Royal Secret, my favorite horse, was withering away with age. Lugging his own self became a feat for him, let alone carrying an extra person on his back and trotting; his dry coat only made it worse. Although I love him “like a love song,” I had to sniffle and move on with a heavy heart inside my small body.
After all the worldly troubles I go through: parents preaching about how to save money; friends, family and strangers telling me why it’s a good idea to find a loser and get married; boss telling me how I could do a better job; I sit on his back and tell myself life is beautiful and absolutely worth all the trouble.
Royal Secret never once bucked me; he let me drive him crazy and tolerated me like a wise old grandpa. I bird-watched and learnt my first canter on him. I sympathized deeply with the other riders who fell off their horses and gave them sound advice.
Some more about us here.
As the Royal Secret’s Era came to an end my riding life took a 180 degree turn.
I distrustfully rode a few horses after Royal Secret. I was back to gripping my horses tight with my knees and tipping forward. Just when my instructors felt hopeless and were ready to give up on me Glory happened to me.
Glory was so different from Royal Secret. He was younger and wider; his coat was bright and shiny; he was fast and sprightly and his eyes always shone with mischief. We clicked I thought; I trotted and cantered on him without stirrups and with ease for a long time. I don’t know about Glory but I was incredibly happy riding him. I was confident and thought “now there is no stopping me” and out of the blue Glory bucked me. I had two back to back up in the air and almost flat on my face experience. But I surprised myself by getting back on Glory without the slightest hesitation. I rode him for another month and surprised my instructors this time. And suddenly it dawned on me why they say that the more you fall the better rider you become. I thought finally I was becoming a better rider and then Glory bucked me again. This time I went up flying almost 70 degrees and fell on the ground, somersaulted twice and came to a stop. Although I felt perfectly alright, my vision was blurred and I saw a few Glorys cantering in the arena for a few minutes. While I was ok to ride him again I wanted to run back to Royal Secret, hug him tight, kiss him and tell him I miss him.
In one and half years I had three falls and after I started riding Glory I had three falls in a span of four weeks. At this rate I thought I would learn to fly before I would learn to ride. I decided it’s not a good idea to suffer any injury and injuries at a tender age could be dangerous. I immediately bought myself a body protector. In my new body protector I walked like a Robot and struggled to breath, it was suffocating. I trotted and cantered with great difficulty, I fell off a couple of times while dismounting my horse and I can’t warm up while I’m astride. But I felt slightly more confident. My instructor once told me that one had to fall at least 7 times to become a better rider. I can’t wait for my 7th fall and be done with it and never fall again.
Read about my first serious fall here.
A week after my sixth fall and my new body protector and deciding never to fall again I attended show jumping competition at the school to boost my morale. While the competition was absolutely awe-inspiring, and had adrenaline rush enough for a month, some of the participants fell left, right and center. I learnt some of these brave falling participants have been riding forever and jumping for 7 or more years. And just like that my big dream “NEVER FALL AGAIN” was shattered.