Why I don’t ride Horses

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My last post was pretty serious and heavy. I have three more serious ones swirling around in my head including sharing some notes from the Living Proof Conference I just attended. Serious is good but sometimes we need to balance it out with something fun. Last night at our small group, my friends Neva and Alyssa (mother/daughter) were telling me about going horseback riding and a cowboy church event in San Marcos (Thursday nights, I think). Which spurred me on to telling them about my horseback riding experiences which can only be described as surreal…how can one person have such negative experiences?  This is also why I am not a big fan of animals.

My first horseback riding experience was when I was 17.  I went to visit my friend Shanna Denny (She’s married now but in my mind I still call her “Shanna Denny”).  She was my best friend for years.  We had such fun together.  She lives about an hour away from me and I rarely see her.  I wish we could have stayed close but her husband (who she said at the time she married him, reminded her of me and who knows that when you meat someone “just like you” you usually do not like “you” very much) and I had a conflict and I was young and single and didn’t “get” that if you want to stay best friends with someone you have to make nice with their husband or you will end up being the one “out”. You might argue with this but the truth is, if you are to cultivate your marriage, then you side with your husband even if he isn’t 100% right because he’s your husband.  They are still married after all these years so she was right.  I miss her sometimes and wish they were our “couple friends” but we really don’t get to do many “couple” things these days.  In any case, I had driven to Houston to hang out with her and there was a boy that she liked so she had arranged a young man to hang out with us so we would be a foursome and not a 3rd wheel.  I don’t remember his name but he was going to be a preacher, he was skinny and he was really funny (I still remember a joke he told me).  I enjoyed his personality but he was going to be a UPC (United Pentecostal Church) preacher and I was not attending a UPC church…he needed a nice girl who could grow her hair really long and who could sing or play the piano because that is the kind of girl UPC preachers married…at that time anyway; many of the younger generation have emerged from the cocoon of legalism and embraced grace.  The four of us went horseback riding and they put me on a large horse that was generally uncooperative. I was not comfortable because obviously, I was not in control of the beast.  I was antsy as we trotted down muddy trails (it was flooding season in Houston…it is almost always flooding season in Houston), then we came to an opening and a paved road.  There were even some cars driving on the road although I remember it being quiet wide.  Keep in mind, the entire time I am holding the reins and following the direction of the guide on how control the horse.  The horse was intent on doing his own thing.  When we hit the open area, the horse takes off in a full run. I can still hear the beast’s hoofs clopping against the pavement through my own screaming.  The guide was yelling and then has to catch up and grab the reins…I wanted to walk back but if memory serves I rode back. Shanna told me later, if not for the screaming it was a beautiful sight, my hair (I’m sure full of Rave hairspray) flowing in the wind.

I chalked the first experience up to me being nervous and the horse being ornery.  I did get back up on the horse so to speak.  My last experience was the deal breaker for me. I was dating this guy from the Houston area….wait a minute…maybe it isn’t the horses, maybe I need to stay away from Houston…he took me to meet his family over Thanksgiving.  In hindsight, it was way too soon to “meet the family”.  His parents were divorced and his dad was married to a very cold women.  The entire time I was in their home, she hardly said a word to me…her or her daughter, it was so awkward.  Can you imagine me being quiet for two whole days??  Anyone who knows me??  I barely said a word for two days. His mom was a lovely woman and she had and her husband had several horses…well, maybe two.  They put me on this horse and set me off into the pasture.  Then they told me “Be careful this horse will run you under a tree.”  WHAT???  WHAT should I do if he tries this??  They couldn’t tell me this before I was on the horse? Turns out there was one tree in that pasture, ONE TREE and that horse went right to it.  I was pulling as hard as I could on the reins but nothing,  That horse was intent.  It was Fall so the tree had no leaves just branches and it was just tall enough for the horse to walk under and the branches only brush the horseand then whack the rider in the face.  This time, I don’t think I screamed.  I didn’t want anyone to see…I was trying to make a decent impression on the family of the guy that I liked.  No, I didn’t fall off the horse.  As the branches began to whack me in the face, I laid back on the horse, all the way back and covered my face.  I laid as flat as I could which would have been fine except one of the branches caught on the sweater I was wearing and pulled it all the way up over my bra; a hot pink bra.  I was mortified. I had just flashed the family of the guy I liked.  I was covered with scratches and blood mostly on my arms and face.  Sure, I can laugh about it now but at the time, not so much.  As for the guy, we didn’t date after that weekend.  It’s okay, he was a short, white guy and I like tall, dark and handsome.

That’s why I don’t ride horses.

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