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  • Writer's picturejshannon727


When it comes to learning it seems I prefer to learn things the hard way. In my first year of high school, I slacked off in math and had to spend two months in summer school. It wasn’t until my second son was born that I discovered you could let babies cry in their crib while you ran through the shower. While I pretended to understand romance, I didn’t once fall in love until the year I turned forty-two.

So, having learned through some hard knocks, I’m not sure why I expected riding to be easy. Perhaps it was because Joey had been a much-celebrated prize pony. It felt like he had enough experience for the two of us.

I was still only learning the basics, but after conquering pole work, I had graduated to cross poles. It was early spring. Georgia said that if I improved enough, I could do a cross pole class at the upcoming May show.

On a fine afternoon, with plenty of riders in the ring and a host of parents watching, Joey and I began a mini course that Georgia had set up. We went over a cross pole then turned right to a line of two consecutive jumps on the other side of the ring. Once we cleared the first jump, I could feel Joey’s energy change. Perhaps he wanted to impress the crowd, maybe he was bored. But what he did was turn the six strides between the jumps into five. And, while he sailed brilliantly over the second jump, I did not.

It’s said that children bounce when they fall. I was the opposite of bounce. I lay like a slug. Joey stood stock still. The look in his eyes informed me that I had embarrassed him.

Georgia hovered over me. “It’s a humbling sport,” she said when she realized I was okay.

My hip was stinging. Inside my glove, my left thumb and index finger hurt.

I took the reins and walked toward the mounting block. “I’ll try it again,” I said.

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