At the time, Sawyer had been under saddle for about two months. I had never had much confidence as a rider, and was trying out a clinic at my new barn that was meant to help improve rider and horse confidence and communication.
I was excited when I got there and tacking up, but got nervous as I headed down to the arena. There were A LOT of riders, all cantering around the arena every which way to warm up. Sawyer had never been around that many people and instantly started acting up and getting really hot. This was my first ride without my trainer/mentor, who couldn't make it, I was alone and nervous.
I psyched myself out. My nerves got the best of me and I began walking my horse back to the stall in tears. Just then, our barn manager saw me. I call him our resident cowboy, he is never without his hat and boots, and speaks in the classic western drawl.
He asked me what was wrong, and I told him I was nervous. He asked me why, and I told him my horse had only been under saddle a few months and I didn't think I had the skill ride him in a situation like this. He asked me what the worst thing that could happen was. I looked at him, dumbfounded. I didn't have an answer.
'The worst that can happen is you'll fall. You will fall down on the ground.' He told me. I nodded. 'And until you are down on that arena floor, I don't want to see any more tears from you.'
I did the clinic that day, and Sawyer and I did wonderfully. A year later, I continue to work with Sawyer and we push ourselves every day. I am a very confident rider today, and whenever I feel the nerves kick in, I remember 'the worst that can happen, is you will fall.' I still see the resident cowboy daily, and he comments how my riding improves every time he sees me. He tells me I went from being a girl with a horse, to a true horsewoman.
What was your lightbulb moment with your horse?