Lessons Learned From Riding Horses 14

I am grateful for the lessons Dad taught me while riding horses together when I was young. One obvious lesson was to get back on the horse when you fall off or are thrown. However, my dad used our horses to teach so many other lessons.

When I was around eight my Shetland pony bolted with me on his back with loose reins and my feet out of the stirrups. My dad did not panic instead he got within hearing range to shout these instructions, “Hold on tight, remain calm, and focus on grabbing the reins to slow down.”

When life seems out of control I’ve always referred back to this. I also learned something else valuable that day although at the time I did not realize it. Every time my dad and his horse got close my pony ran faster.

Finally, I had to yell to my father, “Stay back.”

When my pony realized my dad’s horse wasn’t close by, he did slow down. This allowed me to grab the reins and the stirrups.

What did this teach me you wonder?

It taught me that sometimes as parents we have to step back and let our children handle things themselves. This does not mean not being there, my dad wasn’t too far away after all. It is more about being supportive without stepping in which can be very hard as the parent I tell you. I think it is especially difficult when your child has any difference that makes life harder for them. Yet, even they have to be able to work some problems out for themselves.

I learned the lesson.

Yet, it is still hard to remember especially when I see one of my children hurting for some reason. They both are now old enough to ask when they need help and since one day I hope they will be on their own, I have to let them grab the reins themselves while being close enough by to offer advice.

How I sometimes wish life were as simple as it was when they were toddlers! Back then the greatest pains could be kissed away. And before you ask, yes, both of them allowed me to kiss away their pain then. “Oh those were the days my friend!”


  1. I am in the process of stepping back a little with my almost 9 yo, just little things to give him some independence and pride. He is so thrilled with himself now that the walks the 8 minute walk to school on his own, while I sit worrying *sigh*. Letting go isn’t always easy, but this is a lovely way to look at it and remember that it has to be done. Thanks, and thanks for joining in Blog Gems. Jen

    • Jen,
      I know, so hard to do and it doesn’t get easier as they get older either. *heavy sigh* Thank you and thanks again for doing Blog Gems. It is my favorite blog hop.

  2. It sounds like you had a really good dad! I always liked reading about horses but didn’t have any opportunity to be around them and have always been a bit afraid of them.

    It is definitely hard to step back. I am working on this one with my son, but it’s a slow process for me.

    • Thank you for stopping by! I did have a wonderful Dad and I’ll always be grateful for all the lessons he taught me. I was lucky to grow up in a rural area and to have a father who loved animals and nature as much or more than I do.

      I made a promise to my oldest when she was a baby that I would let her grow up, but believe me it is not easy. There have been lots of times that I have had to remind myself of that promise. Now I also remind myself that she will be gone all too soon, so I really have to keep this promise.

  3. Sue this was WONDERFUL! I love the story and the analogies that go with it. You’re pretty cute in the picture too. 🙂

    You’re SO right about stepping back. It’s so stinkin’ hard for me to keep my mouth shut and let the kids handle whatever it is. SO.STINKIN’.HARD!!!

    Thank you for sharing this! Well done. 🙂

    • Laura,
      I know it is extremely hard! My cousin has kids in their twenties and we talk all the time about how parenting doesn’t get easier. It just changes. I really can’t imagine how hard it was for my parents when I moved so far away.

      As to the picture, I think I inherited the jeans from my big brother which explains the oversized belt. Plus, my poor pony looks mad. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that the silly girl had the lead rope on his butt. lol

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