Never one to give in easily, K attended two more riding classes. Her last class ended early after she began crying. She’s always been afraid of animals and their unexpected movements. Getting thrown was traumatic, but she got back on the horse, and then attended two more classes. I could see she was nervous but when I asked, she insisted she wanted to ride. I think she may have agreed to continue because she didn’t want to disappoint me, knowing that I loved riding when I was a kid.

But the benefit of two parents is that while she felt bad telling me of her fear, this was one issue she felt more comfortable taking it to DH, who also doesn’t ride. She told him she was really afraid of going back, but that she wanted to keep up the classes because she enjoyed the one-on-one with the teacher.

After he told me about their conversation, I spoke to her, to reassure her that she could stop if that’s what she wanted. She had been so proud of herself in the first few classes, and insisted on photos of her on the horse. She usually hates when I try to catch her with the camera. But things had changed, and now she asked about taking a break, so we skipped a week. But I can tell she doesn’t want to ride again, at least not at this time, so we’ll back off and cancel. It’s not like she cancels out on her other after school activities. She’s very good about making most of her practices. Now she wants to take tennis with some girls from her class. I met the coach, who seemed really great, someone who could connect well with my daughter. K’s excited to get back to tennis and really likes the girls in the group so we’ll give it a go.

Now we still need to fill the void of some sort of emotional support therapy for her. I think we may try some small animal therapy. She got a lot out of it when she had the benefit of working with a great therapist at school last year, and was very proud of herself for holding gerbils. The key is finding the right therapist, someone who connects well with my special girl.