Showing Off Won’t Get You Far

As we came down the bumpy road on our way home from a day of horse judging, Mom pulled the truck into the neighbor’s driveway.

“Pam asked me stop on our way home, you want to come in with me?” Mom asked.

“Sure.” I replied.

We climbed out of the pickup, and headed toward the house, Pam greeted us at the front door and invited us in. Within a few moments of being inside, the cutest boy I’ve ever seen walked down the hallway. I wanted to stare at him, but I forced myself to look at the floor.

“Becca, meet Paul, my nephew, Paul, this is Becca. Maybe you two can hang out this summer.” Pam said.

Paul smiled at me and I nervously nodded my head, “Sure, Pam.”

Mom and Pam finished talking while Paul and I made an awkward attempt at conversation. When he asked about the horses, I relaxed and told him about my show horse, and the mare I was training this summer. I found out that he liked to ride, as well, and Pam gave him permission to take her horses out whenever he wanted to.

“Maybe we can go for a ride or two this summer.” Paul’s final words were still ringing in my ears when Mom and I pulled down our drive.

Our property is within sight of Pam’s property, and I immediately went out to work with Tera, my mare. I didn’t really want to be out in the heat any longer than I already had been, but I was hoping to impress Paul with my horse training skills. I put Tera on the lunge line after brushing her down and saddling her. I looked toward my house to see if Mom was paying attention, because I was considering climbing on her to see how it would go. As she circled me and remained attentive to my cues, I became more confident, and after a half hour on the lunge line, I decided to grab a bridle. I slid the bit into her mouth with ease, and led her back to the round pen. I latched the gate, looked back toward the house, and then turned toward Tera.

“Easy girl,” I reassured her as I stuck my foot in the stirrup. I knew I could get on her, Mom and I had been working on that for the last few days, but I hadn’t gotten on her alone, or tried to do anything without Mom helping from the ground. I swung my other leg over her back and settled into the saddle.

“Good girl,” I petted her neck. After a few simple exercises to make sure she was paying attention to what I was doing with the reins and the bit in her mouth, I began to encourage her to go forward. I was the only one to go forward as Tera unexpectedly catapulted me from my seat and I ate dirt just in front of her. I stood to brush the dust off, and as I looked up I realized Paul was sitting on the top rail of Pam’s fence, watching me. More embarrassed than I’d ever been before, I realized that it is never a good idea to do something stupid to impress someone – just when things go wrong is when they will be watching.

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