I sat there on the horse, refusing to move forward, my hands holding so tight on the reins that they were starting to turn blue. The jump taunted me from its place in the middle of the arena, almost cruelly, my fears growing worse and worse by the second.
“Just jump it.” my riding instructor reassured me. “It’ll be fine.” But to me it wasn’t fine. She was asking me to force an animal multiple times heavier and larger than me over an enormous jump with the only things keeping me in the saddle being a pair of stirrups and some flimsy looking reins. In my mind, anyone who believed that this would be safe was crazy. I had been riding horses for some time now, but never had my instructor asked me to jump.
“But what if I fall?” I questioned, scared that I would be trampled by the horse or be flung so far that I seriously or even fatally, injured myself.
“Nothing’s gonna happen.” my riding instructor exclaimed, comforting me. “Just hold on tight, look straight in front of you, and jump!”
I was nervous, no doubt about it, but I felt pretty cowardly sitting there unmoving on top of the horse, so I picked up my canter. I went a few times around the arena, saying I was warming up my horse. But really, I was taking some time to collect my thoughts and prepare myself before I jumped. Or to put it in a more simple and realistic tone, I was stalling.
Finally, the time came when I had to just suck it up and jump the horse. I swallowed, turned, and began heading straight for the jump. My palms began to sweat and I braced myself. There was no turning back from this now.
I sat up in my jumping position as my horse picked up his speed to jump. Fear rushed through me as well as a sense of excitement. Before I knew it, I was up in the air, soaring over the jump. As scared as I was, I was determined not to mess this up. My horse landed with a small thud on the other side of the jump and continued cantering around the arena like nothing had ever happened. Miraculously, I was still seated firmly in the saddle, unharmed. Surprised, I slowed down to a trot to process the fact that I hadn't just been thrown off a leaping animal.
My riding instructor congratulated me, proud that I got through it. I admit that I was proud as well. I’m not usually the kind of person that faces their fears. Instead, I usually run away from them.
Let this little memoir of mind send out a message to you to just suck up and face your fears. Whatever it is you're afraid of doing, chances are that the result won’t be as terrible as your wild imagination envisioned it. Everybody has fears. I’m not asking you to be fearless. But we should all come to realize that most of our fears are irrational and can easily be fixed. So to all of those who have taken the courage to face their fears, I say,”Well Done!”