Winter in Wyoming, 2020. It started early, with -25 temperatures in late October, heavy snow and blizzard conditions at Thanksgiving, and continuous deep cold and powder snow accumulation since then here at winter headquarters. Fortunately I have access to necessary equipment to keep my road open, running water for the horses, and plenty of native grass hay that is easy to feed here by my house, so my mustangs show up every day to greet me and get their handout. I’ve made things as simple as I can so I’m not having to fight with the weather and the challenges it brings.

And, by simplifying my day-to-day, I have had some leisure time to ponder on something that everyone I believe faces at least once in their life, if not throughout our entire time on this planet. That something is FEAR. There are thousands of expert opinions, essays from people who work to overcome fear, folks who live with fear, and discuss fear at every level of life.  When we look around, or get on the internet, or turn on the noise of television, it would seem we have plenty to be afraid of. Many of us have had experiences that cause pain, heartache, and/or trauma that can paralyze us or debilitate us in more ways than just the physical. I’ve been there too.

For me, fear comes and goes; I try not to be fearful, but to be very deliberate in my actions, taking time to do my “due diligence” when undertaking any task, be it driving a vehicle, catching and working with any horse each and every time, or with any activity that requires undivided attention. I also tell myself over and over that fear is just trying to replace joy in my existence, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to succumb to that. I can overcome fear with deliberate thoughts and actions.

As to how that relates to my career, it is my goal, along with the full support of the solid saddle horses I have selected with the knowledge I carry from my personal and professional horse life with Mike, and now from my wonderful horse vendor Chad Madsen, to help horsewomen learn and integrate some of the thinking processes that I have developed. More women are taking up riding at mid-life or later, or are getting back into it after a many-decade hiatus, with still others having had an incident that has allowed fear to negate the joy of horses that they used to have. The Horsewomen of a Certain Age Horsemanship Clinic weeks evolved over these past few years to be a time and place to let joy replace fear around horses. And as it turns out, when we start working through the fear with horses, we learn that the same things that cause that fear are things that create other fears that take away joy in other aspects of our life.

Fear can be altered to become healthy respect with the right knowledge and tools. Know that you are worthy of having joy in every aspect of your life, and that it is available to you. And if I can be a part of that journey with you, I am humbled and honored.