Our family owned horses for several years in my late teens and early twenties, and friends of ours were always asking us to take them riding. Many amateur riders like to boast that they have never fallen off a horse, which must mean they’re good riders, right? Wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, the best riders are those who have fallen the most times. Seasoned horsemen always say that if you have never fallen off a horse, it just means you haven’t ridden enough.
In the years in which we had horses, I probably had at least one or two (if not more) falls a year. No one who spends a good part of their hours on horseback can be 100% alert and in control 100% of the time. Horses get startled, agitated, excited, run away, buck, etc., and riders sometimes just lose their balance and fall. It’s a natural part of the learning process. No one becomes an advanced rider without ever falling off.
Some falls are inconsequential and you get up without a scratch. Others might leave you a little scratched, a little or seriously bruised, with a concussion, broken bones or unable to walk for several days. I’ve had most types, but, thank the stars, escaped the concussions and broken bones.
Circumstances differ, but one thing remains the same. The longer you wait to get back in the saddle, the harder it gets. The best cure for getting over the fear of falling is to brush yourself off and immediately get back in the saddle. If you don’t get right back on, but instead go straight home to dwell on your close call and bruises, the next time you get in the saddle, if you ever do, it becomes a lot scarier than it would’ve been.
I also believe that falls come when you need them. When you ride horses regularly, you forget about the many dangers of riding. If you haven’t fallen in a while, you tend to get overconfident, too comfortable and careless. Falls often come at this point. After a fall, you are once again acutely aware of the dangers and find yourself more alert and careful … until history repeats itself all over again.
So what does this have to do with personal finance?