Life Lessons From a Horse :: Pushing Through the Fear

One of the toughest lessons to learn is when to quit or when to push on through.
Tough for us to learn for ourselves, and doubly difficult as a parent!

Rowan (age 6) began horseback riding in June (see our past lessons posts here).
She loves it, with a quiet delight and a surprising calm determination.

Today she came home from school in 'a mood'.
Tired, hungry, and given the grey mistiness of the day, convinced it was raining and she would not be riding.
But lessons were still on.
And she had a meltdown.

Something wasn't right.
Once the meltdown passed (and her father stuffed her wailing into the van while I put her boots on her flailing feet), she stated that she didn't want to go riding and that she doesn't like it.
Curiouser and curiouser.

It turned out she was anxious about riding because the sensation of rising while posting in the trot made her feel afraid. The moment when she was off the saddle and relying on her core strength was scary (although she still holds the strap).

And I was relieved.
I love that she is riding but I never want to be the mom who makes my kid do something they hate for years on end!
Given that after school she also rejected television, her dogs, playdates and granola bars as things she doesn't like, it was a pretty safe bet that the dislike of riding was fleeting, and more a matter of the fear she was feeling.

So given the choice to back off or push her on, I pushed.
At the end of her lesson, she not only brought Phoenix to a trot while riding independently, but she also posted at trot, around the ring and over poles, with only one hand on the strap, the other on the reins and a HUGE smile on her face....

She pushed (or perhaps was pulled!) through the fear.
She had been on the very edge of a breakthrough in skill and confidence and needed a little pressure to go on.

And I couldn't help but think of how often we find ourselves in this position, on the edge of something new, on the precipice of something being called out from within us that we aren't quite able to trust yet....
freaking out and filled with fear...
and how often we balk, or turn back, or quit.
When stepping into it might open up whole new worlds!

This was just a small step along the journey to becoming an independent rider.
But it was a huge step for a little girl on a big horse to trust her own strength and to be surprised by the joy of small victories over our fears.
And another life lesson learned (for her? for me?) from a horse. ♥♥

 

Lori blogs @ Beneath the Rowan Tree

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