I challenged myself today. Pushed myself beyond my comfort zone. There I was standing in the shade of frozen fear. My arms and legs were moving as they were supposed to, but my mind was scrambling to exit the situation in the most peaceful, respectful, and speediest fashion. I told my brain to quit the four alarm anxiety attack and let me be here and figure it all out on my own.
I signed myself up for lessons on horse care, handling, and riding. Sounds great doesn’t? Nope. I love the beauty of any horse. But put me within touching distance of any sort of horse and I get scared. I’ve ridden a few horses as a child and absolutely loved it. Nothing ever happened between me and horse. In my mind anything bigger than me must be dangerous. Here it was my challenge; get over the fear of this animal.
Yes, my body flashed through moments of panic and anxiety through my first two hours. I requested to be given, “Nikki,” the oldest, most docile, and smallest horse of the group. There I was with Nikki learning how to brush her and get her clean. With a brush in one hand, I laid my other hand on her muscular and sleek back and asked her, “Nikki, can you feel my nerves?” She blinked with her gorgeous eyelashes assuring me to keep brushing and get over myself.
Next, I was to untie my pal Nikki from the fence and lead her around the ring and learn to hold the lead and control her. YIKES!!! What?! This animal is taller, more powerful than me, and I am to lead HER around the ring?! OMG I THINK I AM GOING TO PASS OUT. Then I remembered to breathe. I told myself, do it and quit thinking. I figured Nikki realized she got the dud of the group and let me lead her around. The next thing the small group I was in was to trade off horses and get to walk with each horse. OMG how quickly could I exit this entire situation?! Too late someone came to take Nikki. I ventured off to the side of the ring hoping no one would notice and continue the lesson. There it was, I heard my name being called to lead Celynas. Oh Celynas, so much taller than me and so alert to the wild rabbits hopping outside of the ring. There was one moment when Celynas appeared to be excited to see a rabbit and I was the one telling her she would be fine let’s just keep moving. I handed off Celynas hoping that I could go lay down and recover from the fear that was raging on and off through me. Nope. There he was, my final horse to lead. He liked to nip, lick, and do anything but be lead around the ring. Oh, and yes, the tallest of the horses we were using. His name is Callahan. I took the lead and just about passed out. My trainer noticed and did half a lap with me, giving me a pep talk that I am in charge. There I was leading Callahan, I begged him to behave and I would respect him in return. Callhan and I worked our way for a few laps without and affection from his mouth.
Next was riding and we were all going to use the same horse; Callahan. Oh dear me what Callahan has gotten himself into. It came time for me to get in the saddle and in a moment of anxiety I blurted out to the trainer, “I am terrified of heights and horses!!!!” I got on and immediately started laughing; it is what I do when I am scared. Callahan wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t go forwards or backwards. The trainer asked me if I understood why. I had no clue; maybe I should just end the evening? The trainer indicated to me that Callhan can feel how scared I am and he was not going to move until I let go of all my fears and trust him. OMG. Seriously. Ok, and there I did it; I let out a huge sigh of air and my shoulders fell to a relaxed state and just like that Callahan started moving forward. With each of his limbering strides, I had to get myself secure in my head and body, because I was sure I was going to tip off the side of the horse. I got off the horse and leaned on the gate and smiled. The one of many lessons were over and I did it. I conquered my fear of animals larger than me. Yes I will still be scared each time I go back. But nothing will feel like how proud I am of myself in putting complete trust in something so unknown.
I should have known that my body and brain would process the entire day in my sleep. Here I am in the middle of the night woken up by night terrors. I started laundry, turned on the Golden Girls on the tv, drinking ice water, and having a protein snack. It has been an hour and half and my night terror has mostly faded. I still have Callahan on my mind; thinking about the next time I will see him. All positive thoughts.