I believe that anyone can overcome any fear if they put their mind to it. No matter how great the fear is and how overwhelming it may feel, you can face it. It may take months, even years, and plenty of failures to conquer that fear, but, in the end, it will be worth it. And no matter how difficult it may seem along the way, there will always be someone to help you persevere. Something that many people don’t know about me is that I own a horse, and I volunteer at my stable most weekends, teaching little kids how to ride and feel more comfortable around horses. Last year, a little girl walked into the main office crying. Her mother was half-dragging the child into the room, and told the riding instructor that her daughter, Hope, was here for the lesson. The young girl yelled that she didn’t like horses anymore and wanted to go home. I overheard the conversation and walked over to the family. I offered my hand to Hope and told her it was going to be okay, that I was going to stay with her the whole time, and she shyly took my hand I asked her name, and she launched into an explanation of why she was so terrified of horses. She told me that she had loved horses and it was her life-long dream to ride one, until she witnessed her uncle’s riding accident, where he was almost killed. Ever since, the sight of a large animal sent her into tears. I just bent down and gave her a hug. She looked comforted and decided that she would try to ride the stable’s sweetest horse, Jessie. As she walked up to the horse’s looming shadow, Hope yelped and ran. But this girl was different, when she looked at Jessie, I saw pure terror in her face. Most kids were nervous, but Hope was beyond nervous. It made my stomach flip over just to imagine what she was thinking.
Hope’s mother was ready to pull her daughter out of the class and take her home, she was going to give up. I asked her teacher and mom if I could work with Hope for a month to see if she could overcome her fear. They agreed and Hope came every single day for a month. I had her read books to Jessie every day, feed her, groom her, write stories about her, and spend as much time with her as possible. Finally, we decided she was ready to try riding. As I tossed her onto the horse’s back, Hope began to cry. She shook silently while Jessie took her first step with the girl on her back. But then her expression changed. She looked tentative, but then thrilled. She turned to me with a huge smile on her face and said “I love it.” She had finally achieved her goal to ride a horse and overcome her greatest fear. And Hope had down’s syndrome. She also had a heart disease, and was probably going to die much earlier than most. But she still had the courage and perseverance to ride a horse. Fear is an emotion that can be defeated. It will be difficult, but it is always possible.
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