“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
What a terrifying experience, this canter! The sickness in my stomach, the dizzying heights, the sudden increase in speed, and the wave-like motion with every stride were almost too much to bear. I screamed as Rena kicked off into a Canter because of my mistake. Her being a barrel horse and having a Western saddle on is probably what kept me from falling off. I realized that I accidentally gave her the signal to canter instead of trot. Ha! I thought trotting was bad, but it turns out trotting is nothing when compared to the terror of a canter. I squeezed my eyes shut as I held on desperately. Then, all of a sudden, it was over! I slowly opened, my eyes and came to the realization that I was sitting on Rena right in front of a fence and she was just standing there. I must have run her into the fence. I look over to see my mother and Elana trying their best to contain their laughter. Even though I was alright I could still feel the knot of fear in my stomach. It would be quite a while until I ever cantered again!!
Fear makes you irrational which thus leads to bad decision-making. It’s an emotion not loved by most people. Whether it be a fear of spiders, or a fear of change, you cannot get rid of these fears unless you face them head on. For instance, when I first cantered, even though it was accidental, I was terrified! However, I knew I had to get over it somehow if I was ever going to jump which meant working on it. Later on in life after I was FINALLY comfortable with trotting, I began working on cantering. I remembered the fear from before, and that stopped me from cantering many times when my mom would say I should. I’d usually just pretend I had a stomach ache or I was too tired to canter, but in reality, my fear stopped me from doing so.
Then it happened. I forced myself to overcome this fear. My mom tied the horse I was riding (her name is Chiquita) to the lunge line and while I sat on her, the anticipation boiling in my stomach, I almost gave in to the fear. My mom kissed at her and she took off! I squeezed with my knees instantly! Oops. I had to relax or else I would fall off. I happened to be in an English saddle which only made things harder. Oh well. I would not succumb to this fear, however! I managed to make it a loop around on the lunge line before my mom had me go the other way. It was so fun! The fear turned into an intense thrill. I was soon able to leave those fears behind.
Running away from your fears will never help you get over them. In reality, running away from those fears probably makes it worse because then you are not used to those fears and therefore you aren’t just unable to handle them, you also won’t know what to do if caught in one of those situations. So let’s face reality and get those fears over with. Now, I do believe it’s okay to be scared of certain things, like poisonous snakes, but that does not mean we should be oblivious to these fears. For instance, learn to wear hard thick shoes when walking outside to avoid getting bit by these poisonous snakes. Or learn to identify the rattle sounds a rattlesnake will make when you are near it. The point is when dealing with fears, either overcome them or learn to cope with them.