He is such a patient horse I tell ya!
This is Duke. My friend Rhonda is his Momma and he is such a pretty animal. The problem is I am very afraid of him. You are probably wondering why?
Well, when I was younger I was riding a female horse and a family friend was on a male horse. We rode way out into the pasture, the day was beautiful wind blowing through my hair, I felt like I was on top of the world! That is until is happened and happened so quickly. Much to my unknowing, my female horse was in heat and the male decided (WAY out in the pasture) that he wanted to “play”. She wanted NO part of that and so they started circling each other, well more so she was trying to get away from him. Jared told me to get off of the horse and I did exactly what he said because I knew and still know nothing about horses. I jumped off and got out-of-the-way before he even finished his sentence I think! I stood there as the huge animals started rearing up at each other and neying (I’m not sure if that really is a word. Haha!) really loud, I tell you that female wanted NO part of that male that was chasing her tail! They somehow got tied up in each others reigns so Jared was trying to get them undone and before you know it, the male kicked him right above his elbow shattering the bone. I am watching this in awe and don’t know what to do. I run (for an eternity) back to the house to get someone to help us leaving the horses to hash out whatever they had going on. Needless to say, that has scared me and although I will pet horses, I am very afraid of riding.
I just gave up on every getting on one again and resolved myself to the fact that it was not a good idea because the horse would sense my nervousness and that is a recipe for disaster. Not to mention I have no idea how to the use the reigns and tell the horse what I want him to do, leaving him to think….what is wrong with this idiot on my back?!?
Well like my last post mentioned, I working on my Bucket List as a part of my “finding myself”. I put riding a horse on it because I have realized I really have nothing to be afraid of riding a horse. I should be more afraid of my poor choices in what I chose to eat, think, and feel about myself. I should also not compare what happened when I was younger to what riding a horse would be like for me now. Just like we as WLS patients should not compare other people and their stories to our story or MAKE their story our story. So with knowing that I realized I had no excuse to not do this.
I called up Rhonda and said “I am ready to conquer this unrealistic fear, can I ride Duke?” “Of course you can, when do you want to go out to the stable?” I’m thinking Uhhhh, NEVER! No, that is not the way to think so we made plans to go out last weekend. She was nice in letting my children come out and ride Duke as well. I was so glad to have them with me because, as their mother, I knew I had to be strong for them. They also showed me what it was like to be fearless and I needed that more than anything in that moment. They groomed (I wasn’t too sure about it, so I just watched) Duke and got him already to put the saddle on. He is such a neat horse, he is what they call “mouthy”, when you stick your hand out flat he will rub his upper lip on your hand, so sweet! The kids loved it when he did that.
Rhonda and the kids grooming Duke and getting him ready to ride!
We walked out to the riding area and I had Mekayla go first so I could watch and learn from her. She jumped right up there and was having the time of her life. Mario was a little nervous just like me so he rode with Rhonda. Having two nervous people on the back of a horse is NOT a good idea!
Then it was my turn, my heart was racing as I put on the helmet, I kept telling myself, you CAN do this Emily! Get up there and DO IT!! I wanted to just give the helmet back to Mekayla and watch her ride, I would have been just fine sitting in the chair and playing with Sox (the farm cat, he was a lovable little guy too!) But then I had an ephipany….I wasn’t fine with being 270 pounds with a plethora of health issues so I did something about it. Why would I be fine with living in fear of riding this horse? So, there you have it, I got up on that horse. Hear still racing, breathing heavy, and with a death grip on the saddle—forget the reigns, I didn’t have time for those—He started to walk as Rhonda walked right beside him to guide him. He walked very slow and never got spooked. I soon realized that everything was ok in my world while I was ON THE BACK OF A HORSE! How could that be?!?! I would look down at his beautiful mane in awe of the fact that I was actually doing it!! It was quite emotional I must say. Rhonda was just as amazing as Duke, like Mother like Son, She kept talking to me and reassuring me that I was doing good and everything was fine. We walked around in a circle for a few minutes then I needed to get off and rest, I wore myself out from being so wound up! Mekayla got back on and trotted around some more as did Mario. Rhonda asked me if I wanted to go again, and I must say that the 2nd time was easier but (in the words of Rhonda) I cannot and am not claiming Everest over this fear after only the first ride. That is so true. I will say though, it has prompted me to THINK about MAYBE taking riding lessons which was never a thought that crossed my mind. This time last year I would have said “Yeah, right! You’re crazy!"
As you can see here, Rhonda is talking to me and trying to calm me down. She was amazing and so was Duke!
Duke and I being friends here. This was the second ride, I grabbed the reigns but only for a minute. ;-)
This experience taught me some new and pretty cool stuff about myself. It taught me to really evaluate what I should be scared of and what I should not be scared of. It taught me get out of my comfort zone and try new things. It taught me be more trusting of myself and emotions. I need to trust that I have it in me to do and try new things. The most important thing of all that it taught me was to BELIEVE IN MYSELF!
This experience was brought on all because of my WLS. Two and half years ago, I had no idea who I was or what my purpose was, nor was I on a mission to find out either. My only mission in life was to find the next drive thru, gorge myself, and exist. I am truly learning what it means to LIVE and LOVE myself through the rest of my life here on earth. I urge you to do the same thing! It is rewarding, I am here to tell you there is WAY MORE power in this reward than the sucky VERY brief reward we get from food or other self sabotaging things we engage in. Life a journey NOT a destination, and I am proud to say that my Journey has begun and I can’t wait to see all that is ahead of me during my travels!
This experience was also brought on all because of my WLS due to the fact that I have gained a new friendship in Rhonda that other wise I would have never been blessed with. I trust her with everything, even my fears, You see what she did with this one, she helped me overcome it, and I honestly don’t think the outcome would have been as rewarding with anyone else guiding me! She gets me. She grounds me. She loves me and all my imperfections. She believes in me. She is there to be my #1 Cheerleader and she is also there when she knows she just needs to listen. She is one of my best friends with so many qualities I admire and adore. She sees the good in everyone when sometimes my mind is clouded by hurt. I am so humbled by her friendship and honored to call her my friend. Love ya Girl!! Thank you so much for this opportunity and I wouldn’t have wanted anybody else by my side!
Rhonda and Duke. The two beautiful souls that made a difference in my life that day! Love you both!!
I just wanted to leave this blog post with a good quote I found….
“Plant seeds of expectation in your mind; cultivate thoughts that anticipate achievement. Believe in yourself as being capable of overcoming all obstacles and weaknesses.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Until next time….