"I'm scared to go back there," I said, gripping the reins more tightly in my hand.
The day before the horse beneath me had too much juice. He kept trotting when I said to walk. I forgot my tight circles. And then came the cyclist out from behind on my left, and suddenly Rowyn's back legs were in the air and I was falling to the right and in my mind's eye I saw a bone breaking on the pavement below and Rowyn and Jazz taking off for the barn with my girl clinging to Jazz's back.
I think I was actually more scared for her than me, and it should've been the other way around. In this scenario, I needed more help.
I got off my horse and called his owner. My hands were shaking so hard I could barely operate the phone.
He answered immediately. He was in the Plaza getting ready to do carriage rides. He wouldn't be back to the barn for five hours.
"What do I do?" I said.
"Get your act together and ride him back to the barn," he said. "You can't walk him back. Rita, you have to ride."
Sometimes in your life you would like the easier method back to the barn. This was not a time I was going to get it.
My girl said everything was fine, but my mothering instincts and my anxiety disorder kept projecting images of a broken back or fractured skull as we walked back, turning tight circles every 100 yards or so. I have never had a longer walk back to the barn in my life.
I kept reciting a little ditty, more for me than for him:
We're still friends
but I'm in charge.
Rita and Rowyn
go back to the barn.
If you've never been scared on a large animal, I'm sure this will sound ridiculous. However, if you've ever been on a tall horse and had said horse decide to deseat you on pavement, you'll be here with me.
I. Was. Terrified.
And I had a teenaged girl to get back to the barn, as well as two large animals who could and would yank my arm off if they felt like eating grass. And a two-laned road to cross between the park and the barn.
My friends, it just all the sudden felt REAL.
But we got back. We turned them out. They frolicked. We put them away. And I called the owner again. He said to meet him out there the next day.
So I did.
And we went back on the trail.
And I was terrified.
And it was fine.
And today, a week later, we went back. We turned him out. We saddled him up. We rode him. He was fine.
And so it is.
Some days you're the windshield, and some days, you're the fly.
Never forget the world is a crazy place.
Never forget the world is a beautiful place.
Never stop trying.