In 2005, I joined MANE as an AUM intern. I had no horse knowledge but was willing and excited to learn. I quickly became a valued volunteer and stayed on with the program after I finished my internship. They taught me to be an instructor and gave me a crash course in riding to be able to pass my certification. I learned how to do everything safely but not necessarily in the best way possible.
With in a year, I was offered a full time position. There was a huge learning curve. I began to stress out about everything I had to do and learn. I began to resume my riding lessons. My brain couldn’t handle all the stress and anxiety started to come out. While I can walk trot and canter, my mind only stays calm for two of those gaits. Somehow the canter has become my boogey man.
So two weeks ago, I had a huge breakthrough. My instructor has been trying to get me to canter. I am willing to try anything she asks. But my fear is making it hard. I’d get going and be so excited I’m finally cantering that I forget to ask Baba to keep cantering and he trots. So crop in hand, I smacked him and asked him to canter on. As he cantered, I remember to ask him to continue to canter. Three times! This was a huge mile stone. I felt like I could fly!
Then we changed directions and in the short time it took to reverse directions and take a deep breath, I freaked out. My arms were shaking and I had trouble getting going again. My mind had taken over and my anxiety had come out. But I tried not to get frustrated with myself and was proud of what I had accomplished. I felt good, even though I need improvements.
Then last week, I had a lot going on at work. I had lots of stress and went a step back. Trying not to be too frustrated with myself, I swore that I would do what it takes to get comfortable and confident again. If that means, making mine a private lessons instead of riding with others, then I would do just that.
The thing is I can do it and I just have to get past my mind. I feel good when I break the chains but sometimes it just seems so scary. But I’m making big strides. Take this picture for example:
I would have never done this two years ago. But here I am trick “riding”. This was so radical for me. It’s probably the most radical moment of my entire year. I truly put all my faith in this animal.
This feeling of power and achievement I felt two weeks ago stays with me. God is a strong guiding hand and give immeasurable strength. I felt like I was flying without wings. I had never imagined what joy it would bring, to let God lead me through something so nerve wracking.
“And that’s the joy you bring
I’m flying without wings”