Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thursday's Children 10/18/12 Get Back on the Horse

Taking a leaf out of my friend Kristina Perez's inspriation "book", I decided to share my sports and writing analogy this week.

When I was a teenager I had a horse. His name was Kerry. Technically he was a pony (by one quarter of an inch) and his pony blood was definitely evident - ponies are known for being smarter than horses, and for having more highly developed senses of humor.
With Kerry this took various forms:

 1. Being the stable Houdini (one time he not only got himself out of the stall, but also his pony girlfriend Strawberry, one of them took the barn phone off the hook, they had a snack out of the grain bin, and then at 2 in the morning began galloping around the driveway).
2. Ambushing unsuspecting stablehands by digging a monstrous hole in the floor of his stall and then covering it with hay, so that they fell in.
3. Going under, over, and through pasture fences. Or standing in the middle of the pond, so he could only be caught if you were willing to get very wet.
4. And most importantly, teaching me first, to get back on after a fall, and two, how not to get thrown in the first place. He specialized in bucking.

Here's a picture of us together, at a dressage show. A looong time ago.

For your amusement here are some videos of riders getting tossed at horse shows.
Apparently I once did a cartwheel in the air when Kerry stopped short at a jump and I kept going.
I landed on the other side, on my feet, still holding the reins.
Unfortunately my mother didn't have a video camera.

Unintentional Flying Dismounts

So, about falling...
The very first time is nothing less than SHOCKING. One minute you're in the saddle, seemingly in control of the situation, and then something happens (a buck, a rear, a startle, a stumble, a sudden stop). Momentum, gravity, and your not so trusty steed, are no longer your friends.
Frequently the breath gets knocked out of you. Sometimes you get really hurt. If you're lucky neither you, nor your horse, sustain any serious injuries.
Falling or being thrown is scary, sometimes painful and bruising, both to your body and your ego.
Kind of like sending out queries or manuscripts and having them rejected.
With riding, assuming both you and your horse are okay, the thing you must do is, of course, get back on the horse. That's also scary. You have to dust yourself off, check your tack, mount up, and not let your horse sense your nerves.

Above all, you must not give up.
Not if you love it.
Not if you want to get better at it.
Good enough that some day the same situation will arise, and you won't get thrown.

I have two daughters. They both wanted to ride.
The older one got thrown her fifth time on a horse. She refused to get back on. But you know what? She didn't love riding. She loves cheering. She's a flyer, which takes skill and courage and trusting her stunt group. She's fallen many times, and gotten hurt. She gets back up. Because she loves it.
My younger daughter has fallen only once, at a trot. I was jogging right beside her and actually caught her as she slid off. I've told her that if she keeps riding, she will fall. All riders do. If she loves riding, she'll get back on.
If you love writing, keep doing it. No matter how many rejections you get. Someday you'll make it.

Here's the Thursday's Children theme song.

Share what inspires you...


  1. What's that old saying? "You have to fall off a hundred times to become a good rider." ^_^

    1. Not sure I've heard that one, but sounds about right

  2. Great post, Rhiann! I think it's true that we have to fall in order to fly ;-) And I love that pic of you in dressage. Wow, dressage, so impressive! And what a perfect post for the debut of our theme song ;-()

  3. Good post, I rode a horse once... and only once, not for me.

    1. So, now you need to join the bloghop and tell us about something that does inspire you to write.

  4. Haha! I *love* Kerry. Any beastie with that much personality deserves literary immortality. Fun post. Thanks, Rhiann. :D

    1. Yes, he was a huge part of my life then. His full name was Kerry Kloon (which supposedly meant firefly in Gaelic, according to my Aunt Sybil who quite likelky took some liberties with that language, lol). Still hoping you'll join us once you get a user-friendly way to do so. Tx for popping in.

  5. I love that picture of you! I always wanted to ride. When I was a teenager, my dad won a really old horse in a poker game - I know - total cliche, but true. My riding experience went about as well as you might imagine.

  6. I forgot to mention that I laughed out loud and the idea of Kerry "hiding" in the pond - that's fantastic! What a smart pony!

    1. Yes, he was very clever. And good at looking completely innocent too. Poor old poker horse...I probably don't want to know what happened to him in the end.

    2. We actually gave him to another family since I was only out there every other weekend. I don't think he got ridden much there, but he had a nice pasture and he didn't have to bunk in a dairy barn. :)

    3. Oh thank goodness. I was having glue factory nightmares.

  7. Replies
    1. Yes! I'm about to send out some query letters so I will need to listen to it often :)

  8. I have a couple of Houdinis on my farm! I find lots of similarities between riding and writing. Also making art and writing. Your "pony" was adorable.