This I Believe

Katie - Elk Grove, California
Entered on May 12, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: fear
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Getting Back on is Necessary

When I was in the eighth grade I started taking horse back riding lessons with my best friend. Every Friday it was routine to get all dressed up and carpool out to the stables where we’d have already assigned horses that just needed saddles. I loved everything about these Friday evenings. I loved how hot the summer nights were, the smell of the barn, tacking up the horses, learning how to ride, I loved every bit until I saw someone fall off. It was almost as if I had felt exempt from the possibility of losing my balance until this unexpected evening. I was in the middle of my lesson when another rider went speeding past me, faster then any horse I’d ever seen before, the rider was screaming and the horse was going crazy. Within a matter of seconds the horse bucked her off, she landed on her back in tears and I, I was in shock. I was terrified to even take another step, but I did. Somehow I continued with my lesson and I made myself feel better by thinking of how unlikely it was for two riders to fall off in the same night. Little did I know, all my fears were about to come true. My trainer encouraged me to start cantering so I lead my horse into a canter but instead of holding him in a controllable speed he took off with me running faster and faster we made circles around the arena. I tried to make him stop but I just wasn’t strong enough. I had remembered my trainer telling me once that if I couldn’t get my horse to stop to point him at a wall and he’d stop before he hit it. So I did all I could remember and aimed my horse at a wall, he wavered in hesitation and I was petrified. The wall approached us and as I was ready for the whole thing to be over my horse pulled a fast left and surely, I flew into the wall. With out serious physical damage I was faced with a decision to make. Do I get back on the horse? Do I walk off upset? My trainer said it was necessary for me to get back on and ride that night. I didn’t want to, but I knew if I left there without accepting the challenge it was likely that I’d never get on a horse again. So I climbed back on and surprisingly the horse was good to me. He accepted that he couldn’t defeat me, and understood who was boss. And I of course felt better because I learned it was possible not only to conquer my fears but really look them straight in the eye and overcome them. It’s not just about getting back on a horse, it’s about showing that fear in your life that you’re better then that.