So this city girl … she wants to be a jockey.
Everywhere we go, every sidewalk we encounter, it’s a race.
Seabiscuit vs. Secretariat. Man O’ War vs. Zenyatta. Pegasus vs. Crystal Warrior. I watch her gallop down the block by herself, listening to her call invisible races to the wind.
“Zenyatta … Zenyatta … Zenyatta at the wire!”
These fleeting glimpses of the world within … they’re spell-binding.
Every weekend for the past year, she has been taking riding lessons with her mother. Not jockey lessons, sadly. But horsey horse lessons, or whatever they’re called. A few weeks ago, the trainers thought she was ready and asked if she wanted to be in her first show, and what else was she going to say? She was ecstatic.
She got to put on some fancy fancy riding garb and wouldn’t take off the jacket while she waited, despite the rolling waves of heat.
“I want to be ready,” she said.
I always marvel at her on a horse. It’s a selfish, self-centered thought. For six years, most of the things she has done in life, she has done with me, whether it’s sports or crafts or simply frolicking on the playground. I know her abilities and limits in all areas. Except horses. I’m scared to death of the beasts, and riding is something she does with her mother — it’s their thing. So every time I see her ride, I marvel at the control she has, the strength and the pride in her efforts. She’s fallen off, she’s had her foot stepped on a couple times, she had her hand stepped on once and required a cast for a week. And yet … she gets back on. This is more than proverbial. I would have called it a day, and she simply saddles up again. Before she left for the hospital, she demanded to go see the pony that stepped on her hand, just to tell her there were no hard feelings.
So this was an official horse show, complete with ribbons and prizes and, seriously, gift bags filled with the names of Realtors and samples of wrinkle remover. When I do events, the gift bags are filled with power gels and water bottles. She had those, too, except hers advertised accountants and car dealers. What have we gotten ourselves into?
But I digress.
She rode like a champ and managed to grab third place, just ahead of one other girl. She was beyond words. (Click on this picture to see.)
It was a thrill to see all her hard work in action, following the judge’s commands — posting, two point, jumping position — and I couldn’t help but imagine that this is what it’s going to be like from now on, just sitting there on the sidelines, catching glimpses of the constellations coming to light within.