While visiting Michigan last week, my friends and I traveled up to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron. Mackinac is a very touristy destination – it’s a small picturesque island in the Great Lakes accessible only by ferry. Some of the highlights of the island include the lack of cars (quite a novelty!), the Victorian buildings and B&Bs, the lakeviews, the bicycles, and the horses. Horse and carriage rides are one of the main attractions on the island, and so like good tourists, we signed up for an hour long trail ride.
It was nice to ride through town, and then into the forest out of the bustle. My horse, Oscar, was Mr. Eager, and constantly crowding poor Beauty, my friend’s horse in front of us. Once we got to the trails through the forest, they split us off into smaller groups down different trails – the horses know the way home.
All of a sudden, I feel Oscar miss a step. His front right leg just crumpled, and before I knew it, I was launching off his back and onto the ground as he came crashing down on top of me.
YUP – that’s right – the horse I was riding just fell – on top of me.
Thankfully, he really only crushed my foot and ankle, which I was quickly able to haul out from under poor terrified Oscar. I hopped up – shocked – and watched as he struggled to get back up. My friends had by now turned around and were equally shocked, and for a while we all just stood there wondering what to do next? I was only a little scratched up, mostly just scared, so finally we decided to just walk back – them on their horses, me leading mine.
My heart was still pounding as I grabbed Oscar’s reins. His eyes looked wild to me, and I am certain he sensed my adrenaline. He didn’t like the idea of me walking next to him, so I eventually just let him go, and he followed Beauty all the way back to the stables.
As I walked gingerly back towards town, covered in mud and a little blood trickling down my leg, I also had a huge let down and experienced a quick range of emotions, which I hid behind my sunglasses. Only one person asked if I was OK as they passed me, and several just made snide remarks about how I’d lost my horse. Very funny. But by the time I made it back to the stables I had dried my eyes and determined that I was fine, and no that was not fun, but no it also didn’t need to ruin my whole day. My friends were ready to pack up and go home, which is what they proclaimed they would do if it had been them under Oscar. However, I made a conscious choice that I could still enjoy my day, and it would be a good story later.
I feel like Oscar fell on me to remind me that life happens even when you are on vacation, and that just like on a normal shitty day, you can choose how you act and how you respond to people around you. I know the mean people joking at my pain were there to remind me that you never know how someone is feeling on the inside, and a little grace and kindness can go a long way. And I know that my sweet friends and the gorgeous sunset that night were there to remind me that the world is a wonderful place and I feel blessed to be able to enjoy it.