Fear ruled her riding life for eight years, then she beat it. Now she’s sharing her method.
HEIDI A. MCLAUGHLIN UPDATED:JUL 31, 2019 ORIGINAL:OCT 26, 2015
All I ever wanted was to be a confident rider. During the eight years I was stuck in fear, no one seemed to understand my plight. Friends told me to “cowgirl up.” Trainers couldn’t understand why I failed to improve. The poor horses I rode kept going sour.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Heidi A. McLaughlin the author on her Paint gelding, Chief.
It was as if all other riders “got it” but me. What did they have that I lacked? If horsemanship is a learned skill, why couldn’t I grasp it?
As a child, I begged in vain for my parents to buy me a horse. So after college, marriage, and raising my three boys, I finally fulfilled my dream and bought myself one. As I fumbled with my mare, the reality of the situation unfolded. I knew I was in over my head. I just couldn’t understand why it was all so scary.