Sunday, March 14, 2010


I don't know of very many people who are 50+ and still riding horses that haven't had at least one good wreck.

Wrecks are a great conversation piece.  They can literally stop dinner at a family gathering in its tracks.  They can make an "urban" co-worker turn pasty white.

By sharing your worst wreck with someone who just had one, your intent is to comfort them by aligning your past experience to what they're feeling.  What's odd is that no matter how long ago your wreck took place, by sharing it with them, YOU feel better.

Sadly, it probably won't help the individual who just experienced their own wreck.  This stuff has to settle in the mind.  It has to filtrate down through the nervous system (literally).  No matter how many of your friends share what happened to them, one has to personally come to grips with their own wreck to move forward.

Wrecks hurt.  They can severely injure you.  If you're lucky, you'll walk away with bumps and bruises. Either way, they scare you.  As time goes by, the recollection of the hurt usually diminishes, but the fright remains.  It eats at you each time you ride.  Conquering it is the biggest challenge of all.  And even if you THINK you've conquered it, it can still be there, hiding in the deepest shadows of your mind. 

The only way to fight this animal is face to face.  The longer you wait to ride, the less you test yourself, the bigger it gets.  The more you ride, the more you test yourself, the smaller it gets. 

If you really throw your efforts into it, you will find a day when you go to ride and the idea of a wreck doesn't even cross your mind.  You will feel strong and ready to take on the world. 

Without even trying you will convey to your horse that there will be no nonsense today and if there is there will be  H-E double LL to pay.  Your horse will understand that message clearly because you're not cluttered up with "what might happen".  You'll find yourself not thinking about having a "good" ride, but about having a "ride", the "good" being a given.

And on that day, when you finish and put your horse away, you will not only have gained the respect of your horse, you will have gained the respect of yourself.  You'll walk ten feet taller and your smile will light up the sky. 

Days like those are like gold coins.  Save them and refer to them often.  They will take you far.


  1. This was a thoughtfully written, true life experience post. Thanks for writing it. I know all about wrecks and getting back up on a horse afterwards.
    I have to add that getting back up on a safe, reliable, calm, quiet, patient horse makes all the difference in rebuilding that confidence and getting back to those 'gold coin' days again.

    Thanks again,

  2. Sometimes admitting that you are afraid is the hardest part! :( I was shocked to realize after two years of not being around horses how much confidence I'd lost. I used to be so fearless and now some horses frighten me even from the ground (it was a Thoroughbred racehorse straight off the track). I will conquer it though. :) Great post!

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