You’re confidence is your weakness.’ Those words may have been spoken by Luke Skywalker to Emperor Palpatine, but as I’ve learned more than once–to my detriment–they can apply to real life as well. That is a lesson that came to me when I decided that I knew exactly how to ride a horse.
I never had many friends as a kid. I spent most of my time on my own and rarely got to go anywhere with someone my age. So, when I became friends with a girl in middle school, I was thrilled. We bonded over our shared love of music in and I developed a particular fascination with the menagerie of animals that she had, including a horse.
At some point in our friendship she invited me to come with her and her mom to the stable where her horse was. I was ecstatic. I’d been going through one of those obsessive fazes that kids have. Mine centered around creatures of the equestrian variety. I’d read dozens of books on their history, care, and breed. I even had suggested to my parents–not so subtly–that I wanted a horse. Of course, that got vetoed, but it didn’t stop me from dreaming.
When we got to the stable I couldn’t wait to take a ride. I’d only been on a horse a few times in my life and those were Someone-Walk-The-Horse-Around-The-Arena-For-You events. And somehow I got it into my head that this made me a horse riding expert. I helped my friend get her hose saddled up and taken out to the yard, minding those feet of his. I couldn’t wait to show her what an excellent rider I was. In my defense, I was nine and every kid thinks that they know everything.
My friend rode her horse first to burn off some of his excess energy and then it was my turn. I got myself on the horse and got him to move–somewhat. It turns out that a whole bunch of theory does not instantly compute into practice. Despite that, I managed to make a circuit around the ring and directed the horse back to my friend, incredibly proud of myself. Naturally, that’s when my pride took a blow.
I don’t know if the horse was still hyper, didn’t like me, or sensed that I was an inexperienced rider, but it chose that moment to act up. It reared, coming up on its hind legs and scarring the living daylights out of me. I managed to hold on and as soon as it’s forelegs touched the ground I did the one thing I’d read that could calm a horse–I spun it in circles to make it dizzy. I didn’t get very far though before my friend’s mom was there and helped me get down. Suffice to say, I didn’t get back on. I also learned an important lesson.
Pride cometh before the fall. Well, almost.
Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it.