• Fran Stewart

Facing Fears


I’ve talked a lot in these weekly blogs and my daily FB author page posts about my plans for the future, and about what’s going on now, with my writing, with my life. But I’d like to back up a little bit for this edition of Friday Fare.

A few years ago I launched myself on an intensive journey to face my fears — chickens (yes, I was afraid of chickens), enclosed spaces (claustrophobia can truly paralyze someone), and a number of others that were lesser, but no less scary.

One of the things I was afraid of was horses.

Until I met Daisy, a one-eyed therapy horse, whose owner assured me that Daisy was the gentlest horse she’d ever had. "She’ll help you get over that fear."

So, I signed up for a two-hour session.

First, I watched Daisy for a while.

Next, I fed her some carrots, standing well back away from her.

Then I graduated to patting her nose.

After that, I stepped about six inches inside her stall, with the owner (and therapist) right beside me.

Another foot or so, and Daisy’s person put a brush into my hand. "She loves to have her coat brushed." She stepped nearer to Daisy. "Why don’t you start with this side? Just go in the direction the hair grows."

I’d never known a horse could have such intricate swirls and patterns in her coat. I got caught up in the brushing, not noticing that Daisy kept sidestepping nearer and nearer to me. Each time she moved, I took a step back but kept on brushing. Eventually, my back went clunk against the side of the stall. Daisy had pushed me (so gently I hadn’t even noticed) into a corner.

All my fear of being pinned down flew up into my face. I couldn’t get past that huge leg and foot of hers—not in either direction. Short of screaming, what was I supposed to do?

When I asked (with a certain amount of panic in my voice—okay a lot of panic) the therapist said, "Place the palm of your hand flat against her side and show her gently what you want her to do."

"What do I want her to do?"

Dumb question. I wanted her to let me out of the corner, but to do that, she’d have to move.

Low and behold, I placed my hand and gave the gentlest push. Daisy took one step away from me. I pushed again and she took another step.

"Try using just one finger."

I did, and Daisy moved again, enough for me to step around her. But the funny thing was, by that point I didn’t need to escape the stall, so I kept on brushing. Until it was time to feed Daisy some more carrots.

Have you faced up to a fear lately?

p.s. Another fear—a small one, but still there—has been trying to figure out what I’ll do once my Biscuit McKee Mystery Series is completed. Writing has been my life for so long now, I’ve felt somewhat unnerved about the prospect of not having a daily deadline. Don’t worry. I’ll put out one finger and push and see what happens!

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#HorseTherapy #BiscuitMcKeeMysteries #WHITEASICE #facingfears

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