From Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul II

Kids Bounce,Adults Don’t!

Maturity means being emotionally and mentally healthy. It is that time when you know when to say yes, when to say no and when to say WHOOPEE!

Author Unknown

I love watching my daughter ride because she loves riding fast and jumping high. She also loves getting on her pony she outgrew several years ago, tying the reins in a knot and cantering a course bareback while holding her hands straight out to the side.

Now call me crazy, but I find having access to the reins to be an important part of riding. In fact, I can think of a lot of things I would rather do than jump without reins—mop the floor, fold the laundry, figure out my taxes, go to the dentist, put up hurricane shutters. Things I try to avoid at all costs would suddenly take precedence over riding if I knew I had to go on a rein-less ride.

I knowmany adult riderswould look atme likemy hairwas on fire if they knew I no longer had the need for speed or danger. There are plenty of adult riders out therewho still love the thrill of a good gallop on a lightening fast steed.

Unfortunately, I have turned into the kind of rider who wants a steed that hasn’t galloped in many years and has enough sense not to come out of their stall if they spot lightning within a twenty-mile radius.

Yes, I have become a riding wimp! The older I get the more wimpy I have become, but I haven’t become wimpy without reason. It is a result ofmy theory that the olderwe get the less we bounce. And when I say bounce, yes, I am referring to falling off the horse and hitting the ground. If you watch a kid fall off, they usually hit the ground, bounce to their feet in a matter of seconds, stick their hands in the air like they have just finished an Olympic gymnastic routine and proclaim, “I’m all right!”

Kids may bounce, but adults usually don‘t. When an adult falls off, they tend to sit on the ground for a minute and try to figure out if anything is broken. If all bones seem in order, then they try and decide what went wrong before standing back up. It makes sense to me. A quiet time to sit and reflect is sometimes necessary in our busy world. So what if it happens to be in the middle of the ring while others are waiting. And so what if it holds up a lesson, a clinic or a show. I think kids these days don’t have enough patience, so learning to wait while an adult enjoys a few minutes of relaxation while sitting on the ground under their horse may just help teach kids an important quality.

I watched my adult friend Linda fall off her horse while jumping not long ago and was impressed that even though she didn’t bounce, she was back on her horse in under five minutes. But at the end of her ride when she dismounted, she realized her knee had taken a nasty whack during the fall and she couldn’t really walk.

Now a child rider would just hop on one leg if this happened, but for some reason adults usually do better on two legs.Maybe it’s becausewe haven’t hopped in so longwe have forgotten how, or maybe it’s because we know if we have to hop around the barn for the entire day we will get so tired we will eventually fall over, land on a hoofpick and end up needing stitches. And who wants to explain a strange hoofpick injury to the nurse in the emergency room.

After I left Linda nursing her hurt knee, I thought aboutmy theory on adults not bouncing. That’s when it hit me that even though I might not bounce anymore, there are areas of my life that are better because with age I have gained experience and wisdom.

The first thing I thought of was that the older I get the better I amat backing up the horse trailer bymyself. In fact, I can now back up the trailer and almost make it look easy. And because I am older, I know better than to take the trailer through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. Sometimes horse trailers get stuck if you do this, just don’t ask me how I know.

The older I get the more I realize I am in charge of my own life. So if I go to Animal Care and Control to renew my dogs’ rabies tags I can adopt an old yellow lab because I know I am saving her life. I can do it because I ownmy own farmand can have asmany dogs as I want, even if I already have toomany. I don’t have to try and sneak a dog into a college apartment and then realize I can never hide the fact from my landlord that I have a dog because the dog ate all the baseboards and chewed up the curtains. Don’t ask me how I know this either.

The older I get the more fun I have going to watch a Grand Prix at Wellington. I can sit in the stands and not suffer from any nerves because, thankfully, I am only a spectator and not showing. Because sometimes if your nerves get too bad while showing you will hyperventilate and have to sit in the warmup ring with a paper bag over your mouth while all the other riders stare at you. Don’t ask me how I know.

And finally, the older I get the more I enjoy watching my daughter riding around the ring with no hands, jumping her pony and having fun. I know if she falls off she will probably bounce and I know that I will never in a million years try something so silly because if I did and I happened to fall off, I know adults don’t bounce. Just don’t ask me how I know!

Jan Westmark

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners