the power of belief
Charlie didn’t know he didn’t know how to ride a horse. The thought never occurred to him. It only occurred to the adults in his life. For Charlie, things were simple; more than anything, five-year-old Charlie wanted to rope a wooden cow from a horse’s back. I agreed to give Charlie riding lessons, but I’m thinking I learned a lot more from him than he did from me.
During his first lesson, I had him do arm circles, around the world, touch his toes, touch close to the horse’s ears, and close to the horse’s tail.
“Can I rope the cow yet?”
“Not yet, Charlie. you have to do a couple more things.”
So, I trotted the mare, and had him do all the previously mentioned exercises. He did these things effortlessly. I had him get into a two-point position. Usually, the first time kids do this, they hang on to something; the saddle, a saddle safety strap or the horse’s mane. Not Charlie. He did his two-point position without holding on to the saddle, the horse, or anything. He held his arms out like he was a soaring bird. No idea he didn’t know how to ride a horse. It never occurred to him.
“Can I rope the cow yet?”
“Charlie, let’s wait until tomorrow. You can carry the rope then.”
He learned his emergency dismounts in a flash. Just like his western heroes in the movies, he knew he would have to jump off quickly and run for that cow. Did it at a walk, did it at a trot – no problem.
Doubt never entered his mind.
The following day, I was letting my horses run freely in the indoor arena. Suddenly, the door opened and the horses made a dash for it. I was helpless. But, there was Charlie. An adult would have closed the doors. But no. There was Charlie, anxious and early for his lesson.
Before I could utter a sound, he thrust his plastic ‘Excaliber’ into the air and let out a roar.
My horses turned tail faster than jack rabbits. I hustled over to the door while my horses snorted and recovered from their fright.
“Hey, Charlie. Come on in so I can close the door a little bit more.” He stepped inside.
“Can I rope the cow today?”
I conveyed nonchalance while my heart was beating so hard I could feel it in my fingernails. “Sure. Your mom in the barn?”
“Okay,” I said as I put my hand on his shoulder. “Go tell her I’ll be ready in 20 minutes. You can start brushing your horse. Sound good?”
“GREAT!” He flew out the door, and I shut it behind him.
My horses came over to me and I couldn’t help but laugh. I empathized with them. It was my first glimpse of Cowboy King Charlie wielding his plastic sword, too.
Before the week was out, Charlie was cantering on his 15.1 hand Quarter Horse. He was steering the mare with a hackamore, roping that wooden cow, and roping everything else he thought was worth roping. The horse loved it.
She stood motionless while he jumped off, and was happy to stand next to anything so he could climb aboard again.
Charlie pursued his dream, and he pursued it single-mindedly. It’s amazing how fast we can learn and perform when we don’t have unsettling thoughts bouncing around in our heads.
Horses mirror everything we project whether it’s fear, doubt, courage…AND Love.
Charlie’s horse had a clear picture because Charlie never faltered. At five years old, he gave her his clarity of vision, his purpose, his Joy and his innocent pride.
It may be that she gave him an even bigger gift…
She helped him ‘rope that cow’.