Back in the Saddle Again

This is a story about how I overcame a fear this year. Yippee!

I have always loved horses. When I was 13 I began taking riding lessons. I rode English style at Windmill Farm and my teacher’s name was Karrie. English style saddles have no saddle horns and you use one rein in each hand to guide your horse. I took lots of lessons and little by little I got used to riding horses and I even got really good at it. I started competing in horse shows and won a lot of ribbons. At one of my shows I got first place and it felt great. I was really proud of myself and my family was very proud of me, also.

Everything was going really well until one dayI was at practice with my riding teacher, riding the horse I rode all the time, Mariah. All of a sudden she took off at a gallop and ran across the barn yard right towards the other horses. I was so surprised and scared and started screaming and screaming. My riding teacher told me to hang on to the English saddle. I could not stop her because I did not have a free hand and you need two hands to ride English.

Finally, the horse stopped. I was so scared that the next time I came for a lesson Karrie had to put me on a steering rope, a rope that the teacher hangs on to that is attached to the horse. She used it to try to give me courage to trot.

But for months I was still scared. I decided not to ride horses anymore. Everyone was really sad including me. One day I got so upset that I ran up to my bedroom and took down all of my horse pictures and ribbons that I had won and threw them in the garbage. My mom came and fished them out of the garbage and saved them for me. We did not talk about it for a long time.

Then I started to go to Scholars Together Learning Community. One of the things all the STLC students do is try to meet our fears and find a way to get over them. One of the goals I made was to start to be around horses so that I could face my fear and then get over it. We made a plan to go and just pet a horse with my classmates. The day we went the riding teacher was too busy to work with us but told us to call her to arrange another time. The funny thing was that my teacher, T, didn’t realize that it was the same place and the same teacher I had worked with when I had the scary experience that had happened more than a year ago. This got me thinking about really wanting to get over my fear of riding.

I started thinking about horses a lot and I finally decided that I was going to go to Maybury Farm for a trail ride. I was a little nervous at first, BUT I GOT ON THE HORSE ANYWAY. One of the people led me to the water bucket and we started down the trail. Pretty soon I felt comfortable to ride without anyone leading me. It was great and I loved it. It felt so great to be on a horse again and it was so pretty and relaxing in the woods on my horse. I wish I hadn’t waited so long to try it.

My plan is to go with my family on a three-hour horse back ride up north the next time we go to our cabin. After we take our ride and know what the horses are like, the owners will drop them off at our cabin for the day.

I’m so happy to be riding horses again and who knows, maybe I will start taking riding lessons again and be in horse shows. For now I’m happy that I faced my fear and got back up on a horse again. I have already gone back to Maybury to ride and will  go up north for lots more trail rides.

Jenny Roberts, STLC student 2011-12

 

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