So I met up with Sherri at a stable in the Palisades in New Jersey. Once I got there, Sherri was already trotting away atop a horse. As I walked closer and saw her beaming smile, I knew that she was filled with pride because she was no longer afraid to ride a horse. Her positive attitude gave me the motivation to at least try.
After several attempts to putting a helmet over my big, curly hair to no avail, I was almost ready to give up. “Nothing fits,” I said with less disappointment than glee. But after Sherri finished riding her horse, she handed me her helmet and it fit. Secretly, I cringed. “Great, this fits,” I forced a smile.
I walked over to the steps to climb on the horse and immediately had second thoughts. The horse bucked and made neighed and I was all nerves. “Get closer to the horse,” the instructor urged me. “Stick your foot in the stirrup and swing your leg around to the other side.”
I followed her instructions and felt like the horse was not able to support my weight and stepped down. “I don’t feel stable enough,” I whined.
“It’s fine, just swing that other leg,” She assured me.
And I did. OMG I was on the horse. I felt so far up, I started to have second thoughts. That big animal between my legs felt like one huge muscle flexing beneath me. “This is crazy!” I laughed as the horse began to trot. “Whoa,” I said, as my body bounced up and down from the horse’s gait. “Can we slow her down?” I begged.
The instructor slowed the horse down and as we trotted slowly, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. I didn’t feel secure as the horse bounced through the snow and I felt way too high up, but I almost forgot that the victory was already won! I was on the horse and riding it. “Can I get off?” I asked.
“Sure,” the instructor said, standing there. We didn’t ride back to the step I used to get on the horse.
“How do I get down? Do I jump?” I laughed.
“Yup,” the instructor said. “Lean forward, hug the horse around the neck, drop both legs to one side and hop down.”
“Hug her? Ugh!” I said while leaning forward. The muscles in the horse’s neck contracted as I hugged her tight. “Can she breathe, I’m holding tight!” I let out a nervous laugh.
“Yes, just go quicker,” the instructor giggled.
I sat up. “Ok, here we go,” I hugged the horse’s neck again, leaned all the way forward and swung my legs down and with my eyes closed, I jumped. From atop the horse, it felt like I was jumping from a 2nd floor window, but once my feet hit the ground and I opened my eyes, I smiled. “I did it.”
I looked back to see how far I’d ridden the horse and was shocked to see that we literally trotted a good seven steps. “I thought I rode farther than this,” I said to the instructor.
“The first couple of trots are nerve-wrecking, but you did well. You should definitely try again though,” she encouraged my small conquering of my huge fear.
Although I felt super accomplished at riding an animal that scares the living daylights out of me, I didn’t see myself ever wanting to try this again. But at least I did it once!
Have you ever conquered a fear? Tell me your story! @Rhapsodani
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