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It's a long way from your heart...

That nervous excited energy, were you are scared to death, but can’t wait to try something new….. That was the way I felt when my father asked me to help him deliver our 3 year old mare to the neighbors. He had recently sold this horse, she was a little too young and unpredictable to be around, me being 12 years old, and my mother worried about my safety. Little did she know I would sit on the top railing of Gypsy’s stall, just watching her move with amazement. The natural beauty and grace of this animal has always stayed with me.

My job was to sit in the saddle while my dad walked her 2 farms down. My father has a love for horses just like I do. He grew up in Flat Rock Michigan back when there were still places to farm and ride. He was a barrel racer, and I dreamed that someday I would speed around those barrels just like he did someday.

Our walk went well, I was enjoying the sunny day, talking to my dad and laughing. When a car approached, this car was very gracious; it drove slow and gave us plenty of room when it passed. But then the vehicle backfired…… (Now this is the part where I ask for grace from my audience, I did grow up in the age of no helmets or pads and somehow made it out alive. I do make my nieces wear helmets when they ride, safety fist please)

The next thing I remember is laying on the pavement of our rural county road, my father yelling “Nik, Nik………. Nik are you ok?!?!?!?” I took a deep breath and accessed my body mentally and replied “Dad, I think I broke my back”……

“Can’t you wiggle your toes and fingers?” he yelled back, he was just getting the horse under control.

“Yeah” I yelled back.

“You’re Ok; it’s a long way from your heart. Get on up, shake it off” he said.

So I did what he said, got up and shook it off. And walked back over toward him and the now calm horse, he rubbed my hair and smiled and said “you bounce good”…. I rolled my eyes and laughed.

And in that old cowboy mentality he threw me back up in the saddle, you see we were only 50 yards from the neighbors and even though it would have been just as easy to walk her over and not worry about riding her, he didn’t want me to be afraid.

Gypsy delivered me safely to the Barn, and my dad and I walked back still talking and laughing like nothing happen. That summer I would still sneak down to the neighbors and see her with her new pasture mates. I have never fallen out of love with this beautiful, powerful, majestic beast.

What I learned that day:

· Be Brave, try new things

· When you fall, get back on

· Have a healthy respect for your body; although I love horses falling off wasn’t quite my gig. So no rodeo life for me. But I chose smarter. I learned to ride, and find my balance because bouncing isn’t as fun as it sounds.

· I also learned a healthy respect for these creatures. Just like humans they fear, love and hate. And treated with respect, and taught correctly, both you and the horse, you can have the most amazing relationship.

· Even if you hurt, mentally, physically, emotionally, take a moment to access the situation. Nine times out of ten, it won’t kill you; you just need to address it properly. By finding a process to help you grow through whatever dramatic life event has occurred, and simply “Get back in the Saddle” will help you take control. Keep living life, a life lived in fear is a life wasted.

I love my father with all my heart, I am truly a daddy’s girl and I appreciate everything my Mother and Father have done for me. I know some parents are out there thinking “OMG that is horrible!!” Please don’t, this moment shaped my life, my toughness, my work ethic and is something I look back on in hard times.

It helped me grow into the Woman I am now.

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