Brian to stop, Charlie went nuts and tried to turn around on the narrow trail. I tried my best to calm him down and stay on, but it was apparent that I was about to hit the ground again. I remember shouting “Help me!!!” before hitting the ground HARD.
From there it was chaos, Charlie was still freaking out, as well as Cindy’s horse who was almost standing over me. I was pretty sure that I was going to get trampled by not one but TWO horses, or at the very least get kicked in the head. I curled up in a ball and covered my face and waited to get kicked in the head. Miraculously, Cindy managed to get control of both horses, and Brian was picking me off the ground almost as soon as I fell. I cried like a baby, feeling very scared and very childish. Halfway through the crying, I realized I had a mouthful and noseful of dirt. My dignity levels soared as I alternately cried and spit mud out of my mouth. I had a nasty rope burn on my right hand and my legs felt like they had been torn off and put back on the wrong way.Brian hugged me, dusted me off, and was about to send me back to the house when Cindy spoke up and suggested that if I was willing, I should get back on the horse. She offered to lead Charlie back with me riding him so that I would get over my fear and Charlie would understand that throwing family members off his back twice in one day is not cool.
I was not thrilled, nor was I looking forward to hobbling back to the house, so I got back on. I’m glad I did, because I probably would have never gone near a horse ever again. To be honest, I was mad at Charlie. Mad, because I trusted him to carry me safely and not throw me. I was also mad because I didn’t have control over the situation, and not having control is my least favorite feeling. Alot of you are probably alot like me in that regard. Being out of control is not only scary, but extremely risky. It’s pretty hard to get kicked in the head or trampled when you are seated securely on the back of a horse.
This is an impossibly long post, so I will just summarize by telling you that it was a crazy experience, I was extremely sore afterwards, and I had some irreplaceable bonding time with Brian and Cindy. It was also a painful and memorable reminder that I’m not in control, and that God is alot more trustworthy than a seemingly gentle angst-ridden horse named Charlie.