Isabella was in a horse show this weekend.
It's only the second show she's ever been in. And this time she was riding a horse, not a pony, a HORSE! He is as gentle as gentle can be, but he is huge! And my little girl looked SO small sitting on top of him. She has been riding Cowboy, that's the horse, for awhile now so they were used to each other, but it still gets me every time I see her on him.
She was nervous, not to ride Cowboy, just to be in the show. Cowboy was nervous, not because of Isabella, he just was. It was a bad combination. On a good day Cowboy doesn't like to go slow. He will walk if he has to but he hates to trot, he would MUCH rather canter or better yet, gallop. NOT a good idea for a show.
The first time around they missed the very first jump. They had to circle around and start again, her daddy and I cringed a little but she didn't give up. She placed last in that class but she didn't let it get her down. Her daddy and I thought maybe the nerves had worked themselves out and we were ready to cheer her on in the next class.
The second time around they started out beautifully. She looked great, Cowboy looked great, they cleared the first four jumps effortlessly. Then, on the fifth jump something went wrong Cowboy took off for the jump too early (really this is up to the rider to control but I'm that rider's momma so I'm going to blame it on the horse!) and Isabella lost a stirrup, she landed rough. The last jump, jump number six comes right after jump five. There is no chance to reorganize and just before the last jump Isabella was thrown from the horse.
I don't know exactly what happened. I was recording and so focused on the picture on the camera that I heard the gasp of the crowd before I realized it was MY daughter that was thrown. She popped right up, completely fine and uninjured, but had to walk off the course. Needless to say she finished last in that class too.
Now, honestly, how easy would it be at this point to just give up? Isabella had NEVER fallen from a horse before. She has been riding for over a year and never even come CLOSE to leaving the saddle. This is was going to be the turning point. Things had officially gotten hard. Would she walk away or get back in the saddle?
I know for a lot of people this wouldn't be an easy decision. There are too many people who choose to walk away when things get hard. Too many people who won't get back in the saddle once they've been thrown. Too many people give up when the going gets tough. What was my daughter going to do? I had my suspicions, but I honestly didn't know. I was on my way to check on her, to make sure she wasn't hurt when I saw it. My daughter's head high above all the others, already sitting atop of Cowboy again. I don't think my heart has ever swelled so big, I was that full of pride.
She went right back out there, ready for her third class, and you know what? She got first place in that class! First place out of six. First place when she had finished dead last the last two times. First place when it would have been JUST as easy to walk away, to say this is too hard, to just give up.
There are lots of silly things I keep, memories of different stages my kids have gone through, the blankies they loved, the pictures they painted. Some would say I keep too much stuff. There are other things I've gotten rid of, toys we loved but are done with, certificates representing who knows what, pictures they painted. Some would say I have gotten rid of too much. But that first place ribbon? That is something I will NEVER get rid of!
When things get hard, when you are thrown off the horse, will you get back in the saddle?