After almost 28 years of life, I finally had the opportunity to ride a horse and overcome a fear. Yes, growing up I was afraid of horses. The background to that is that when I was around ten or eleven years old, my best friend had horses. I have always found them to beautiful, intelligent, and incredible creatures so of course I wanted to go with her to the stalls all the time. One afternoon, while helping her brush her horse, Trixie, my friend did something that changed it all. Without warning, in one moment, an accident occurred that ended in my conclusion of fearing horses. My friend tightened the girth strap on Trixie’s saddle. At the time, I was nicely and lovingly brushing Trixie’s coat. I was unaware how uncomfortable that one act can be for a horse, but I learned quickly when Trixie clamped her teeth down on my hand. Ouch. There was blood shed and a little girl’s dreams of one day having a horse shattered, but luckily not my hand. After that, I feared the power of horses.
So this year, I made a list of 27 Things to do Before I’m 28, and riding a horse was on it. I wanted to overcome this fear because I feel as though a horse is an animal that I could relate to and build a bond with. I didn’t want to have any fears, and I especially despised the idea that an animal could be frightening. So I put my mindset to ending the fear.
While traveling recently with the Future Mr. and Future Family, we found ourselves in Belize. The Future Mr. and myself were deciding on what it was we wanted to do while in Belize. We could snorkel in the reefs. We could delve into archaeology and explore the ancient Mayan Ruins. We could go cave tubing (which is what we will be doing the next time we visit Belize). Then we came across a place that offers horseback riding through the jungles for a more hands-on wilderness exploration. That was it. I had to do it. I was transformed into a small child again and my eagerness and excitement completely overcame any fear that ever existed! What better way of overcoming the fear of horses than for me to go horseback riding through the jungle?! Done. I’m in. Oh and of course the Future Mr. was instantly on board.
We traveled through Belize City and further away from any forms of civilization towards the jungle. Belize is beautiful. It is such a vibrant green with lush vegetation everywhere. It was relaxing without the rush of time and urgency that exists in our country. I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like beneath the canopies of their trees.
While getting set up to ride, our guide chose Seabiscuit for me (being a newbie). Seabiscuit was leaning up again a post catching a catnap before I jumped on her back. She was fairly calm, but her personality definitely came through during the ride. Obviously the ride was very controlled with a couple of Caribbean “cowboys” guiding us along. It was a group of maybe ten, so not too many people. All of the horses had such different personalities that I couldn’t help but laugh to myself in wonder.
Seabiscuit seemed to be a bit older and stubborn in her ways. She liked to go at her own (slow) pace, until another horse attempted to pass her. Then she would break into a gallop to reclaim her spot and status. She would nip at the necks of those who managed to sneak past her. She liked to travel right along the edge of the muddy path, allowing me to graze my palms along the trees and plants as we passed by. There were a couple of times when we would all stop for the lolly gaggers to catch up in the back, which was when I would sneak a picture here and there. I loved looking up towards the sky. I love that experience when you can look at something and feel just how small you are in the whole scheme of life. Looking up towards to the tops of the trees was one of those times for me. I enjoyed the entire day and horseback riding is in my future. Now I need to head home and go horseback riding through the snowy mountains!
We learned so much about the country and the culture that I did not want to leave. So many kind smiles, the Caribbean accent, all of the vibrant and lively colors, along with their weather! Belize is a country that is definitely on my list of countries to return to and explore further.