Children can be fearless because they’re typically focused on horses and having fun; they really don’t know or understand what can happen. Adults tend to be more fearful because they do know and they do understand what can happen. There’s a big difference between a child thinking, “If I fall off I’ll get dirty” and an adult “If I fall off I could become seriously injured and have expensive medical bills and be unable to work and lose my job and have to give up my horse.”
~ Dr. Jessica Jahiel, Riding Instructor Magazine, Winter 2008-2009
I was always afraid even as a child. Now I know it’s because I was leaning forward and therefore always off balance and therefore insecure and therefore afraid. All I had to do was hold up my head, look where I was going, open my hips, and sit deep in the saddle, but of course, I didn’t know how and if my instructors were trying to teach me to do it I couldn’t comprehend through the fog of fear.
But my fear then truly was “oh no I could fall off and then the instructor will be disappointed in me or maybe even mad.” I probably also worried about getting hurt, but I know the fear of disappointing the adult by not achieving was stronger than the fear of physical pain.
Now, though, this quote describes it perfectly. Small thing to medium thing to large thing, and the whole trail of things strung together between one heartbeat and the next. And yet each one of those things is true. And I’m self-employed, so while I do have health insurance, I do not have sick days or vacation days to use while I’m recovering. I had enough emergencies in the past two years that my emergency fund (and, alas, my emergency credit line) are stretched too.
I literally cannot afford to get hurt.
But I’m not afraid anymore, either.