Red Wine Kind of Night

Britton has been working the last couple of nights on a “homework assignment” for her second grade class. I glanced at it briefly last night- thought it a little off that it was all about horseback riding, on white copy paper- with a sign up list for potential riders. Being that Britton has an active imagination, I tucked it into her LL Bean blue flowered rolling backpack this morning, and sent her on her way.

At pick up this afternoon, Mrs. C, her second grade teacher, said to me, with a big smile on her face, “I just love your daughter. I have to tell you what she did today. She did a ‘presentation’ for the class about her horseback riding, and Cherry Hill Farm. She talked all about it, had a sign up sheet for those interested in taking lessons, and sent home a hand written permission slip for her friends to take home. And to top it off, she told them at the end, “now remember, be sure to have your parents read and sign this permission form before you bring it back to me.”

We rolled her backpack to the car after school pick up, and I quizzed her a little about her “presentation”. I could tell she was very proud of herself. Such the creative child. She then said to me, “Mommy, remind me to ask Miss Rebecca about getting maps of how to get to Cherry Hill Farm. I want to give them to my friends that sign up for riding lessons.”

That toothless kid is so damn cute.

So we drive from school out to Britton’s beloved Cherry Hill Farm. That cute toothless kids puts on her paddock boots, skin tight riding pants and new North Face pink fleece jacket that her daddy bought her. Daddy’s girl.  She helped to tack up a new pony (new to her), named Daybreak. He is a large white pony.  I jokingly said to her instructor, “Is Britton going to be jumping this very large pony today?”.  Rebecca assured me that Daybreak was a good little pony and is just a large pony.

 It was freezing today so me and Kenley stayed in the tack room at the barn throughout most of her lesson. 

Towards the end we went to the ring to watch.  No camera today. Britton had been riding really well, especially for the two other little 3rd grade girls that were sharing our lesson today.  Just as the lesson was ending, Miss Rebecca had Britton jump a line. The horse large pony is suppose to trot and then jump the pole.  I was there, as was Rebecca’s mom – Rochelle- and the other girls mom- Mrs. Brown. I could tell something was wrong when Rochelle said under her breath, as much as to me, “why is that horse cantering the jumps?” Next then I heard  was her yelling something- either to Britton, Rebecca or to the pony. But that large pony was not posting, trotting, nor cantering- but was now galloping with my baby gripping onto the reins for dear life. So I admit am new to this whole horse thing, but all I could think as I watched in what felt like slow motion, my baby fall off- was Christoper Reeves. She fell off the right side of the pony,onto her right shoulder, just as the pony took off until a full-blown run around the ring (is “run” a horse term?).

I quickly jumped the fence and ran into the ring where I could see Britton’s wind had been knocked out of her chest- she was trying to catch her breath and seem obviously shaken and a little confused.  Rebecca reached her before I did, and calm as a cucumber was knelt beside Britton speaking calmly, accessing B- she looked at me and told me that she could breathe, that she was fine and calmly said, “Mom I need you to leave the ring. I’ve got it.”

It was at this point that I looked up only to realize that Kenley, my shadow, had followed me into the ring and Daybreak was still spooked and galloping around the ring. Right near little Kens.  Bailey, Rebecca’s niece was already on top of it and had gotten to Kenley to carry her out just as I was yelling at K to get out quickly.

Needless to say, I was ready to pack up our cute riding clothes, get in our heat-warmed-seats SUV and throw in the towel for this whole horse thing. But not my Britton. She said to Sassy tonight, “I could tell Daybreak felt bad for what he did”.

So I walked out of the ring, leaving my child on the ground trying to get her wits about her. I knew Rebecca had it under control. And oh did she. Miss Rebecca had Britton wiggling all parts of her body, no tears, even a laugh within 6 minutes. 

While I wanted to pack up, wipe my hands and says, ‘well that was fun, but we wont be doing this again” Britton was ready to get back on the horse.  Back in the saddle again. Only this time, Bailey got on with her, just in case. And to think we bought that pony garnet polos. I told daybreak that I plan to take them back if he ever tries a stunt like that again with my baby girl on the back.

My toothless newly-initiated real horseback rider is fine, a little sore, but ready for next week when she will ride once again. She showed me today not only that she is in this for the long haul, but just how brave she is.

I am proud of you Britton.

Now I have to finish my glass of red wine, because you damn near gave me a heart attack today.

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