15 minutes into the trail and I was as nervous as hell, half listening to Dakota and half imaging that if I got tossed off this creature there were too many rocks around that would sadly catch my fall.
And Jesse sensed my tension.
I was hoping Celeste would be up for the horse back ride, but when she saw the beautiful grandeur of this creature she quickly changed her mind. Hell I was taken aback too! But how could I change my mind now about riding? We weren’t about to force her to get on it, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to let fear get the best of me.
When I finally had to get on top of Jesse, I could feel myself trembling. When you’re as afraid of heights as I am even that slight elevation is jarring. I had gone horse back riding once before but of course I had forgotten that the only thing keeping me from falling off this animal would be my legs straddling his body and my arm on the whatever you call it that’s at the front of the saddle. I had the most important eyes on me and I wanted to show her I was okay. So off we went. Dakota, age 21, was leading the group atop Cheyenne and then me in the middle followed by Emma, age 11; that’s right 11, riding Outlaw – who happened to be Jesse’s brother.
I couldn’t even focus on the trail. I was quite frankly terrified. Visions of me falling off and landing straight onto a jagged rock. Wondering how badly paralyzed I might end up. I’m not always this pessimistic but when you’re on top of a powerful 800lb horse, my perspective sure gets pretty clouded. And it didn’t help that for the first 20 minutes or so it was pretty much downhill, which only terrified me more.
So Jesse decided about 8 minutes into the trail that he just wasn’t going to listen to me. Why would he, I certainly wasn’t taking the boss role and he wanted to go back home in the direction we came from. Dakota ended up having to grab his rope to lead him because he just wouldn’t budge. Honestly I was happy for the intervention. I was in no frame of mind to lead Jesse.
We tried a couple times and finally by the third time I was able to relax and I even picked up a nice stride with him. I could feel myself moving in rhythm with him. And low and behold when he tried to test me and go slightly in a different direction I quickly and firmly tugged at his reign. He realized I had finally stepped up as boss and let me take the lead.
Once that happened I felt so comfortable. I was able to enjoy the ride and actually carry on a conversation with Dakota and Emma and know what the heck I was saying.
The best moment was when we rode back into the stables and I saw my husband and our girls. Both girls greeted me happily with a loud “mama!!” And I saw my husband taking a photo. I felt so happy and proud in that moment.
I was real glad my husband had encouraged me to take that hour ride while he stayed back with the girls. And I have to say a huge thanks to my two companions for helping me relax and be able to take control of Jesse.