BY JEWELL COX
Fear was never something I had around horses, not even when I rode. I didn’t mind sitting on top of a 1,000 pound animal. Horses were just like a big teddy bear to me.
But as people get older and wiser, fear begins to show up. We all get afraid when we think we are going to get hurt or break our bones. But our passion to ride inspires risk taking. And it’s worth it to do what makes us happy, no matter what. I needed all of this passion to continue when fear began to follow me to the barn.
I had my horse, Glory, for four years. Throughout that time, I trusted that she would take care of me. There comes a point when we have to trust not only our horses, but trust that God will take care of us too. And I need that trust more than most.
I have a disability called Arthrogryposis, which causes me to be unable to walk or stand without braces. I am a disabled rider, and I am proud of it. Most people would look at me and think I can’t ride a horse just because my legs don’t work. But with the help of my family, riding horses is possible for me.
When we brought Glory home, I hadn’t ridden for seven months. That time out of the saddle was not good for me. I lost some of my confidence and trust that I had from when I rode her previously. I hoped she would remember how to take care of me. Turns out, she remembered everything and if it was if we hadn’t skipped a beat. I got my confidence back, and the fear went away. Riding was just like it used to be—my happy place! Of course, when things were going well something just had to happen to shake that up.
On an autumn day, I was riding and all of a sudden Glory’s front legs went down. I went flying off onto the ground. I landed on my back, and all I saw was the blue sky above me. Glory was ok and standing not far from me. My dad picked me up and we took Glory back to the barn. Thankfully neither of us was hurt. I had only ridden a few minutes before the fall happened, so I knew I needed to get back on her to finish our ride for the day. I never hesitated to get back on her after I fell off, but I kept thinking of the fall and the feeling of hitting the ground.
A few weeks went by since the fall, and all the confidence I felt like I had recently found was gone again. I kept remembering the fall, holding on tight to the saddle horn. I tried to keep my mind off the accident while I was riding, and kept reminding myself, I ride because I love it! I decided not to let the fear of falling off stop me from doing what I love to do.
Yes, there will be times I’m going to fall off a horse. That’s just a part of the sport. But isn’t it worth taking the risk for you to be happy? I could not imagine anything else making me as happy as when I’m on a horse.
Horses can hurt people, there’s no doubt about that. But my horse Glory would never hurt me on purpose. One time her halter got hung on my wheelchair handle, and she picked me up off the ground! I hung up in the air under Glory’s head. The halter slipped off, and I landed sideways on the ground in my wheelchair. But the accident wasn’t Glory’s fault. I was in the wrong place at the wrong moment.
Though those are the only accidents I’ve had so far with horses, I’m sure there will be more in the future. I just have to trust that God and my horse will take care of me.
We don’t need to let fear stop us from doing what we love most. Take risks in your life, because most of the time it’s worth it!
Jewell Cox is 19 years old and a full-time college student while living with her family on their hobby farm. They have a horse, goat, cat, and dog. Jewell loves riding and spending time with her horse Glory.