Chloe, An Old Familiar Fear

Chloe and donks at gate

The fear I was feeling about riding Chloe is not a rational fear.  I knew that, because of the way it made me feel, it’s an old and crippling fear. It’s the fear that if I ride Chloe I will fall off her, break my neck and be paralyzed and wish I had never gotten on her back.  If only, I would say, I had never gotten Chloe this wouldn’t have happened.  It’s the kind of fear that growing up on Long Island in the 1970’s made me believe that if I walked to a  friends house  at night by myself or with a girlfriend, I would be raped and murdered.  But  if I was walking home from work or with a boy I would be safe.  The kind of fear that makes me doubt my decisions and choices, because they might be wrong and I might regret them for the rest of my life.

I know where it comes from, I can still see it in my mother who will never give anyone directions on how to get someplace because if they have an accident she thinks it will be her fault.  It’s an irrational fear that’s based on superstition, warped morals and regrets.   And the fear was triggered in my when I saw the young woman fall off Chloe.  I was so grateful that she didn’t get hurt, but my mind went to the what if’s, and the fear flooded through me and decided to stay for a while, comfortable in it’s familiar home.   For as long as I let it.

Eli was supposed to come to work with me and Chloe this morning, but got delayed.  And I’m glad she did.  Because my asking her for help, sparked my understanding of what was really going on with me.   I talked to Jon about it over breakfast, and spoke the words out loud for  the first time.   The thing is, I’m not afraid of Chloe, I’ve never been scared when I’m riding her and if anything, I’m more confident with her now than I’ve ever been.   That’s how I know the fear has nothing to do with her.  I see that Eli can help me work with Chloe, but only I can deal with my fear.

8 thoughts on “Chloe, An Old Familiar Fear

  1. Don’t let fear stop you…you love Chloe and she loves you…feed/groom/walk her…just be with her. The riding will come…I know this from my experience…

  2. Hi Maria, this is such an honest, vulnerable post – thank you. It’s interesting that your mother wouldn’t give anyone directions to a place because she would blame herself if that person had an accident while following them. We grow up thinking our parents’ dysfunctional behaviors and beliefs are normal, because it’s all we know, and we incorporate those messages into our psyches. But as an adult, when we tell someone else about these behavior/beliefs, we can start to see how weird they really are. I grew up thinking if I had too much fun, pleasure or success it would have dire consequences for someone I loved – they would get sick or even die. I still struggle with that, so I can totally relate to what you are going through with Chloe. One step, or hoof or horseback ride at a time, we work through it.

    1. I completely get your fear Janet. About things being too good. And you have to first be aware of what your thoughts and beliefs, then comes trying to change them, which take a lot of time and work. And for me, it seems they keep coming back, even if it’s not as strong.

  3. My first major riding accident occurred on a trail ride when I was 19. I spent 3 months in the hospital with a concussion, cervical neck injury and a broken arm. My instructor gave me bad advise about me not needing my riding helmet. Had I ignored her, I wouldn’t have had a concussion. That fall has affected me so that I have PTSD about trail rides. I know what you mean Maria about falling.

  4. Maria the most amazing, beautiful thing about a horsewoman/man is they get back on. Problem solve, tweak and trust again and again. Our relationship with the horse is one of the most beautiful. A relationship formed thousands of years ago. I have fallen off scores of times and learned through each fall, I’ve had my heart in my throat more times than I care to count… But I’ve also found my true self, my voice through working with my horses and ponies! I’ve been blessed and overwhelmed by the goodness of my equine partners…the magic the utter joy that comes when working through an issue and conquering that hidden place in me that thought I couldn’t do it and yet I did time and time again! You are doing so awesome, keep it up and welcome to this wonderful journey with the horse! Thanks for sharing this journey with us!

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