When life bucks you off the saddle…

So, a few weekends ago I was indulging my passion.
I was riding a big grey thoroughbred, named Casper.
Now, I love this horse.  He is huge, gentle, and used to be on the racetrack.  He even has his racing number tattooed on his inner lip.  Casper and I have a long, meaningful relationship.  Last summer I was by his side for hours and hours while he weathered an attack of colic.  It was a life or death struggle for many hours, and I stayed with him as my riding teacher showed me how to take care of a horse in distress.

Since that time, Casper has been my walking miracle.  We went deep with one another that day, and I feel the depth and breadth of the bond that happens when you march through the valley of the shadow with an animal, and survive.
I have not been riding that long—only two years—and it was on his back that I learned how to really collect a horse, because he loves to be really, really ridden.  He wants to feel my ongoing continual support on his front end and back end, strong leg and contact on his bit, because he is so huge—over 17 hands.  He needs his rider’s help organizing his long legs and big body.  I have developed some good deep riding muscles, riding him.  He is not for sissies.  So I had to stop being one.

I was at the barn, taking a lesson on him, which is still a miracle to me, since the close call last summer.  We were outdoors, and the day was gorgeous and sparkling.  Casper seemed to be a little uncomfortable—hey, he is no spring chicken, he is 16 years old, retired from the race track, and very sensitive.  But we were doing well together.  Towards the end of my lesson, he started grinding his teeth.  My teacher Cyndy said that it means he is getting a bit nervous, and we should probably stop soon.  But she said you should never ever let the horse determine when you stop, so let’s have you canter around the ring one more time, and then we will go in.
Off I went, happily cantering my big handsome guy around the ring.  Until he suddenly freaked out and bucked me off.
Freaked.
Bucked.
Tossed me on my ass.
Scared the sh*t out of me.
I stood up, trembling and shocked.

My teacher said, get back on.
I said, you are crazy.
She said, get on him, right now.
My body was shaking so badly that I have no idea how I got my foot in the stirrup.  In my head I was thinking, no, no , no, no, no, no, I can’t I can’t I can’t I can’t.
But I trust my teacher.
This was the first time I fell off, but I know she has seen people through this, thousands of times.
And I remembered the Womanly Art of Having Fun No Matter What.  And I thought, this is one of those no-matter-what moments.

So, I got back on.
And still trembling, my teacher had me walk Casper.  Then trot him.  And I slowly relaxed.  Then she asked me to canter him.  And I did.  My body somehow knew what to do—slight pull on the outside reign, slight touch with my heel on his side, and off we went.  Once around, and we were finished for the day.  I walked him back to the barn, which I don’t remember at all.  I took off his saddle and bridle.  I brushed him, which I remember vaguely.  And then, I turned him out.
At home, I noticed I was dropping everything I touched.  I was still in shock.  So, I put myself in an Epsom salt bath for one fat hour and chilled out.

I wanted to tell you this story because every one of us gets thrown.  Tossed.  Whipped off our pathway by some force greater than us.
Getting thrown is just going to happen—no matter what we do.
We get thrown in our parenting.
Our relationships.
Our dating.
Our love affairs.
Our friendships.
Our physical practices, like dancing, working out, yoga.
We get thrown by circumstances which are under our control, and by circumstances which are out of our control.
And the big determining moment in a woman’s life is this: what do we do when we get our ass blasted? What do we do when we get utterly decked?  Crushed?  Thrown off our game?
Do we quit?
Run away?
Hide?
Or get back in the saddle?
These are defining moments for a woman.

By getting my sore and shaken butt back up on my big grey stallion, the last moment I took away from that day was, “Hmmm…look at me…I am riding again.”  Instead of succumbing to doing what I wanted to do, which was run away and cry.  Or have a shot of tequila.  Or suck my thumb, twirl my hair, and hold my blankie.
The Womanly Arts are the place to reach when life is kicking your booty in some scary direction.  I want you to have these tools under your belt so you always feel like there is a place to lean, when you have been trounced or tossed—since it is going to happen to all of us, someday, some way, somehow.  I’ll be taking you deeper inside these Arts on my blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned this Thursday for the first installment of my brand new video training series…

So, I want to know, what it is that you do when you get your ass kicked?
What Womanly Art do you reach for?
What Tools of the Womanly Arts have supported you in crisis?
Do you run for the hills, like I wanted to do?
Or jump back in the saddle?
Post below and let’s inspire one another with our stories.  And, if you liked this post, please be sure to share it with a friend on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

With so much love and pleasure,
Mama Gena

P.S. I’ll show you how to not only get back in the saddle, but jump the fences and gallop toward your desires, in Virtual Pleasure Boot Camp.

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