My Name is Heather and I Have a Confession
I Let Fear Take Over
I’m a returning adult rider that has been back in the saddle about 8 years now. I rode for several years as a child but stopped because of my anxiety. Self doubt that I was not good at what I loved best.
For a long time I let that fear get in the way. It was easy to step away and say it was due to college. To get caught up in those four years away and pretend to be an adult. I focused on books rather than animals and followed a path into publishing for 12 years.
But I always felt like I was missing something. Living in NYC I would dream at night of riding bareback through the woods, the wind whipping my hair, and feeling a freedom that I could barely remember.
I craved nature. Taking a leap I chose to volunteer with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Central Park Zoo. Spending those 4 years in an oasis of sounds and exotic sites, was a band aid for what I was missing soul deep. I took my passion for animals and I used it to teach visitors from around the world about our species. One of my mentors told me something that sticks with me even to this day, “People want to save what they love”.
I Am a Timid Rider
When I moved back to suburban New Jersey, riding horses was at the top of my list. Within 8 months of giving birth to my eldest daughter, I was hesitantly mounting an aging thoroughbred packer. I was terrified and excited simultaneously.
My perspective was so different than in my memory. Suddenly I was higher off the ground than I remembered. I felt precarious in the saddle. A child at home depended on me, whether I was hurt from a fall or not. I began to sweat in anticipation of the unknown.
My desire and my fear were in direct oppostion with each other that day. Just like they were when I chose to step away as a teenager. But this time I chose to let my passion be greater than my fear. I knew that I had taken the easy way out and regretted walking away from horses for so long. I became determined to follow through.
Let your passion be greater than your fear. Click To Tweet
We took it slowly. I very quickly remembered how to hold the reins properly, how to post the trot and immediately get the correct diagonal. Small successes for sure, but they made me incredibly proud.
I’ve come a long way since I took that first step back to horsemanship. My Middle-Aged Equestrian Reinvention. I’ve had ups and downs, good rides and bad rides. Funny stories and some scary falls. The whole way back has been slow and steady. Always progressing forward, even if sometimes it feels like I’m going backward.
When I say I am a timid rider, it is not because I am scared to ride. Oh no, it is because I am scared to fail. I am scared that I cannot live up to my own expectations. That my insecurities will hold me back. Or that I will let my anxiety be greater than my passion once again and step away. Something I have always regretted doing in the past. It is only my self doubt that holds me back.
This series, Confessions of a Timid Rider, is my personal diary. My thoughts, feelings, highs and lows. The struggle is real people. Slightly overweight mother of three balancing my small business, writing, and always reaching for the goal of owning my own horse. I write this series to remind myself of why I love horses and everything they have taught me.
I write to remind myself I know more than I think, and that I am an equestrian. Thank you for following on my journey.