This is my great grandmother Mamie atop of Genevieve back in the days of yore.
I like horses but I can’t say that I’m a horse person, not being a horse owner or rider. But I did love the horseback riding activities back in the day when I was a Girl Scout. My younger sister loved horses so much she found an afterschool job in a local stable mucking out stalls just so she could be around them. I remember a time that the two of us being in our teens and old enough to drive went to a stable out in the hills for a weekend ride. She was a brash young thing and mounted her horse then took off straight away. The horse I was given, they said, was older and mellow. I think they sensed my timid spirit.
The duration of that ride was really quite brief. We headed towards the hills but first had to navigate a willy-nilly unmarked parking lot of sorts. Without much control or clear direction from me, my horse started trotting and weaving in and out of the parked cars, gradually picking up speed. Lacking a better suggestion from me my horse was on it’s own to make choices and it chose unwisely. At the speed it was going and me, not controlling the ride at all, the horse sped in between two cars that were parked at odd angles to each other. He freaked out, reared up, and threw me off resulting in a fractured tailbone. The poor horse had to deal with an ill-trained rider and honestly my tailbone pain could only be blamed on my lack of experience and not on this older mellow fellow.
In hindsight I saw that I reacted out of fear and, with a sense of helplessness, had pulled back way too tightly on the reins perhaps inflicting pain I did not intend. That’s what a bit in a horse’s mouth is about after all. Control. This was a moment that would have been avoided by an experienced rider with the knowledge and training of how to control a much larger and more powerful creature using wisdom —without causing pain.
But lessons can be learned when pain is involved. In this instance, the horse learned not to trust me. And my own tailbone taught me that to know better is to do better. Ah, training is valuable if we’re to do well in life. And reflection can be a beautiful and transformative thing.