This was one of the last times that I rode my horse, Zoey without a helmet. It was one of many blissfully free rides. I would pop over to the field with nothing but a rope, hop aboard Zoey and take off. Free as the wind. To be completely honest, I treasure these rides in my memory and understand why people don’t always ride with helmets. Heck, I don’t even like to ride with shoes most of the time. As wonderfully primal as it felt to meet my horse in her natural habitat and ride her with nothing but total faith, something was bound to go wrong at some point.
A couple of days after this picture was taken, I spontaneously decided to hop on Zoey after a swim in our local lake. Of course all I had handy was a rope, but that was not about to stop me. I knew I wasn’t totally with it that day and a small part of me felt that I had no business riding her like this. My body was tired and my mind was elsewhere. When I jumped on Zoey’s back and trotted her in the field, a little niggling voice started making me question whether I was truly safe. I continued anyways and ignored the voice, but that didn’t stop a sliver of fear from wedging its way into my mind. As Zoey and I rounded a bend, she stumbled on her little quarter horse feet and before I knew what was happening, my sweet girl collapsed. SMACK. My head met the ground which was, thankfully, padded with grass.
Zoey popped right back up and stuck by my side nibbling away on her pasture as I woozily got up. Nobody was hurt, but needless to say I decided to stick to helmets from then on.
Ever since our fall, (my first and probably not my last), I’ve battled with fear. Fear every time we round a bend. Fear every time we trot. Fear of Zoey stumbling again. Fear of falling. This fear has crippled me and I am only recently beginning to overcome it.
What is helping me to overcome my fear is faith. There is a certain feeling that you get while riding a horse when you really drop in and surrender. It feels kind of like falling, but with security. In fact, the security that comes from full surrender is far stronger than the security you feel when you are trying to control your fate.
The fact is, this is faith. It’s true, I have no way of knowing whether Zoey will collapse beneath me while riding again, but I can’t let that keep me from riding her. I can’t let fear stop me from moving forward with my sweet horse fully believing that everything will be all right. This is the same faith that started me riding horses in the first place.
Yes, it is important for us to make good choices in this life (like wearing a helmet while riding a horse). The minute we realize that a much smarter, much stronger, much more powerful God is the One holding the reins, we can drop in and surrender, feeling the freedom that comes from truly letting go.