#15 Competing For The First Time!
Eight weeks of facing my fear of horses have flown by, and the time has finally come to shine and put my non-horse-fearing moves to the test.
On the day of the show, I arrived early to North Coast Equestrian Park to scope out my competition. My trainer pointed to some extremely small 9 and 10-year-olds. I knew they would be young, but I didn’t realize how young. I thought to myself, if I beat them in the competition, that’s just mean and embarrassing given I’m almost three times their age. And if they beat me, that's even more embarrassing!
My family, friends and co-workers showed up to see if I have really been going to lessons or if I was telling a big lie. Overall, there were about 60 people there, and I have to admit I was ridiculously nervous. I was certain I would forget everything I learned. During the competition I was required to walk, trot, turn, halt, hold a two-point and change diagonals. Luckily I remembered to bring my helmet!
I actually had to remind myself to breathe so I could calmly remember to keep my heels down, shoulders back and be aware of my diagonal. When I was in the arena trotting, I could hear my trainer in my head saying “she who looks down ends up on the ground.” It reminded me to keep my head up and smile. I was so focused on trying to calmly remember everything I have learned that I didn’t even pay attention to the other fierce competitors. Before I knew it, we were told to line up side-by-side so that they could announce the winners. I have to say, I was shocked when they announced me as the FIRST PLACE winner! The feeling I had inside when I won is almost indescribable. I was shocked, a little embarrassed, relieved and so proud of myself for facing my fear. The judge told me that I was the only one to get both diagonals correct, I almost fell off my horse I was so surprised!
Afterwards we had a little pot-luck and our Troxel team surprised North Coast Equestrian Park with a donation to their barn. A few weeks ago I forgot my helmet and had to borrow one of theirs. It was so old and smelly, I decided it was time for some shiny new helmets. So after the competition we gave them an assortment of about 10 different English, Western and all-purpose Troxel helmets.
I have to give a big thank you to North Coast Equestrian Park for giving me lessons. They were so kind and helpful and never made me feel ridiculous for having a fear of horses at my age. I can look back to that fearful place I was in just eight weeks ago, and I can honestly say that I have officially gotten over my fear.
I am still a bit intimidated by horses, but I have learned to appreciate their beauty and their incredible calming ability (I never thought I would say that in my life!). At the end of the day, stepping out and doing what I’ve always wanted to do is saying yes to life. And that's something I'm sure we could all use a little more of.
I hope that my experience encourages others to get out there and face their fears. Here is a short video summarizing my experience: Enjoy!
View more photos here
Next blog: Tips from the pros on overcoming your fears