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From fear to love of horses

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Several years ago, I was a counselor in training at a summer camp for Christian Scientists. I was very excited about this opportunity, except for one thing: I was really afraid of horses, and I knew the corral was a big part of this camp experience. Every horse I had ever been around bucked, kicked me, bit me, or stepped on me, and I was terrified. I figured I would just not go to the corral!

Well, my third day at camp, I was sent to the corral. I couldn’t help at all—when the horses walked by me, I would just stand petrified at the fence. I was useless.

That afternoon, when I had some time off, I went to the house where the camp’s Christian Science practitioner lived. I didn’t mind being nervous around horses, but the experience that morning had been so wrong and unexpected that I knew I needed healing. It wasn’t right for me to have a debilitating fear about anything. I talked with the practitioner a bit, and he assured me that fear was no part of God’s creation. God didn’t make something that could scare me, and I could not be touched by fear. I had heard these words before in other arenas of life, but this time I really wanted to live them. So I resolved to simply not allow myself to believe in a power other than God—be it a horse kick, fear, or embarrassment.

The corral staff was very willing to help me with this and to support me prayerfully and in practice. They took their time off to teach me about horses, all the time backing up their practical horse knowledge with the spiritual substance behind what they were saying. What stuck with me the most was learning how horses are such beautiful animals, expressing spiritual qualities, that harmony with them was really the only option. I came to understand that in reality, as creatures of God, horses did not have the power to hurt me, and I could not hurt or scare them!

Well, by the end of the summer I was leading pack trips (overnight horseback rides on camp property) and even became an assistant riding director several years later. I am so grateful, though, that this was not just a nice story but a real, tangible illustration of the importance of not believing in any power aside from God, all good. I’m also grateful for the support expressed by the other staff members. They did not hold on to a scared, false image of me, and were able to help me see who I really was.

I’m so grateful that Christian Science is law—not just feel-good, fluffy quotes, but actually demonstrable and trustworthy. This experience has been foundational in showing me that I can always turn to God to find out how and who I am.

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