I will admit. I chickened out and said I think that is enough excitement for Freedom for the day. Let me try tomorrow. Lol, Freedom was totally fine. I, however, was the bag of nerves.
My memory after this is a little foggy. My uncle had a horse (the one he used the day we trained Freedom) but she was rather aggressive (would bite and kick) and bigger so I think I was not allowed to ride her as she probably would have run off with me. Some horses do not have a heart of gold and are very smart haha. Horse: Look guys this one has no clue! Let's go where I want to go WEEEE!
I may have ridden her once with my uncle's guidance just to have some idea about how to ride Freedom.
My cousin and uncles rode Freedom across the river or to the bridge near our house at times to buy rice or get soda and snacks at a Sari-Sari store ( a family-owned convenience store). So she was getting some sort of training from experienced people.
I do remember very clearly my first ride on her. We took Freedom to the river with my cousin. He told me to get on Freedom. We got on in the river even though she was mountable from the ground as my cousin would point out every. single. time. If I would fall I wanted to fall in the water and go for a swim ok!?
In the river, it was less scary for me. It was getting out of the river that was scary. My cousin pushed me to go out of the river. She is not a seahorse! I did but Freedom wanted to follow my cousin who was far away now. So she started trotting back to him. Barely. But it freaked me out and didn't give her any direction and I jumped off. My cousin laughed so hard at me. He told me if you are going to bail at least do it well and land on your feet. Not flop off and land on your side like a fish on the rocks! Freedom was like. Where did you go? She never walked off like that again.
I think slowly but surely I built my own confidence up and she babied me. I needed that. I finally got to where I would stay on for long walks. Looking back she never did anything wrong I was just so afraid which is funny because this was all my idea and what I wanted more than anything else. I think I watched too many bucking bronco video clips or something.
I remember being jealous of my cousins and uncles and disappointed in myself. I saw my uncle ride Freedom at full gallop to get something at the bridge. They would also race each other. I wanted to be able to do that.
I had another cousin more my age who rode and I asked him to help teach me. He would get on Freedom and she would canter and gallop around. He tried to show me what to do. I would get on and try but chicken out.
I also asked my uncles to help me. Everyone told me to hit her hard and she will run. I couldn't do it. I couldn't hit her. I think my relatives thought Freedom was being disobedient and I was being too soft on her. In all honesty. I could barely stay on at a trot. I had no sense of balance or control. And remember. NO SADDLE! I don't think I had any business trying anything faster and I believe to this day Freedom knew that as she refused to ever go faster than a trot with me on her and if I started slipping off she would slow down or stop. HEART OF FREAKING GOLD!
And to prove how golden her heart was. I use to stand on her to back to reach the start fruit on my uncle's trees. I would share with her the fruits of our labor of course. Though she was not a big fan of star fruit she preferred banana leaves and mangos.
One day I felt brave and up for a challenge to I asked her to go through some short bushes. She refused, flat out was like. No. That was new to me. My uncle was watching and said she was misbehaving and I need to be tough. So I was like "Come on Freedom! GO!" (my version of "tough"). Well turns out there was old forgotten barb wire hidden in those bushes and her legs got caught in them. I didn't know what was happening at first except she was moving weirdly.
Again. That could have turned out badly for both of us. A lot of horses would panic from the pain and being trapped and I as a clueless rider not knowing how to deal with that situation. Yikes. We both could have gotten seriously hurt.
My uncle saw what was happening and ran over with his bolo (machete). Haha another thing that would freak out most beings. Having someone run at you full blast like that holding a machete. It was to cut the barbwire. It was comical, not at the time, but looking back. Super funny.
What did Freedom do? She stopped moving and just stood there. My uncle was like: Cristina, I think you need to get off now. Freedom was not that big but she felt big to me. I was trying to figure out how to jump off safely and not land in barbwire myself when I felt her move again. I was a bit scared as didn't understand what was happening or what I should do. She started sitting down. Slowly on her butt and on the barbed wire. I slid off nicely onto the ground behind her on the ground. Away from the bushes and the barbwire. I am not making this up. Like thinking back as I write this I am like how?! How and why?! I am still to this day very impressed and very grateful. That is not a very normal reaction. The standing still part yes. But the sitting down to let me off part is a bit...well Disney fairytale movie-like but it is true. It is what she did. I will not complain.
12 year old me started crying. I thought she was super hurt. I thought she had given up on life and was dying. I was very dramatic and helpless. My poor uncle was probably just trying to hear his own thoughts of how to cut her out of the barbwire when Freedom calmly stood back up and my uncle was able to untangle her somehow and she walked out of it and just went on like normal. She had a few puncture marks on her leg and bum but that was it. My uncle said. " Well, I have never seen anything like that happen, she is a good horse."
Heart of gold people. HEART OF GOLD!
It is funny. Because if you put me as I am now in that situation again. I would know exactly what to do and she wouldn't have had to sit down. My level of confidence as a rider now is so much more than back then. I think she would be proud. And she would be glad she wouldn't have to sit on her ass to save my ass. The riding was nice and slow. Not Like Freedom gave me much of a choice but eventually I was confident at a trot and we were making a lot of progress.