Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Face It

I recently bequeathed my entire childhood collection of Breyer Horse models (all 17 of them, complete with tack) to my daughter. And my childhood horse book collection (go Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry!) - you couldn't tell that I'd been a little horse crazy in my day and wanted to pass it on, could you?

My diabolical plan worked, and her interest in horses was piqued. In theory at least.

A week or so ago she went with three friends to her first horse riding lesson. The kids chattered and giggled all the way there, all the time they were putting on their boots, and while strapping on their helmets (who knew bike helmets are now required horse riding gear?).

And then they stepped into the stable.

I was a little surprised by the number of horses peering over the stall doors. They were beautiful!  And there was that delicious smell of horse and leather and hay, and the whiffle and huff and stamp - ah, I was in heaven.

My daughter, however, wasn't. First she looked up, up at the nose of the horse looking down at her. Then she sidled closer to me. Closer, and then grabbed my hand. Breyer models are apparently a lot smaller and a lot less alive than real horses.

Only two kids could practice at a time in the arena, and I saw my daughter shrink to the back so she wouldn't get chosen. The first horse was a large palomino gelding, the second a fairly small pinto mare with some seriously beautiful lines. As my daughter's friends sat, and then walked, and then trotted around and around, my daughter whispered to me, "Do I have to do this?"

When it was finally her turn, she picked the horse I'd expected, the small mare. She climbed the mounting block steps like she was climbing the steps to the guillotine.

Her instructor got her situated. They started at a gentle walk. And then told her to close her eyes. And put her arms straight out from her sides. I held my breath. And then she was flying! Around and around, comfortable, confident. In under and hour she transformed from a nervous wreck to a beaming equestrian (with excellent form, I might add). She can't wait for next time.

What changed?

She faced it. She shouldered through, marched on, she persevered.
Sometimes, I guess, the only way to get over something is simply to do it.

Thanks for reminding me, daughter of mine.



  1. I love this. I'm a little of a horseamaniac myself, (in fact in elementary school me and my best friend started a club called The Horseamaniacs. I'll sing you the theme song if you would like.)

    I love this. Things that you love often seem scary when you first try them, and all growing happens outside of your comfort zone. Great pep talk, Susan!

  2. Thank you for this! It fits so well with my life right now. I can't wait to share it with my children, some of whom have also been facing hard (but amazing) things. You are such an amazing mom!

  3. What a brave girl to faced her fears. That is a tough thing to do. We all need to learn from her example.

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing. :)

  4. Ah! I loved reading this! I was so terrified at my first lesson too, and I've seen it surface from time to time in one of my daughters (the other three took to horses like fish to water).

    I still haven't passed my Breyers over to my daughters. They play too rough! Snapped legs everywhere!


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