The video below shows a kid of maybe 9 or 10 jumping fences that are about 3’6″ or 4′. It’s a lovely horse that’s taking excellent care of its rider. But you have to give some credit to the kid for riding down to a fence that may be as tall as he is.
I can vaguely remember being brave enough to jump big fences. Not when I was 10; more likely when I was 15 or 16. I rode some horses back then who would pack me over 4’+ without any hesitation. It didn’t bother me either. Partially because I didn’t think too much about the size of the fences and partially because I knew the horse could jump the moon.
I think back fondly to a time when the ground didn’t seem so hard and I didn’t think too much about the “what ifs.” These days, I’m a wimp. I have a horse that has a lot of talent over fences but I don’t push myself that much. There’s too much riding on my health. I have a family to take care of, a business to run and I don’t heal as quickly as I once did. I has one bad fall about 12 years ago where I broke my hand. It hurt and it was terribly inconvenient. I felt lucky that my injuries weren’t more serious.
In the relative continuum of riders and fear I don’t consider myself to be a fearful rider; more a prudent one. It may be that with a different horse (one who got less anxious about jumping) I might feel differently. But I’m not so sure. I get plenty of adrenalin from foxhunting without jumping the really big stuff anymore.
What about you? Are you still fearless? or has your need for risk tempered over the years? How much do you push yourself to leave your comfort zone?