We loaded up the horse trailer and headed out this afternoon for a much anticipated trail ride with old and new friends. As we pulled out of our driveway, we were looking forward to a great day before us.
My 11 year old daughter accompanies us on trail rides the majority of the time. She is usually the only child in the group, but that does not seem to concern her much at all. Occasionally, she has encountered situations where she felt threatened with inconsiderate riders racing past her, but we knew that would not be the case today. The group we were riding with has respect for other riders and would not put someone, especially a child, in harm’s way.
Leaving the paved road and turning onto the dirt road, we looked for landmarks to tell us where to turn to reach our destination. It wasn’t long before we rounded the curve to see multi colored horse trailers on the hill. We smiled knowing that today was going to be a GREAT day!
As soon as I got out of the Suburban, one of my old high school friends came around the back of our horse trailer to give me a hug. We have been trying for a good six months to ride together, and finally, our schedules allowed it! Today was the day!
Shortly thereafter, another lady, that I’ve known for years that is now well into her 70s and still riding, approached us to say hello. She was all smiles, and I wondered if she realized how much of an inspiration she truly is. A breast cancer survivor, she seems to always have a smile on her face and a positive attitude – yes, even when she was going through treatment.
After introductions were made with the rest of the group and fond hellos exchanged with our farrier and his wife, who were invited by us, we all secured our saddles and got on our horses. Making our way down the grassy section and then on to the dusty trail, I began snapping pictures to mark this occasion.
Our horses all did great through the trails that were weaving in and out of the wooded area that eventually opened up into a huge pasture and then finally onto long dirt roads deep in the country. Ah, my favorite place to be; on horseback with my family and great friends!
As we made our way to another dirt road, my daughter’s Pinto pony decided it was time for a break. Although the other horses continued to march on, her pony stopped and refused to go forward. My daughter tried everything she knew to do, but finally, she burst into tears out of sheer frustration with her pony. Realizing what was taking place, I circled around on my horse to try to encourage her pony to walk on. Still, she remained frozen in place. My husband then positioned his horse behind her pony in an effort to encourage the pony to walk. That worked for a brief moment before her pony became stubborn again and refused to budge once more. My daughter sobbed deeply and said she wanted to go home. Being that we were in the middle of an unfamiliar area, I could not take us back to the horse trailer even if I wanted to at that point in time. And, what guarantee did we have at that moment in time that her little pony would decide to move if we were to go the opposite direction to “home.”
Oh, what to do … what to do …
It was at that moment I realized that when things don’t go as planned, we simply cannot give up, resolve into tears, and leave our pony right there in the middle of the road. Instead, we must think of a Plan B or another way of accomplishing what we’re looking to achieve.
We set out to have a wonderful trail ride with friends, and it is normally relaxing. It is as if we can feel the stress melting away as we walk along on our furry companions. This was a minor setback, and it did not last a long period of time; however, when you’re “in the moment,” it feels like minutes have turned into hours of torture! Feeling determined, though, I was willing to do whatever it took to ensure that the day was not ruined and my daughter’s tears would fade away with smiles and laughter taking their place.
And so …
I dismounted from my gentle giant, and I offered my paint horse to my daughter. My horse is very laid back, and if she has any faults at all, it is that she is extremely s-l-o-w at times. I knew that a slower horse would be better for my daughter at that point in time instead of a stubborn pony. And so, I offered my horse to her, and she accepted it.
Having not ridden her pony but one time around the house, I was a little apprehensive. I knew that if the pony took good care of my daughter and did not put her in harm’s way, she would surely take care of me. The thing with ponies, any horse person will tell you, is that they are stubborn through and through at times. At other times, they are good as gold!
Tightening the girth, I slid my left boot into the stirrup and lifted myself over the pony and softly into the saddle. Once my right foot was secure in the stirrup, we started to walk slowly ahead. It wasn’t long before the pony tired to be stubborn with me. I gave her the reins so I knew I wasn’t pulling in her mouth with the bit, and I urged her to go forward. When she would resist and try to turn the opposite direction of where I wanted her to go, I started making her go into circles. If she wasn’t going to do as I asked her, she was going to be made to work in tight circles. Finally, she decided to comply. We walked on for a good bit, even trotting to relieve her boredom, but sure enough, she tried me once more. When she did, I insisted that she back up, and I kept insisting until I was confident enough at this point that she would walk on with no problem when I asked her to do so. Sure enough, she did, and the remainder of the ride was beautiful! We trotted, we laughed, took pictures, joked, and even started singing silly songs along the path. The day wasn’t ruined after all by a stubborn little pony!
When things are not going your way, don’t go as planned, or someone tries to drag you into drama or spew negativity at you, don’t give up, give in, or get angry. Instead, try another approach. Some times, that is all it takes to continue marching on to happier times, even if you have to switch things up for a little while.
Hold your head up high, and remain confident as you walk through any unpleasant situation. Rest assured that it will not last long. It is just a temporary set back, and before you know it, you will be back smiling, laughing, and enjoying life again.