A few months ago when I went out to the barn, my mother-in-love sent me home with her copy of Arabian Horse Times. In it, there was an article dedicated to women over the age of 50 who were still very much riding their horses despite a fear that was instilled in them by whatever experience they had had in the past. Sheryl thought it would be beneficial for me to read it since I’ve had some issues with fear and decreased self confidence. Granted, I am not a lady over the age of 50, but there is definitely a fear in me of falling off and messing up my hip replacement or worse. Plus, who in the world WANTS to fall off of their horse? I can’t imagine anyone relishes that feeling, but I digress…..
In the article, they talked about a book called Confessions of a Timid Rider by Heather Wallace. Just the title of this book alone called out to me; “This is you! You need to read this book!” So I got on Amazon and ordered myself a copy… The one thing that absolutely stood out to me with this book is that the writer is very relatable for a lot of equestrians. As much as I absolutely love Charlotte Dujardin, I don’t expect to be as good a rider as she is, competing in the next Olympics. There are a lot of us out there that are just a run of the mill Joe, riding our horses just to better ourselves and our riding. Heather is an every day woman, balancing her family life and her barn life which so many equestrians can relate to. I may not have kids, but I still have a hectic life and balancing time spent at the barn, sleep (since I work night shift and sleep during the day), work and time with my hubby is challenging in itself.
It’s so refreshing to read about someone who has a similar feeling in regards to horses. In my heart, I always wish that I could be this hardcore woman, fearless and ready to jump on any horse just to tackle a challenge (cue some super awesome dramatic music) but my brain always whispers the warnings of what could go wrong. Sometimes, I don’t even have to get on the horse to feel my nerves already getting the best of me. Usually, once I get on and get going, I’m good to go, but I know that it makes me tense and any horse that I ride can sense it.
Another great thing about this book is that it’s full of a lot of truths that we don’t want to admit to ourselves as riders. One quote in particular really got to me:
“Sometimes the very thing your are most afraid to do is the very thing you have to do to be happy and successful.”
For me, this has more to do with a good fit between horse and rider than anything. I’m at the point in my equestrian life that I’m pretty sure Schatzi is not the right horse for me right now. And my fear is selling her to someone who won’t take good care of her. But I feel stagnant in my riding, like I can’t move forward with her, because she’s too much of a horse for me to handle sometimes. She needs a more experienced rider to put a lot of time into her. This point alone does absolutely nothing for my confidence. I can’t move forward if I’m constantly terrified to get on my horse in the first place. Granted, I’m not completely terrified riding her in a western saddle, but she is still quite a handful for someone who is less experienced like me.
Heather ends her book with another great quote:
“Face your fears and push through them however you can to follow your passion. Because the very thing you most fear is the very thing you may need to be happy.”
The more I read the two quotes above, the more sense things make where I’m at right now with my riding and with my horse. And it just verifies what I’ve known all along, but haven’t been willing to admit to myself. There is a sort of no-nonsense(ness?) to this book that makes you truly look at yourself to see what you don’t want to see.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration. This lady not only made me feel better knowing that there are other people out there that feel the way I do about riding, she also inspired me to start writing more than just my blog. The possibilities in life are endless if you have the courage to get out there and try!
Have a great week! And if you’re celebrating New Years, stay safe out there!