CONFESSIONS OF A TIMID RIDER
As I plunge toward the ground, I see the face of my horse above me blocking the sun. For that split second before I hit the rain-packed ground I close my eyes I think to myself, “Avoid the hooves”.
This moment was one I dreaded since I became a mother. The thought of falling off and hurting myself in front of my children was something that plagued my nightmares and caused anxiety.
A few months ago, I had a near miss. Delight and I were in our weekly lesson at the barn. We came in a little too slow to the cross rail. Delight lost his balance, tripping over the rail, and we both started to fall.
In slow motion, I can still see Delight’s nose touch the ground. I slipped slowly down his neck, clinging for dear life. All I thought in that moment was if I topple over his head, he might become more unbalanced and land on me. So I slowly picked myself up and scooted back, lifting Delight’s large thoroughbred head up to help him regain his balance.
We were okay. That time. But I was shaken. I did not fall. Delight did not fall. We regained our balance, no one was hurt, and nothing bad happened. But I kept replaying the scene in my mind. The WHAT IF factor. The image became stuck in my head for the rest of our lesson and I could not let it go.
“GET OVER IT”.
I hear it frequently during lessons. My trainer sees that I am no longer connected to my horse. I am absent. Now too much in my own head.
It’s a chronic problem. My entire life I have been very cerebral, balancing ideas and considering outcomes. Horse riding has been a way for me to escape my own brain, or try to at least. Warring between self-doubt and my passion for horses.
I’ve been called many things, but “timid” never in my memory. Perhaps in a way this will show you just how important horses are to me in my life. Because this matters. Horses matter. And as a result, I want to be the best I can be. Sadly, this results in self doubt and delayed progress. I am my own worst enemy.
These are the confessions of a timid rider.