January 21, 2019 by Charlie
Let me set the scene.
I had just got back from spending a year in New Zealand where I had been working with trekking horses. We rode through rivers, across river flats, and up mountains taking clients out on guided tours through filming locations such as Lord of the Rings and Prince Caspian.
This was my first ‘horsey job’ and I had never felt more free. I came home to London and felt immediately claustrophobic and, even though I applied and got another job, I couldn’t do it as it would have meant sitting in an office all day. I felt I wouldn’t be able to cope with that having just come back from the open spaces of New Zealand. A job was going at the yard where I kept my horses, and I leapt at the chance to be back in the great outdoors. I was working part time to start with and eventually becoming their yard manager.
I learnt so much in my years, not only having horses there, but working on the yard as well. It was a family run establishment and the family included absolutely everyone that rode there kept horses there or were Mums and Dads of kids with ponies there. It was an amazing place full of knowledge, love and laughter. I learnt some very valuable lessons there which I try to apply not just to my riding but to my every day life.
One particular Thursday afternoon my trainer was out teaching and I had something I needed to ask her so I had wandered across the arena to speak to her. In progress was a lesson she was giving to a small girl who must have been about 6 or 7 years old. She was happily bobbing along on her pony and my trainer put up a small cross pole at one end of the arena and shouted out to the girl ‘when you’re ready pop over this’. For the next ten minutes I watched this girl bravely trot her pony up to the small fence and then at the last minute turn away. I can’t remember how many times she did this and eventually her mum piped up and asked my trainer a bit cautiously ‘Aren’t you going to make her jump it?’. What my trainer said next has stuck with me for ever after. She said this. ‘The desire to jump the fence will eventually outweigh her fear of jumping it’.
Let me repeat. ‘The desire to do it will eventually outweigh the fear of doing it’
Guess what? She jumped the fence. And not only once. But again, and again and again.
The first lesson I learnt watching this 6 year old come to grips with her own desire and fear is that if you want something badly enough, it does not matter how afraid you are, you will find a way to overcome that. And you will do that scary thing.
The second lesson I learnt is that once you have overcome that scary thing and your fear of it, it probably wasn’t as bad as you first imagined that it would be.
Don’t let fear get in the way of your desires.