Photo credit: Foter.com
The next day, Adila got online and searched for nearby horseback riding lessons. She had never been on a horse before, but she had read that rough horseback riding could cause miscarriages. It seemed like a long shot, but she didn’t have many options at this point. She found a place a few miles outside the city, made an appointment, and drove out there.
“Now the first thing you need to know about horseback riding is to keep your weight in the stirrups,” said Dave, adjusting the lengths of her stirrup straps while she sat astride the horse. “You want a little bend in the knee. Not so much that you’re squatting on the horse, but enough so you can press down with your heels and keep your weight in the stirrup, while still sitting in your saddle. There. How’s that feel?”
Adila flexed her ankles, letting her weight rest on the balls of her feet. “Good.”
“It looks good. Let’s get you started.”
He led the horse into the training ring and they got started. As Adila began to get the hang of it and she and the horse got to know each other, she started to feel more bold.
“How do I make her go faster?”
“We’ll worry about that when you get there.”
“OK, but just for future reference, how would I make her go faster – when I reach that level?”
“Don’t think about that now. Just focus on keeping your heels down. I can tell you’re still not keeping your weight in the stirrups.”
Adila focused on keeping her heels down, her head up, and her eyes on where she wanted the horse to go. Meanwhile, she thought about the many movies she’d seen and books she’d read with horseback riding. Everyone always kicked the horse and yelled when they wanted them to go faster.
Adila decided to go for it. She didn’t have time for endless lessons before Dave would let her pick up speed.
She waited until she made her next turn around the ring so that she was facing an open field. The only thing standing in her way was the fence, but she figured the horse could just jump that. Whether she could stay on the horse while it jumped was another matter, but she’d have to try.
She knew from watching movies and TV that she’d have to throw herself forward against the horse’s neck so that she remained relatively perpendicular to the ground. Seemed easy enough. As long as she kept her weight in the stirrups like Dave kept telling her to.
All righty. Here goes nothing.
Adila kicked the horse hard and held on tight. It leaped into a full gallop right there in the training ring. As much as she had tried to prepare herself for the leap over the fence, Adila had not sufficiently prepared herself for the horse leaping from a steady walk into a hard gallop. She lost her grip on the reins, her feet slipped out of the stirrups, and she slid right over the horse’s butt and onto the ground behind it, just narrowly missing a hoof to the head as the horse left her in a cloud of dust.
She lay on the ground, trying desperately to suck air into lungs that refused to function, as Dave ran after the horse, alternately screaming at Adila and at the horse.
Once she had recovered her breath, Adila sat up on her own (Dave was long gone after the horse, after telling her never to return), and felt her stomach, as if she could tell from the surface what had happened deep in her uterus. Had she done it? Was it gone?
Adila checked to make sure she wasn’t seriously injured before limping to her car and driving home.
She had to wait until she was in her own bathroom before she could check the status of her latest attempt.
No blood. No liquid of any kind. It was another failure.
To be continued…
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