Facing and Overcoming Fear

Nancy Humphrey Case shares how she faced fear and overcame it after a few challenging rides on her new horse.

By Nancy Humphrey Case

Categories: Fear, Power of Prayer, Safety

I’ve always loved horses. I grew up with them. When my older daughter was seven, she wanted to take lessons, so I got to have horses again. Then we moved to California and sold everything. When we moved back to New England about ten years later, I thought my younger daughter would want to ride, but she wasn’t interested. When she went to boarding school in 9th grade, and it was just my husband and me at home, I would walk through our empty fields and dream of having horses again; but I didn’t want riding to be a selfish thing. At some point, it began to feel right--like it would be a blessing to others besides me. So I bought two horses.

I had a lot of challenges. I had to overcome fear because I hadn’t ridden much in 15 years. I thought that the seasoned mare I bought would help me regain my confidence. I rode her indoors for the first couple of months because it was winter, and everything was fine. But when the snow melted and I took her out in the open, it was really scary. She was afraid of being in a new place—a windy hilltop no less—and I felt like she might bolt any second.

After a couple of rides like that, I decided I was not going to tolerate this fear, but was going to ride right through it. I looked fear in the face and didn’t back down. I ended that ride with a great feeling of dominion. Within a month or two, I was riding that horse bareback, and we were jumping over ditches.

Horses are thought to be fearful by nature because they are prey animals. And they pick up on our thoughts, attitudes, and emotions. So I have often mentally reassured my horses with this Bible verse: "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Tim. 1:7). I've used that a lot in working with my horses and have had very good results. This verse is in my book, Simple Prayers for people of all faiths (or no faith), too.

Nancy Humphrey Case is a guest on our site. She is a freelance writer, has been teaching horsemanship to children, and volunteers in prison leading Bible study.