So, little known fact: I am a tiny bit terrified of horses. True story. Please don’t mock.
I denied this fact for a long time, because how could I have an awesome Pony Express/Arrows of the Queen/Tortall/etc type of adventure without a trusty horse sidekick? Anna’s great and all, but she’s no horse.
So, upon suggestion from one of my Twitter friends (thank you Jeshe!) I have made it my summer Quest to befriend the horses that reside in our field.
(Backstory: These are not our horses.
My parents have 6-ish acres of pasture. Several years ago some neighbors stopped by to ask if their horses could summer in the pasture. They fenced off a section for the horses and left a bit just for hay. It’s a handy arrangement – they get hay and a lovely summer pasture for their horses; my parents get the field kept mowed and a few bales of hay for their chickens. Everybody wins!
Each summer it’s different horses. Some have not been very nice or friendly and have not exactly helped my fear.)
So far it’s slow going. Horses are just so big. They are big and powerful and mysterious (to me). And they have dead eyes that give away nothing of what they’re thinking. And I am completely clueless about horse body language. Every jerky sudden movement seems like angry threatening gestures to me.
Here is what I know about horses: don’t walk behind them, don’t let them know you’re afraid, watch their ears for….something.
That’s it. Oh, and that if they wanted they could crush my skull with their giant hooves.
But I aim to get over all that and conquer my fear. For the sake of Future!Me and my Future!Adventures.
Step one was successful. This involved being in the field with the horses. Baby steps, people. The fear is strong.
Bam. Look at that! No fence between us, just the grass and horse poop. Those beasts could have charged at me at any time and crushed me to death, but I remained strong and walked all over that field! (In truth the horses totally ignored me and couldn’t care less. They didn’t even really mind when Boomer charged up and barked all up in their face. They really are very nice horses.)
Step one will probably have to be repeated a couple of times. Before the horses arrived I’d walk down the field with the dogs every morning. It’s a good walk, with lots of room for the dogs to run and two different ponds for them to swim in. I stopped going when the horses arrived both because of the mentioned terror and because I wasn’t sure how horses and dogs would interact. Turns out they’re both fine and basically ignore each other…most of the time.
So now our daily morning walks are back on. I figure I’ll keep walking with the dogs and eventually it’ll be no big thing.
So Step 1: being in the field with the horses – no fence or anything between us.
Step 2: Touching the horses.
I’m starting Step 2 with a fence between us. Still scary. Today I briefly pet one of the horses. It was a day full of bravery.
Look at that horse right up there in my face and all. I pet her once and then called it a day. Always end on a positive note!
People who are easy or experienced around horses are probably laughing right now, but whatever. My quest is my own and it is a worthy one! Some day in the future this will all pay off and I will ride my trusty steed off into a grand adventure.