I have had many people in my life say, Oh, I’d love to ride the sort of horses you do, or do what you do, but I just don’t have the balls. You know what? I don’t have balls. Like, literally, I don’t. But I also don’t rely on my guts either. I know what it feels like to quake in your (elastic sided -don’t judge 11-year-old me) boots, or to get so nervous about going out to catch your horse that you feel that sick, greasy feeling right in the pit of your stomach. Or you look at the day and you think Oh, it’s way too windy/snowy/rainy/perfect/day-ish to ride today, let’s just do it tomorrow?
I have been there. Let’s take a trip back down the memory lane to see where this crazy ride all began.
I’m in the toilet cubicles, year 7, with my best friend handing me toilet paper and helping me wipe my bum (lucky we were both farm-kids-in-the-city, used to this kinda stuff). So glam.
I had two broken arms from falling off a very beautiful but sketchy thoroughbred mare that my mum had bought me and I was completely petrified of. I had plopped up there like a pimple on a pumpkin and had lasted all of seven minutes until Genie decided that I was definitely a crap jockey and she needed to return to the horse float at turbo speed. Never-mind that there was a picnic table in the way of her exit strategy, at warp speed she dodged the table, and needless to say, I was not prepared for this abrupt exit-stage-left, and I was a hand-standing lawn-dart. After two (agonising) days where mum thought I had just sprained my wrist, we finally went to the hospital and I walked out with pins in my wrist and a plaster from fingertip to armpit on each arm. I perpetually looked like I was just about to give you the thumbs up or maybe challenge you to rock, paper scissors.
This did not help with fitting in to the cool clique at high school, let me tell you. This occurred within the first school term of the year, so I was doomed from the beginning. But, let’s not kid myself, this was always going to happen, broken arms or not.
It also hard to eat, or wipe your bum, when you can’t bend your elbows. Go on, try it.
After this, I had gone from plucky-but-clueless rider to downright-crap-my-pants if I even look at a horse type of rider. Mum had to LEAD me around (SO embarrassing) on this horse whilst I gripped the pommel of my tiny English saddle with white knuckles. Thankfully, something told mum that this union was never going to be a happy one, so we searched for some answers. That week, we heard there was a guy doing a demonstration at a local riding school so I went along to watch. We all kinda scoffed about it and most probably went along to pooh pooh… I know I went along because I definitely had nothing to lose. The moment this guy and his two kids all came out into the arena, with their horses following behind them with no halter or lead, I was hooked. There was a dude riding around with NOTHING ON HIS HORSES’ HEAD and only using two (orange!) sticks to steer! There were kids jumping bareback with only strings around their horses’ necks, it was like a circus but no one was falling off or crying and there was definitely no animal abuse or sad elephants, it was like magic, all it was missing was the dancing puppies…. I was in heaven. It was a drug. I had to know more! What black magic was this? Where were the tears? The pulling? THE BITS?!?
So here I was, awkward pre-teen with two big ugly white plasters on my arms, waiting around till the end like a fame-drunk groupie, so I could find this guy and know his secret! We all know who and what I’m talking about, and you can all understand my first feeling of awe, excitement and possibility, and the thought that I might not always be this gangly, quivering, horse-crazy girl that so desperately wanted to ride like all the girls on the Saddle Club but was so overwhelmed with the fear of dying that I couldn’t bare to swing a leg over a horse again.
Stay tuned to hear how I met the dude, and his family, and how that sleek, haughty thoroughbred was traded for a skinny, beat up, cranky flea-bitten grey horse who would change my life, forever.
By- Brittany Flinn
You can read more of Britt's Blogs here-
Britt’s Biscuits&Broncs, www.biscuitsbroncs.wordpress.com