The mark of a true rider isn't how many falls they have taken - no, it's that they have perfected the infamous rider waltz.
What? You've never heard of the rider waltz? Sure you have - it's that scramble you do to get back into the saddle, the graceful pirouette you perform while in the air, and the artful tumble that you take as you reach the ground. All riders learn the rider waltz at some point, and an uncooperative horse or misjudged stride will certainly teach you this dance quickly!
The riders in this video have perfected their waltzes with strength and courage. Their horses are impressive dance partners, giving their riders the chance to dismount at any second. Take a look - have you ever given these dance moves a try?
Riding is all about learning that sometimes, no matter how much effort or planning you put in, things go wrong. That's part of the dance, especially when you're working with a 1,200-pound partner with a mind all of his own. Gravity doesn't help, either, and let's just say that some landings are softer than others.
Falls are inevitable, no matter how great a rider you are. And falling can be scary - it can be enough to make even the best riders hesitate about climbing back in the saddle. And that's why remembering that it's all part of a rider waltz is so great. The waltz can make falling a little less frightening, and can be just the dose of humor that you need to lighten up the situation a bit.
Life with horses requires courage and guts. It also requires the determination to get back in the saddle again, even when things go wrong. The next time that you find yourself doing the waltz, remember that every rider has been there, and will be there again.
The dance is just part of the ride.