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May 2007
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Death Wish

My husband says I have a death wish. This is purely based on the fact that I ride horses. I try to point out to him that everyone participates in “risky” activities… say, driving a car? walking across the street (I can’t tell you how many times I almost get run over while trying to walk Roxy [best dog in the whole world] downtown)? eating sushi? … and that we all just choose an acceptable level of risk with which we’re comfortable. He does not buy this line of thought. He says things like, “Cars have seatbelts” or “Cars have airbags” or “Cars don’t do neurotic things” or “Horses are crazy.”

The problem is that Doug’s introduction to horses was traumatic. Like many small children, he went trail riding on a family vacation. Like happens to many people, no one told him that horses do not really go on auto-pilot, they have minds of their own, they’re prey and therefore flight animals (who seem irrational to those of us who are predators). And like so often happens on these kinds of trail rides, the horse ran away with the child version of my husband, who, of course, had not been told what to do in those circumstances. There’s a reason why, when I teach lessons, I don’t let my students go for rides outside the arena either until they can steer and stop and walk and trot on their own, or unless I have a lead rope attached to the horse. Anyway, let’s just say Doug has a deep-seated belief that horses are scary and his relationship with me and my horses hasn’t convinced him otherwise (yet).

It didn’t help then, that Doug’s first experience with me showing my horse was the aforementioned Fall #6 in which Doug thought I was going to die. Or that at my first “real” show with Sadie, he also saw me fall (#9 ). These are just two of the reasons he thinks I have a death wish and I suspect he probably has his own list of reasons besides.

Now, I’m not an especially brave person. I’m kind of a wimp, especially as far as horse girls go. I really don’t think I have a death wish. Don’t people with death wishes have to be daredevils? That is most certainly not me. I do like a good challenge and reaching a goal is one of my favorite feelings. More importantly, I just like horses. I like riding. I’m willing to risk being stepped on and bitten and knocked down (all of which have happened to me and which make me sound like a pretty masochistic person). I’m willing to risk falling off. I don’t fall off a lot. So far (knock on wood) I haven’t been hurt, and I always wear my helmet.

But every now and then, I do something that makes me think maybe he’s just a tiny bit right about this whole death wish thing. Usually it’s at the prodding of my Instigator Friend Mariah (now, she is brave. and a daredevil.). And so I find myself staring in the face of less than 3 weeks til my next competition. Sadie is just barely jumping the competition height (although we did compete at this level before… see Fall # 9). I don’t feel ready, although I do feel more ready than last time we competed at this level, so that’s got to mean something, right? I just hope I don’t die. That’s why I purchased the good-luck talisman that came in the mail today (and why I’ve been wearing all 4 of my good-luck green earrings for the last 2 weeks). People with death wishes don’t buy good-luck talismans do they? Especially not ones in the form of praying angel lapel pins.

I do hope it works. I like winning. But living is even better.

p.s. Just in case it ever comes up, if I’m brain dead, please take me off life support. Really. And donate my organs.

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