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RIDING LIKE A TREE FROG

A few years ago, I guess it was about the time I turned 50 years old, I started to lose my confidence when it came to horseback riding. I was getting to the point that I didn’t enjoy riding all that much anymore because I was always scared (or skeert as they say in Texas). It wasn’t because I didn’t have a trustworthy horse. It was the same horse I’d been riding for seven years. I had thousands of hours on that horse.

As many of you know, with all the time and money I had invested in my hobby, I had to get to the bottom of this.

The answer came one day when I was on a trailride. I said to an old mule skinner, whose name really is Orange, “Want to ride my horse? He’s acting all nervous and jumpy. I don’t know what’s wrong with him.” Orange looked at me and said very slowly and deliberately, “No wonder. You’re riding him like a tree frog. Relax your legs and let up on those reins. The horse will do the rest.”

That was it! As I relaxed, the horse relaxed and we had a great time the rest of the ride. Once in a while I start thinking the things we all think from time to time (unless we’re six years old): What if I get thrown? What if the horse falls? What if he kicks out and hurts someone? What if he shies from something while I'm up on this bridge? All the “what ifs” we can think of.

When that happens, I think about what Orange said and try to follow his advice. It doesn’t work 100% of the time but it helps most of the time. I have regained my confidence and pretty much just go with the flow. Might as well. I’m not getting any younger!

© 2005, Cindy Staudenmaier


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