Facing Fears

November 4, 2009

“Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you;

go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you;

do not fear or be discouraged.”

Deuteronomy 1:21

As the Israelites had uncertainty about their future in a land they did not know, Moses encouraged them to have faith that God would take care of their needs. We all have fears in our life that we must face. Sometimes we try to run away from them or try to hide from them or ignore them. But sooner or later that bitter taste of fear comes rushing back. I think of all of the different experiences I would have missed if I had given in to the fear that tries to discourage me from being the person God wants me to be. Having faith in God and trusting in Him to see me through the scary parts in life as well as the joyous times, has allowed me to grow. Not only spiritually, but in all aspects of my life.


On top of Pryor Mountain

I can honestly say that I was afraid to drive across the country, up a horribly rugged mountain-side road, camp primitively up on a mountain with wild animals prowling around and that scary drive back down that rugged road.


Black bear on Pryor Mountain

So many things could have gone wrong in so many ways. Dwelling on those scary things is what keeps us from facing our fears and confidently moving past them. By asking God to help me face these fears head on, He becomes the One navigating the way and I get to enjoy the ride and the rewards at the end of the road.


Chino on Clouds Island, on top of Pryor Mountain

Just as we all have fears, especially of the unknown, Image and Ember have some fears of their own. They are facing a new home that they do not know. New sights and sounds that they have never experienced before.


A small portion of Image and Embers new home

All of a sudden these 2 legged creatures are right there in their space, all of the time! Because we, as humans, have eyes on the front of our faces and not on the sides of our faces, tells them immediately that we are predators. And we actually smell like meat because we eat meat, just as horses smell like the grasses they eat. Horses’ eyes are on the sides of their faces so they can see all around them on both sides at the same time. They are prey animals: willing and quite able to flee at a moments notice if the threat of danger is there. Understanding that their fears are quite real, we have set out to help them face these fears in a way that is non-threatening to them. We have been gently letting them know that we are not going to hurt them or ask them to do anything that will put them in danger. We are asking them to trust us. The way to trust something or someone that you are unsure of is to communicate with them. By telling Image and Ember constantly that we are not a threat to them, has helped them come to realize that they do not have to be afraid of us. We have been communicating to them by starting to touch them ever so slightly on their mouth area while they are eating, and slowly working our way up their necks with touches that might mimic their mothers. Slowly moving along their spine to their hind quarters in movement meant to sooth not scare. Slowly working our way around their backs, never breaking contact, to their other side and working our way back up to their faces.  Because it has been so wet and rainy here in Ohio, the corral had become a muddy mess.  So we fenced off a section of the upper pasture that connects to the corral so the kids could graze and have more room to roam before their ground work in the round pen.


Ember grazing

We have left the corral gate open to them and kept their water inside so they would get used to going in and coming out of the corral on their own.  Ember has no trouble doing this at all.  Image continues to need encouragement to go in and come out of the corral.


Image grazing

He is still facing some fears he has of corrals.  I can only imagine what he must have gone through in the corrals at Britton Springs between the round up and the adoption.  Acting as his mother might, we have been coaxing him in and out of the corral.  A couple of days ago, we let our 28 year old Touchy in with the kids so they could all  get to know each other better.  Touchy had a rough start in life with abusive owners who never let her out of her stall in her first 4 years.  Terry rescued her from that horrible situation and they have been best buds for the past 24 years.  She has had some other trials in her life.  If you notice in the photos, she is missing her left eye.  Several years ago she had a fungus that was growing behind her eye and within 3 days she lost her site in that eye completely.  The vet gave us the choice of either taking her eye out or putting her down.  There really was no choice…….


Touchy and Ember getting to know each other


Terry watching to make sure everyone was getting along

We watched close by as Touchy started to check out the new kids.  At first Image and Ember were a little afraid, but Touchy showed no signs of dominance or aggression, just curiosity.  Ember, being the socialite that she is, made the first move to Touchy to make friends.  They spoke in a language that was beautiful to watch.  As soon as Touchy was satisfied with this new friend she had made, she turned her attention to Image.  _MG_7303She ambled over to him and sniffed him all around.  Image, in his typical fashion, lifted his head, looked at her and promptly went back to eating!  He was clearly not caring too much about making friends with anyone who was NOT giving him food!  I had to chuckle while watching them.  Image and Ember are completely different in how they each approach new situations.  I am hopeful that once we start the ground work in the round pen, that Image and Ember will consider us good leaders worth following and that their fears will be put to rest.



  1. This is my favorite journal entry about Image and Ember so far as it so elegantly mirrors your journey to the Pryors where you came to know and love them in their environment, and how now they are in Ohio adapting to a new place that is not their own and they must come to trust you and your husband and their new surroundings. What a scary journey you set out on. I bet you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into. I think it is a wonderful example of man’s relaionship with God, of God’s love of all His creatures, of strength and perserverance in the face of the unexpected and of love conquering fear. I can”t wait to see and hear more!

    Oh, I especially love the photo showing the promise of the rainbow!!! Your committment, patience and love that you and your husband are showing to these horses will definitely bring you many blessings!

  2. Deb, I really am enjoying your updates on the two young Pryor Mountain Mustangs. I adopted two about the same age as yours at the 1992 adoption. Your experiences are taking me back a few years! What an incredible journey your on! Keep me on your updates list.

    • Hi Trish!

      I missed seeing you up on the mountain this summer. My friends and I were up there late June/early July. I was not able to be there for the horrible round up.

      It has been an amazing journey! They are such a joy.


  3. Boy do they define FURRY!!!!

    Thank you for taking both of them so they could stay together. I bet if they could tell you it was bad enough to be ripped from the only family they knew. But to still have each other to depend on will probably mean so much to them throughout their lives. As my dad would say “Ya, done good”.

    • Thank you Margaret. They ARE very furry! Our other horses are just barely starting to get their winter hair. I can see already that when something is a little frightening to Image especially, he goes to Ember as quick as he can. I am glad we were able to take them both in.




  5. Deb- Thank you for the update and the amazing photographs. Looking out from up top of Pryor Mountain took my breath away. Its just amazing what He has created. I’m glad you are willing to share with us your journey. There is nothing better for a young nervous horse then an older calm horse. I’m glad Touchy is giving them the serene vibes they need. I can’t wait to see/hear how they progress. I have a secret desire to “go get me one” but I know at this point I’d better just watch from the sidelines, for a while anyway. Keep us posted, good luck and God Bless.

  6. Fun to see the kids. Sax is also doing great


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