Last weekend we took the hooligans to the arena to ride horses. It's one of the activities we enjoy doing together as a family. I've been around horses my whole life. When I was a young girl I spent hours and hours outside in the barn with my dad. I have fond memories of the beautiful animals that called our place home. The smell of the saddle blankets, the dust, and most of all the way dad looked when he spent time working with them. He loved it. It was like home for him. It was my favorite place to spend the evening. I started riding when I was very young. Dad would put me on the back of a horse and lead me around in circles in the pasture, and I remember how freeing it felt every time. Once when I was around 6, dad could tell how much fun I was having and he started to run in circles with me trailing behind on the horse. I could feel myself slipping to one side, but I didn't want to disappoint him and I thought I could get myself back on without him knowing. I was wrong. I fell to the ground hard and the horse kept going right over the top of me stepping on the inside of my upper thigh. It hurt. A lot. As much as it hurt, dad made me get back on. He made me get back on right that very minute. I didn't understand at the time. During my ride back to the barn I cried the entire way. Mom quickly helped me into the house so we could see how bad it was, and sure enough, I had a perfect horseshoe imprint on the inside of my leg. I was branded with the mark of my mistake. It was completely black and of course seeing it only made it hurt worse. I still didn't understand why my dad made me ride back to the barn. I wouldn't understand until years later.
I continued to ride after that day, and I continued to love it and then one day years later my horse got a little spooked. I fell off and this time instead of getting stepped on he flipped over and landed on top of me. That pretty much sums up the major accident I had 17 years ago. One minute I was fine and the next I was not. This is when I learned the real importance of getting back on. I've been around horses my entire life, and I've always felt at home. This day changed things for me. I was scared. For the first time I was scared to ride, and more than that I was scared to even be around horses and I hated that. After a very long recovery I kept thinking about that day when I was young and how my dad made me get back on. As much as it hurt back then, and as scared as I was, it was important for me to get back on and do it again, and my dad knew it. I knew it was something I needed to do again this time, and once again it was painful and it was scary but I did it. It was important for me to know that I could return to doing things that I loved. It was important for me to understand that having strength and courage to do hard things would push me to enjoy life again. It was important to conquer my fear and not allow myself to become defeated. It was important for me to get back on because getting back on meant moving on for me. It was hard. Harder than I thought it would be, and honestly I still get a little nervous when I ride. I'm so glad I did it though. I'm glad I did it for many reasons. Thinking back on this experience through difficult times now in my life reminds me that I can do hard things. It reminds me that if I set my mind on doing something and if I have the courage to try and do my best that really the outcome can only feel good. It reminds me that I have choices. I have the opportunity to decide to move on, or to dwell on pain and fear and those are negative emotions that I don't want to experience if I have the choice. It reminds me that I can learn from a painful experience and try again having more knowledge and wisdom for the next round. It also helps me to teach my children that they should never give up, and that they never know what they can accomplish until they do it. I can't imagine my life without horses in it, and the combination of the hooligans and horses is even better. I hope they always get back on. I hope when life knocks them down they get up and dust themselves off and get back on and try again. They are already learning to do hard things, and they are already succeeding at conquering their fears. I'm not sure they know it yet, but at some point they will understand the lesson of getting back on just like I eventually did. Getting back on is important. Never giving up on dreams and goals is essential. I hope they never forget these things. I'm grateful that my dad taught me about getting back on. I'm glad that my tears didn't stop him from teaching me such an important lesson. Just look at the memories I would be missing out on if he wouldn't have.