This past week, I took a trip from my home in urban Houston, Texas to the beautiful, rural Alder, Montana – population 119. I traveled with my boyfriend and his parents to stay with his grandparents who happen to be partners in a cattle ranch. I grew up taking horseback riding lessons, but hopping back on a horse after at least five years isn't quite as easy as remembering how to ride a bike.

It was pre-determined that our first morning would be spent helping move cattle an eight-mile distance from the pasture to a corral in the mountains. This venture would require me to wake up at 4 a.m. and, of course, ride a horse. To prepare, my traveling companions and I were assisted in saddling up the horses we were going to ride the next day in order to adjust our saddles and get comfortable.

The following chain of events is horrific and embarrassing, but here it goes.

I was the third of four people to get saddled up and let into a pen to walk our horses. As I put my foot up into the stirrup to left myself onto the house, I heard a loud crack. Yes, my pants tore. And I don't mean they ripped a little bit, I mean they tore right open across my backside. But I didn't let that stop me. I got on the horse anyway and walked her around the pen.

Torn pants aside, I felt comfortable. I felt the muscle memory of riding gradually return and allowed myself to relax into the seat. Eventually, I determined it was time to challenge myself a bit and get her to pick up the speed. I gave her side a light tap, not knowing how much I needed to nudge her into a trot. In an instant, the horse took off into a speedy canter (slow gallop) straight towards the metal fence. I pulled on the rains and commanded her to stop, but she ignored me. She stopped hard before the fence and then turned around to plow straight towards the other side. For whatever reason, she had chosen me- exhausted, airplane-smelling me to mess with. I kept grabbing at the fence every time we approached it (which resulted in a nasty cut on my finger), preparing myself to hold on in case she was determined to throw me over.

Eventually, our resident cowboy had to grab the rains and stop her. I was out of breath and in shock, but I was fine. That is, until someone asked if I was okay.

Here's the thing about me (and I know I can't be alone): I cry at everything. I cry when I'm sad. I cry at super adorable animals or love stories. I cry when I'm angry. But most of all, I cry when I'm embarrassed and that's exactly what happened as I tried to reassure everyone that I was completely fine.

I really was fine, but the crying made my argument far less than convincing. As my finger got cleaned and bandaged up, I was given the option of sitting out the morning cattle move. I told them I wasn't scared and they said they believed me, but that I shouldn't let my pride keep me from saying no to something I didn't feel comfortable doing.

So I was faced with a choice. Did I let this incident keep me from experiencing something I'd never get a chance to participate in again? Or did I forget what had just happened and get back up on the horse the next day for a long and tiring ride?

Well, I chose the latter. The next morning, I got up early and hopped back on a different horse (my boyfriend rode the one I had originally been assigned and she gave even him trouble... Which I'll admit made me feel a little less embarrassed). I had one of the most memorable experiences riding up and through the mountains of Montana all morning, and I'll never regret letting go of my discomfort and embarrassment in preference of an experience.

Spending a week in "big sky country" was one of the best vacations I've ever had, and that experience on my very first day was a pleasant reminder to never give up after failing. Don't let embarrassment keep you from doing something you'll benefit from. I tore my pants. I dealt with an angry, masochistic horse. I cut my finger open. I cried in front of my boyfriend's parents, grandfather, and friends. I was a mess but, you know what? I got back on the horse and I certainly hope you all find the strength to do the same in your day to day lives, even in the most stressful situations. As perhaps best worded by Tim Allen in the early 2000s film Galaxy Quest, "never give up, never surrender."