My mom adventures in Fort Collins

My kids are forcing me to face my fears

It’s true, my daughter Scout is forcing me to face my fears. Well, one fear exactly. And it’s not noble or based on some circumstance that would conjure up sympathy from nearly everyone. Nope. It’s silly. Really.

I have a fear of horses.

It started a long time ago, when I was in college. I travelled to a few different cities in Europe, and from what I remember the cobblestone streets were narrow and filled with tourist-trap carriage rides. In my mind, the horses that carried these replica wagons were behemoths. So, I guess I’m not truly afraid of horses per se. I’m afraid of  Clydesdales on steroids with hoofs the size and girth of cast iron frying pans. With each whinny of the horse, I feel a compelling urge to turn my head to avoid the horseshoe imprint bound to land with a “Pow!” akin to the Nintendo game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out.

So here I am, of course, with a daughter who responds to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” with the ever-popular “Cowgirl.” She’s got the hat and the boots, but the rocking horse and the stick-horse just aren’t cutting it. She needs the real deal. We are taking pony riding lessons at The Farm, a local rec center.

The prospective cowgirl, prior to her first lesson

I am not sure why exactly I thought that I would be the appropriate party to accompany my wide-eyed Dale Evans-wannabe on this journey. But here I am, leading a horse named Scout on a dirt track while my daughter named Scout has the time of her life.

Scout and Scout take on the world!

Please take your pick of my most awkward moments:

  • Given that our pony was my height, but other ponies were barely taller than the preschoolers, the lesson in grooming the horses was lost on Scout since she could barely reach. So I had to do the grooming. I don’t even groom myself most days, and the dread I cut out of Ruby’s hair a few weeks ago should tell you how stealthily I exercise grooming regimens around here. I think Scout (the pony) recognized my uneasiness with the curry comb.
  • Given that our pony was older and experiencing something called ‘swayback’, she had two saddle pads and one very huge saddle (comparatively large since, as I said, many of the other ponies were barely 3 1/2 feet tall). My kid naturally hasn’t birthed any children of her own yet and thus isn’t a card-carrying member of the sherpa club, so I had to schlepp all this stuff over to the horse and saddle the horse. By myself.
  • Given that our horse was apparently cantankerous or hungry (or both), the old beast was off munching on creeping Jenny and leading me all about the dirt track whilst all the other ponies were quietly waiting to be mounted by the 35-pound equestrians-in-training.
  • Given that my Scout (the human Scout, not the pony Scout) had insisted on wearing her red cowboy hat and then later was required to wear a helmet while riding, I got the thrill of trying to hold a hat in one hand while leading the crabby weed-eating pony against her better judgement to leave me in the figurative and literal dust. I will submit my application to the University of Wyoming’s rodeo team as soon as I can find my chaps.

Giddy-up… Wait, stay out of the weeds!

Add to any of this the fact that my daughter’s name is Scout and her pony’s name was Scout. Well, that’s just a coincidence, right? But there was an auburn-haired mare named Ruby as well. So, The Farm and I obviously have the same taste in names. Mine human, theirs equine.

One thing’s for sure: My discomfort did not affect my daughter’s enjoyment. She can’t wait to go to her next lesson. She tells me she’d like to pick either the pony named Fritz or the pony named Rosie.

Hmm. Fritz? Rosie? Those would make such a cute names!

The cowgirl emerges victorious!


6 Comments so far
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I like Fritz! I’m glad you faced the fear, and especially liked your Mike Tyson’s Punch out reference.

Comment by RFL

I guess it would really be “POW!” not “Pow!” Sounds more forceful, right? Don’t tell your husband and his horse-lovin’ family what a huge whimp I am, okay? Thanks for commenting!

Comment by jaymers

Glad you faced your fear of horses! Love that your daughter’s name is Scout – Scout is one of my favorite literary characters of all time! 🙂

Comment by jeandayfriday

I haven’t been back since the first night… so while I’m facing them, I’m not exactly conquering them. And, as for the name, me too!

Comment by jaymers

It’s cool that your daughter’s interests are helping you grow. Maybe you and your daughter can do an equestrian version of synchronized swimming. Now, that would be cool!

Comment by memyselfandkids

See, I think that sounds like a wretched ordeal. You say “cool,” I say “terrifying.” To each their own, I guess. HA! Thanks for commenting.

Comment by jaymers

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