Monday, September 12, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For (For 37 Years)

I may have mentioned that I have a "bucket list", and I've had one before they were popular or even referred to as "bucket lists". I accomplished one of the things on my bucket list today.

My list is very prosaic compared to one of my friend's lists. She wants to do things like live in another country. I want to do things like learn to swim (which I tried - unsuccessfully - in my 20s); learn to skate backward (which I tried last year but have not quite perfected); learn to play piano; learn a foreign language; and I've always wanted to learn to ride a horse.

When I was a young girl, there was a neighbor girl who had been riding her horse (a beautiful white horse named Wendy) when a crop dusting plane spooked the horse and dragged and killed her. That incident gave my parents all the ammunition they needed to shoot down my requests for riding lessons.

Flash forward 37 years. I had mentioned to my husband that I had always wanted riding lessons. So, my darling husband bought the kids and I two lessons each at a local horse stable. I made the appointment for the first lessons, and the kids and I arrived at the horse arena this afternoon. I was so excited, I was almost giddy. I watched the lessons before us, and I was beside myself with excitement when it came our turn for lessons.

The kids had very gentle smaller young ponies. I had Nick. The trainer had pulled Nick into the arena just for me. He was not happy. He kept jerking his head back and forth. He refused the trainer's peppermint treats. He had a wild look in his eyes. By the grace of God, I was able to get him saddled and get on him just fine. The problem was that Nick refused to move when I would cluck and nudge him gently in his sides. He wanted to put his head down and make a "whinny" sound. I got him to walk around the arena. I worked on my posture, my place in the hunt saddle, the position of my feet and where I was looking. Nick did nothing but fight me the entire way. I tried to get him to trot. He trotted up to a mirror on the side of the arena and stopped and looked at himself. The second time I got him up to a trot, he started to take off, and I lurched forward before remembering that I had to sit back to keep my balance. I hated Nick. He kept trying to bend his head down to the ground, and I pulled back on the reins. That made him walk backward. I was so frustrated. I couldn't even get this horse to walk around the area without having problems.

At long last, the class was over, and I was able to get off Nick without any problems. The trainer helped my kids take their horses out of the arena, and I was supposed to stand in the arena with Nick. The minute the trainer was out of sight, Nick nudged me with his head. I tried to pet his head, and he almost knocked me over. I started to walk away from him, and he reached over and bit my shirt and pulled on it. I hated Nick even more.

Finally, my daughter came back in the arena and led Nick away. He followed her gently glancing back at me every once in awhile to give me a dirty look. Nick hated me right back.

We have one more lesson at the horse farm. I'm hoping to get any other horse but Nick. He should have been named Satan. I have to admire the intelligence of this horse though. He was able to see right through me and show me who has the upper hand. He stands way taller than me, and he weighs over 1,200 pounds. No doubt about it, he has the upper hand.

So, the moral of this story is not really "be careful what you wish for", but rather "try not to anticipate things so much". It's too easy to get disappointed. The other moral is that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Yet another moral is that there is almost always some SOB ready to stand between you and your dreams, and you have to learn to deal with them. I guess I got more out of these lessons than how to make a horse walk, stop and trot.

I know I have to get back in that arena and get back on that horse. I'm just hoping it's a different horse next time. If not, I'll be prepared this time.