Teri Vance: Getting back on the horse
I spoke to Carson City Leisure Hour Club this week, and it was a lovely experience with lovely people.
I gave a presentation called, “Lessons Learned Behind the Hump of Camel,” kind of combining stories from my life with life lessons delivered at the camel races.
It was a fun speech to give (although I have to admit I spoke so fast in the beginning I ran out of breath).
But one of the stories has stuck with me over the week. Although it’s one that has been told many times in my family (It was one of my dad’s favorite to tell), I thought of it in a new way when I shared it this time.
It was a day that started like many days started in my younger life. My three sisters and I were working cattle with our dad.
In addition to raising cattle, we also bred and broke horses. So at any given point, we were each riding horses somewhere on the spectrum of gentle.
On this day, I was riding Pony Boy, a strong and good-natured gelding. He did, however, have this habit of occasionally bucking in that transition from a trot to a lope. And he did that on this day.
I didn’t take it too seriously at first, but that turned out to be a mistake. It didn’t take long for me to find myself violently thrust into the ground.
As the story goes in my family, they were tipped off to the situation when they heard, “Pony Boy, noooo!” ring out through the desert.
Dirty and wounded and humiliated, I caught him up.
“That sucker just bucked you off for the hell of it,” my dad pointed out. “Are you going to take that?”
In my mind, I answered, “I guess.”
Out loud, I answered, “I guess not.”
So I got back on.
And I got bucked off again.
The story goes (and it’s probably true), I cried out this time, “Pony Boy! Not again!”
Now everyone knows the old adage, “you have to get back on the horse.”
And I agree. But there are exceptions. There was no point of me getting back on this horse, even my dad knew it.
Instead, my sister, Leanna, who is a much better horsewoman than I, got on. And promptly got bucked off, too.
By this time, my dad was no longer amused.
“Am I going to have to ride him myself?!” he shouted, not really asking a question.
Leanna assured him she could do it, and proved herself on the second try to be right.
Once, she rode the buck out of him, we switched horses back.
And I was able to get back on the horse — with a little help.
And that’s the epiphany I had this week. There’s no shame in asking for help when we just can’t do it on our own. We should graciously accept it when offered.
Just as long as we get back on the horse as soon as we can.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.