I sighed.

In the dim light of early evening I look around the indoor. The flutter of butterflies increases as I ride toward the door. The scene of fleeting spooks, barely there and then gone. Nothing serious but still my heart knocks a little stronger each time I approach it. I no longer want to canter. Fear is starting to take up residence.

Yes, that’s right.

Fear.

It’s our natural mental response to a real threat and an important element of self preservation. Riding is a life threatening sport. One that many of us do on a daily basis. If you perceive that your life’s in danger and you’re not afraid you’re a moron. Sorry, but it’s true.

Fear is annoying.

It’s time to move on.

In order to do so, however, I have to look directly into the face of fear. Why? Because fear is one of the key ingredients to courage and it’s time to open up.

I’m afraid of falling off and getting hurt. There. I did it. But that’s not all. I’m also afraid of my vulnerability, being judged, failure, and the unknown. A lot of which has nothing to do with riding and a lot to do with the last few months. They’ve been turbulent. I’m dealing with the loss of my job and a niece that’s been hospitalized several times this month.

“Do you want to canter tonight?”

Huh?! I have a choice? Do I? Flutter, flutter. “No.” Dang it, I’m still not ready to canter. “Can we work on improving my seat and position at a trot?”

“Sure.”

Cop-out? Not really. I’ve taken a slight step backwards in order to build on the basics. If I can improve upon my current body faults at a walk or trot it will carry over into the canter. In the meantime, I’m building my confidence. My heart doesn’t knock as loudly as I ride pass the door without incident. My position is improving and I’m thinking about cantering.

I just need a little more time.

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