The grade school aged boy was attempting to mount the horse as we entered the riding area. The staff and volunteers provided assistance and loads of encouragement. After a few tense moments, the boy overcame his fear and was in the saddle. The horse then started gently walking around the arena with volunteers flanking each side of the boy, who now appeared to be having a grand old time. The whole scene was pretty self-explanatory and a privilege to watch. Then one of the volunteers approached us, barely able to contain her excitement. She proudly exclaimed to us that the boy had been there several times before, but this was the first time he actually got on a horse. The joy and enthusiasm in the air was obvious, as was the fact that Katie and I made the right decision to volunteer at a therapeutic horse riding center that serves both children and adults with disabilities.
My experience with horses is quite limited, but I am told that they will properly train me to do everything I need to do. Actually, my horse experience consists of crying my eyes out at age 3 after being placed on a donkey that was sitting still. I also almost cried my eyes out at age 7 or 8 when I rode a horse for the first (and only) time in my life. Now that I think about it, I might be able to empathize with some of the kids who are apprehensive, as we may have a bit in common.
But not that much in common...their courage far exceeds mine.