As soon as I walked up, I knew something was wrong. Jacob is our tour director, educator, helper, assistant, rider, and most importantly an encourager at the farm. So when I saw his sweat stained brow and dirt encrusted cheeks sitting in a chair sipping a bottle of water, I instantly knew that something was very wrong.
“I am fine!” was his greeting to me.
That’s when a cacophony of voices rose in one and told me that Jacob fell off of Milkshake.
“What happened?” I asked incredulously. Falling is not something I ever want a rider to experience, but it is a necessary rite of passage for all riders if they intend to be great riders.
Jacob is a special rider that has literally transformed himself from an angry, easily frustrated youth, to a gentle man that seeks to please others over himself. It is touching to see how this young man has gained strength, wisdom, love, kindness, joy, and peace through his discovery of what he could accomplish on the back of an opinionated Appaloosa pony named Milkshake.
He had just learned how to canter, a huge milestone for someone who was afraid to even trot. This transformed him into a confident rider that was ready to attempt jumping and cantering regularly.
When he was given an opportunity to have a free ride, he decided to perfect his canter. Milkshake was only too happy to oblige and that’s when it happened. He got off balance and realizing that he was slipping, he threw his leg over the saddle, pushed himself away from the galloping hooves and did an emergency dismount. He rolled away from the horse- textbook perfect. He was shaken, Milkshake was startled and stood over his good buddy. Everyone launched into action. Rider down. All hands on deck. Tori, the instructor was checking the damage, Eva was holding his hand, Rachel grabbed the horse, Megan was calming the other riders. The well oiled Raise Your Dreams Farm Team was reacting to their friend and fellow team mate, and when he got up all clapped as his mother shed a tear.
Eva held his hand and lead him out of the ring. He said he was not afraid to get back on, he just needed to sit awhile. That’s what happened prior to me getting to the riding ring.
“Jacob, it is official,” I said rubbing his shoulder.
“What, Miss Jill?” he asked.
“You are now an authentic rider. There is not one great rider out there who has not had a fall. It just means that you are a true rider. Fair weather riders would just give up, but not you. I am proud of you Jac!”
I grabbed his hand and he grabbed mine. I knew then that Jacob has conquered a lot in his short life, but that day revealed the man he has become. I am glad Jacob rides at my farm, he has just demonstrated his character.
Have you been made into an authentic rider? Tell your story! You know I LOVE to hear them!