October is Dare-to-Do month – or ‘How did I agree to riding a horse?’
I’ve always loved animals and all through childhood and adolescence I spent a lot of time on the neighbouring farms, helping with the milking, bottle-feeding lambs, bringing in the hay at harvest time, driving a tractor when I was still well below the legal age (in those days that was still possible) and lots more.
As a family, we had rabbits and dogs and we looked after a variety of neighbours’ pets - but I have never been close to horses. One of my cousins had a horse and she was always telling me about how she enjoyed riding with an enthusiasm I just couldn’t share. I vividly remember one Sunday, I must have been about 7, when we went to visit my uncle and aunt, and after lunch we went to see my cousin’s horse at her riding stables. Then my memory goes a bit hazy as I can’t remember how I could possibly have agreed to accept her offer to be put onto this horse and be led all around the stable block and the adjoining field. In my memory this horse, a grey, was huge and I remember being absolutely terrified. The horse seemed incredibly wobbly (I have very little balance), and I recall feeling very sorry for my parents as I was an only child and I was convinced that I would fall off with fatal consequences – which I didn’t. However, ever since that experience I have been very wary of horses and even when my daughters occasionally went riding and one of them worked in a livery yard, I never warmed to them, even though I do admit that they are beautiful and intelligent animals.
Moving forward to 2019. One Sunday evening, a visitor called Ali came to Evensong after she found us on Facebook. Ali was looking to join a local choir and we chatted about our churches, music, hymns, what goes on in the benefice and lots of other things, but how we came onto the topic of horses, I don’t know. But somewhere during our conversation I must have slipped in that I don’t like horses and that I’m really quite scared of them. Little did I know that Ali is also a well-known horse trainer…. The rest, as they say, is history. Within weeks Ali became our new choir leader and when we were talking about fundraising ideas, she came up with the idea of ‘Dare-to-do – which should feature me overcoming my biggest fear – riding a horse! I protested, a lot, but to no avail. I tried to get one of my of daughters on my side, but she shrugged her shoulders and said ‘you know, Mummy, it’s really difficult to fall off a horse – and I think it’s a brilliant idea!’
So here were are. I agreed, well, it was not so much me agreeing as me being persuaded to give it a go. In the meantime, I have met Ali’s beautiful horse Oriente and I’ve had a lesson in how to get onto the horse, stay on the horse, move with the horse, and get off the horse (in a dignified and planned manner).
And in order to raise funds for our churches, I have agreed to ride up the church path at Holy Innocents Church during our next Café Church session which will have a different format in October. The theme is ‘Dare-to-do’ and the service will include a pet blessing, so bring your dogs, cats and other pets along - cats and other small animals need to be brought in suitable carriers, dogs on leads. For more info see advert elsewhere in this Newsletter.
And now it’s over to you. We hope that everyone in our community will join in our Dare-to-do initiative, do something you’ve never done before but always wanted to do, or overcome one of your biggest fears and try something you’ve never dared to do. This could be joining a new club, learning a new skill, reading a lesson in Church or maybe a more exhilarating challenge like a parachute jump. The possibilities are endless!
And of course you can sponsor me and others who are undertaking their personal challenge. Information will be available in both our churches and on our website, and the primary schools in Gt. Barton and Thurston will also be taking part.
See you at Café Church on 20thOctober. Where: Holy Innocents Church. When: 9.30am for breakfast followed by Dare-to-do, informal worship and blessing of animals.
Rev’d Manette Crossman, Vicar of Great Barton and Thurston
Tel. 01284 787554 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in Christ,