Horses. I’ve always loved them. As a little girl I imagined having a pony living in my back yard and riding it everywhere. Unfortunately, we lived in an apartment, so my dream was a tad unrealistic – but I was young.
When I was ten years old I managed to cajole my parents into paying for weekly riding lessons at a local stable. I’d only had a couple of lessons when the horse I was on decided to run away with me clinging to his back. It was a harrowing journey ending with me being unceremoniously dumped in the dirt miles away from the stable. Although I managed to climb back on and ride back to the barn, the next week I had a delayed reaction of sheer terror – and I never returned to that stable.
Years later, while in university, I attempted to go on a trail ride with some friends. Although I mounted the docile horse, within 100 feet of the barn door, panic set in and I had to dismount and go back, on foot. The fear had not left me.
Over the years I made many abortive attempts to “get back in the saddle” – literally and figuratively. I finally did and over time owned a variety of horses – each of whom taught me more about myself than riding. I rode for fun, became a certified coach myself, and I competed – first in the hunter classes and later on in dressage.
It took time – decades in fact – but it’s definitely something I am very proud of. I over came more falls, some injuries, more fear, some embarrassments along the way – but the key phrase is “I over came”.