I think a lot of riders can relate to the ‘good old days’ when falling off was no big deal, or when you would literally ride anything someone pointed you at. I was definitely that kid and that teen, and I attribute many skills I have now to valuable lessons taught by those horses. But a surprising takeaway from all of that is now, as a young(-ish) adult, my self preservation drive is sky high. Gone are the times I would hop on a strange horse, or be the test drive dummy for someone else.
In some ways, I honestly hate it. I hate that I second guess things. I hate that I get anxious about certain horses. I hate that I grew to resent my own horse, when she began to put me in a precarious situation over fences. I used to be brave, I used to push the envelope, and I used to beg for a challenge.
Whereas in the past few weeks, I pretty much broke down to my trainer about her well trained thoroughbred…and asked that I not ride him anymore. He was never dangerous, but I was so focused on my anxiety over him, that I had stopped learning and stopped enjoying. Again, stupid self preservation. At this point in my life, I’m not willing to keep pushing if it doesn’t feel right.
Changing lanes a bit, my husband grew up around horses, and broke his own mare to ride in middle school. Since then, he has sat on a lot of baby horses, and when his mare’s first colt was old enough to be ridden, he wanted to do it. However, this time, he grabbed me as back up, had a lead horse to help, and kept it very short. As he got off, he laughed at my teasing and said “I’ve got too much on the line now”.
And it’s true. As kids we only really answer to our trainers, maybe to our parents. But as adults, we have family who rely on us, trainers who care about us, careers to maintain, and lives full of things other than horses. So while I hate the second guessing, and the general increase in anxiety, it’s important as adults that we be our own advocates and do what feels right. Even if it means slowing down the growth process a bit.
Everyone loves to ask me what I’m wanting to buy next, but my honest (and boring) answer is something that I feel safe on. They laugh, but it’s true. Apparently I’m past the days of reckless bravery…and that’s okay, I’ll just have to find a way to fill that void with a boatload of confidence and experience.
Happy Friday everyone!