I’ve seen this photo make the rounds on Facebook for quite some time. And each time I see it I can’t decide if this kid is having fun . . . or is scared out of his mind! The expression could go either way.
As a parent, it worries me to see his left foot in danger of slipping down through his stirrup, but I also know how much confidence kids can gain from accomplishing a challenge that scares them.
This kid has the same expression on his face that my daughter had when we rode on the Journey to Atlantis ride at Sea World in Orlando. It was the first year she was tall enough to go on the ride. Half way up the first incline, she asked if she could get off now. The rest of the ride was spent with that expression on her face. Now she rides roller coasters that I don’t even like to watch, let alone ride.
As equestrians, we’ve probably all been where that boy is now. Every time you push your own comfort zone you have that little twinge of fear and wonder if it was really such a good idea. Most of the time, I’m pleasantly surprised that what scared me at first, is quite manageable and might even be fun. Occasionally, I realize that it had been smart to be afraid.
At least for this young rider, his pony seems well up to the challenge. He’s got his game face on and looks like he’s going to finish the course regardless of any rider indecision. Would that we all be so lucky to have rides with so much confidence!