I just read the most insightful post by my trainer and dear friend Kelsey. She was reflecting on a song by the Avett brothers, and the fact that it can be so easy to take the gray days forgranted. Then I pull up my blog, and up comes my last post, a barely-three-sentence entry of general gloomy rambling. I had to chuckle, because the things that had me so in the dumps that day already seem to be a shadow of what they were. It is amazing what a little time and perspective can do to the big "issues." Day by day, we continue to learn to deal with the things that crop up, and continue to perservere in a general forward direction.
I got bucked off pretty good over the weekend. To be honest, I was hesitant to post that here. I had my mental tally in my head that this would be the third fall I have blogged about, and, hmm, is that too many to confess to in the vast timeless space that is the internet? There are those who would use it as fodder and gossip to fuel whatever malicious desire they have for me to fail, but nonetheless - I confess it. I got rocket launched. To the moon. Or, um, a grassy field. Regardless...ouch.
Really, not ouch this time, thank goodness. I hopped up without a second thought and was back on in minutes. The next day I had a pretty good case of whiplash, but that was honestly it. I was confessing the entire story to Kelsey with a bit of embarassment, and how I don't know how I've managed to fall off more this year than in the last six years of riding. I barely got it out of my mouth when she piped in with a tiny nugget of insight to the effect of this - good for you. If you aren't having a fall here and there, you aren't challenging yourself to do anything bigger than what you've been doing.
It resonated. In a big way. And not just that afternoon. It has been something that continues to bubble up and intrigue me with just how true it really is. A year ago, a fall would have destroyed the last tiny shred of confidence I had left. Yet here I am, jumping back on, and going right back to fixing the issue, without being haunted constantly by the fear of what just happened.
April continues to surprise and intrigue me as well. The more I study her and try to figure out, the more complex the picture becomes. I actually see a lot of resemblances between her and Linkin. She tends to have these little fits that are so reminiscent of Linkin's behaviors. It is so funny how things work out, because Robyn and I were talking about Linkin the other week. He is her warmblood/thoroughbred cross that she adopted for free because he had been the "crazy" horse in his previous career. At the time, I had actually found the listing that he was available, but didn't get a chance to even go see him. Robyn apologized while we were reminiscing about it, for the fact that she felt he had gotten snatched away from me even though I had discovered him. I laughed, and reminded her that there was no way he would have been the right horse for me.
And then I turned to my mare, my sweet mare who can be fiery and insistent and downright nutty at times, and I had to add one word - "Then." I couldn't have handled him then. Now, however - now is a different story. In so many ways, I have the same sort of horse on my hands. She is incredible, talented, and amazing, but she is not easy. She is a chestnut mare - don't horse people warn you about that combination??
So I look back on my fall, and see it not as another notch on the belt, not another scar on my battered confidence, but instead as another step on the ladder of where I aspire to be. Another stretch towards the horsewoman I want to become. It's all about perspective, right? So walking away from the situation, here's what I see. I see an opportunity to continue to progress. I see a situation I am going to laugh about, and be proud of the fact that I brushed myself off and went on. Mostly, I see pride in the fact that for ONCE, my heart didn't pound out of my chest when I got back on.
I guess you can make of it what you like. Success or failure, it is all in the eyes of the beholder. This beholder chooses to take the beauty of the lesson rather than the sting of the fall. So in those terms, I see gray skies turning to blue in my immediate future, and I am so grateful.
Last night, we had an impromptu barn party. It sort of evolved from a personal crisis of a friend, which of course demanded the presence of a little tequila in form of our favorite pre-mixed margaritas. Somehow, we ended up lying on our steady-eddy ponies, using their hindquarters as cupholders, laughing and talking, and just enjoying life. It reminded me to never take anything too seriously. The silly moments are what make things worthwhile. It isn't the one hairy ride we had last week that sticks out in my memory today; it isn't the biting criticism that someone tries to passively throw out that is clearly meant for us...instead, it is these moments of great friendship and the presence of horses that I find joy in. So, a little early for Thanksgiving I suppose, but these are but a few of the things I am intensely grateful for in my life.