Just before impact I saw my bright white sneakers against the backdrop of a brilliant blue sky. Then darkness. When I opened my eyes I could smell metal, my face and teeth felt numb, the world around me seemed to be vibrating, and I couldn’t compute where my feet were. I was absolutely stunned and terrified. I had just fallen from my horse running at full speed onto the back of my head.
My parents sold the horse not long after my accident as she wasn’t really trained for children. I can’t recall if I ever got back on her before she left our farm. Over the next twenty-five years I took a couple of trail rides. Those are the rides where the horses are worn down and lost their spirit. They essentially follow behind the horse in front of them and go no faster than a slow steady stride. Since no longer living on a farm meant the opportunity to ride horses wasn’t readily available and I had no huge desire to get back on a free roaming horse, plenty of time passed without much thought. I had not realized I developed a fear of riding horses until it became a clear reality that Christie wanted to get me on one of hers. I noticed my hands would get sweaty and my heart would beat a little faster when we talked about making it happen.
Christie texted to let me know we would be doing a local small business interview for our weekly Facebook live. We were going to be following her new ranch hand, Riley around the farm as he fixed fence and talked about his talents and abilities as a ranch hand. When I arrived to the farm the next day Christie had decided to interview Riley as he instructed us on how to properly saddle a horse. In that moment the conversation felt very organic when Christie casually mentioned, “and then Jamie, maybe we can even get you on after he saddles the horse.”
This isn’t just casual speak of a some day in the future! This might actually happen today! …. In an hour!
Hindsight being what it is, perhaps Christie wisely forgot to mention this possibility the day before so I could get a good night’s rest. 😉 The information I gathered in the interview with Riley was extremely valuable. Besides learning the many many steps I overlooked in saddling my own horse all those years ago, I gained the most valuable lesson for horse back riding. It’s the back and forth relationship with the horse. In just the first two steps of saddling a horse, it’s very obvious how important the mutual respect is for this beautiful animal. It’s easy to see how following Riley and Christie’s instructions would help build and maintain a healthy and trusting relationship. (Click here to watch our interview and my brief time on Honey-Jack.)
My entry back onto the back of a horse wasn’t necessarily a graceful one, and while I am not yet galloping around the farm just yet, I did get back on the ole horse. Thank you Christie and Riley.
*If you are in the Knoxville area and need a knowledgeable, reliable, and hard working ranch hand, check out Cowboy Industries and our guy Riley Turner.