Now that we have taken this ‘virtual beating’ with COVID-19, much like falling off the horse and having it rollover on you, we need to dust ourselves and carry on. It’s in the American blood. We are truly a resilient people with great resolve. WW1, WW2, 9/11 and on. So take a good look at this video and we’ll talk about what happened next, which is the real story.
I was filming this and when it happened, I ran into the arena with my daughter down, and watched her slowly stand up. I did not panic, I waited to see the outcome. Her face had been pushed into the dirt and darker lines were coming down from her eyes where my little one, then 12, fought back the tears. She seemed to be ok, and the FIRST THING she did was check on the horse, Toby, to make certain he was ok and structurally sound from the fall. A selfless act. The dirt had been a little damp and deep and Tennessee Walkers aren’t famous for barrel racing for good reason, but this was truly unexpected, much like COVID-19.
I had someone else hold my horse and ran out there, still filming, quite by accident. The arena judge looked at me and asked if I wanted control of the arena at that point as she knew it was my daughter, as I too am a Gymkhana Judge (CGA). I said ‘yes’, and she said “Your Arena, Judge”, at which point I knew what had to happen. I looked at my daughter, and said “Rider, what would you like to do?”. Without hesitation she answered, “I came here to ride and I’d like to finish the course”. “Rider Up” and she then mounted Toby, and with determination and grit, not only got back on, but finished the course fast and well, to a standing ovation of over 150 folks. The “higher up” girl riders that snubbed her as she was younger and less experienced, gathered around her as if she was a pot of gold, praising her courage. It is with that same courage we need to face the changes that are now in front of us as a people, as a world. Yes, things will change, but it truly doesn’t ruin everything any more that this event ruined her life. Yes it had the potential, but the point is it didn’t, and for that I remain thankful. We as Americans, have so much to be thankful for, we can’t let this situation “ruin everything”. In fact, it’s not capable of running everything unless we let it. It’s that simple.
That day will forever be etched in my mind, as I am not so foolish to think there could not have been a different outcome. But I also realized that she became a different person that day. A stronger person, yet with a cautious component. Fortunately, the horse also realized he was falling and did what he could to cushion the fall as he used her as a soft doorstop, like a soggy newspaper. Comparatively, we won’t forget the COVID-19 and the havoc it wreaked on lives, our way of life and roiled the markets. But hey, things could be a LOT worse folks. We could have TRUE food shortages, or a tainted water supply. We’re going to be OK and it will certainly take a while to restore our nerve endings.
I also learned of human determination, not mine – hers, and what we are capable of after having taken a fall. She’s American and by default, that makes her strong, I hope this has provided some small amount of inspiration so when the time comes that our lives return to some level of normalcy, we’re not shy about getting back in the arena, even if we’re not quite 100%. Yes, that’s a cast on her arm!