This is Eli

A blog about Eli. A blog about survival – and by that, I mean life!

I woke up with a headache, a happy baby and a grumpy daughter and husband.

Mark and I decided to have a party attended by us alone for the NBA final. Not that I watched the game. I drank wine and played on my phone while he called friends to gesture and yell about sports things.

Oh, the wine. That was not the best idea with a horseback riding lesson first thing the next day. I don’t drink much wine these days. I’d rather be sleeping. A glass will do it for me. One or two more and I’m swinging from the chandelier that we don’t have.

Eli was sweet and cozy bright and early, chatting and smiling all through his morning PT on his vest. Mark and Laila were a couple of grump twins, which does not mix well with wine headache. I pulled on my cowgirls and hopped in the car. I was making an escape. I was a runaway mother.

Going somewhere feels good. And then in crept the guilty feeling that accompanies me when I do something for and by myself and not for or with my family. I didn’t feel *that* bad. Just saying, the guilty thought is there, right before I paint my face blue and yell, on behalf of all moms, “…they’ll never take OUR FREEDOM.”

It’s just my third lesson with Reba and Charlie the champion ranch sorter. Last time, we went from trotting to loping, the stride before you gallop.

The fact my mom, in a last stage of cancer, rode every week with her preferred horse friend Blackjack now astounds me. It takes core strength to ride, and leg strength, and mental strength, as I found out today.

I could hardly deal. I kept apologizing to Reba for forgetting everything she ever taught me about the basics – like tying a special knot, putting on Charlie’s harness, etc. I felt like a mope! I actually took a few pictures so I could remember this stuff:

She got onto the tan quarter horse Spiderman without a saddle. Then she had me trot and try to lope in small circles.

The fear of falling off kept creeping into my head. My head. Ugh my head. My head hurt. And now my head was running away, galloping toward self doubt.

I hate it when that happens.

I would lose form when I pulled back for Charlie to stop. It’s really tempting to lean forward and grab the saddle horn like a chump. Actually, that throws off a rider’s balance, and puts me at risk of toppling over Charlie’s head when we stop. Instead, a rider needs to sit really straight.

I also tend to pull back the reins now and again when we go faster, sending the poor boy mixed signals. I freaked myself out when it came to loping in a circle.

So I’ve a little road block: my fear of falling off the horse. But we ended on a good note – trotting in a small circle, something I could manage today. Reba told me to go easy on myself – hey, it’s only our third lesson.

Even with my little issues, it was great to get out, ride and chat with a cool lady and take in some sun and fresh air.

I hopped back in my hail beaten beater, covered in a film of sweat and dust, and drove north, toward the skyline.

My headache had disappeared, my little grumps had cheered up, my baby was still happy.

It was good to be home again.

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