When I was younger, my older sister, Rita, had two Tennessee Walkers (Bagdad and Marylegs) and a Shetland Pony (Butch). She loved horses;I was really afraid of them. They were so much bigger than me and they moved a lot. My parent’s friend tried to teach me to ride, but that never worked really well. I was just always afraid of falling off. Many times I would ride behind my mother and hold onto her with a death grip. When I would ride alone, I would only ride Western because I hung onto the saddle horn for dear life. I was allergic to the hay and all the dust in the barn so you can imagine what fun it was for me.
To be completely honest, I actually love the majesty that is a horse. They are such regal animals and people who can ride them fascinate me. The family we are home staying with have horses and they are so good with them. I watch the love they have for them, it is beautiful. The bond between a rider and their horse is extremely intense as both parties hold the other parties life in their hands. It is a true symbiotic relationship.
Fast forward 40 years or so and I am home staying in North Carolina when Mike meets a woman who owns a boarding stable, he strikes up a conversation with her and next thing you know he is feeding horses and cleaning stalls. I have known Mike for over 25 years and I never have seen him with a horse. It turns out that he used to help with his Aunt’s horses and had been around others in his youth. He loves the peacefulness of working in the stable and it shows on his face.
I have stayed away from going to the stable as I have had other duties to attend to at our host’s home. Last night, Mike took me to see the stables and I ended up helping him feed and water the horses. I am much taller than I was back when my sister had horses and I am older and wiser. I assumed that all the past experiences I had with horses would flood back and I would be good with them. I was wrong!!
What a wimp I am!! My gosh, horses are still big even if I am bigger. They are way stronger than I remember and have huge teeth that look like they would hurt if you got bit. I wanted so badly to be over that fear, but it does not seem like that is the case at this point. I guess my fear has an unrelenting grip. For now I will watch from the sidelines and maybe inch closer every now and then. I think I can overcome this fear eventually…at least, I hope so. It is officially on my bucket list, to ride a horse again. We will see if that one comes to pass.
FYI: It is a real thing: Equinophobia or hippophobia is a psychological fear of horses.