Were you fearless as a kid?

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?


6 thoughts on “Were you fearless as a kid?

  1. Yikes! The kid’s short legs kicking away on that big horse are so funny (at least he knows how to use them!). Though if it were my choice, I would say keep the jumps lower until the kid learns to have a stronger upper body, perhaps tough grids at a low height (but man, what a phenomenal horse!!)

  2. I like the word “prudent”. Generally, I think ‘fearless’ is for people who haven’t stared mortality in the face yet? 😉

    I had a weird mix of fearful and stubborn as a kid. I had no instruction or supervision: I hit the dirt daily, and that’s not an exaggeration. Thankfully, hitting the dirt had no appeal. So I approached every ride with some apprehension/fear, but as I learned more and more, the fear stopped the second I hit the saddle. I find that even now, I might anticipate a spooky event and feel a moment of fear (OH NO, that motorcycle is suddenly revving) but when I’m in the bolt (Spin, Buck, Twist, Drop…) I have zero fear. It all leaves. I feel completely comfortable and confident. Very strange, as most people I’ve talked to experience fear during the out of control event, not before it.

    Does this happen to anyone else?

  3. I’m on the prudent side myself 😉 I must say I think you are very brave to head out even hacking on your own on Freedom, let alone hunting. I’m way to chicken for that. I have a high-strung young horse and I’m struggling with having the nerve to get out and about with him.

    1. When I first got Freedom there were certainly times when I wondered what I’d gotten myself into — especially on those rides where he jigged and bounced continuously for an hour or more. Hang in there and it will get better!

  4. I agree. I wrote an article about losing your nerve and how to overcome the anxiety we often feel when riding. I certainly have less nerve than I did as a child and also since having children. It’s something we have to work at..

  5. My trouble is that I am almost 50 and I still think I’m a kid. I was not raised around horses but my daughters got into them. I ended up with a horse of my own. She is an eight year old Morgan that I have had for two years. She won two blue ribbons in dressage but you would never know it. The lady I bought her from took terrible shortcuts in training so I have had go back and teach the horse everything (with a trainers help). When you get on her back and she GOES! She is way WAY to much horse for a novice rider. Bet we have a ball together. I ride her places and do things with her that I really shouldn’t but we have so much fun racing the cars, going up and down banks, chasing geese and trying to get to cross an open grate bridge (we will do that before summer is over). With the exception of my trainer, I can’t get anybody else to ride her. The top riders in Westernaires wont ride her, they even gave her a nick-name. They call he Mega Legs.

    That is the problem with males: no matter how old we get, we always think we are 18 and invincible.

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