Don’t let your fear get the best of you!
Fear can be crippling; it can stop you from living your best life. Every equestrian feels anxious or fearful at some point in their riding journey. You may have had a bad accident or fall, dealt with an uncontrollable horse, or been shamed by another rider. It’s important you work through your riding fears though! Don’t let it stop you from enjoying your passion.
Everyone experiences fear slightly differently. For most, they develop rapid breathing, sweaty hands, shaky legs, and become light-headed or even forgetful. Their body prepares for the “threat” at hand. As you can imagine, you aren’t an effective rider when you’re fearful. In fact, your horse can sense your anxiety and it can cause them to act out. It’s definitely not something you want to ignore.
Overcoming Your Fears
You can’t improve what you don’t accept. First, there’s no shame in being afraid. As mentioned, everyone has experienced fear at some point. You need to do some soul-searching and figure out what made you afraid. It could be obvious like an unruly horse or showing, or it might take some digging. Don’t stop there… ask yourself why you are fearful. Are you worried about getting injured or scared of what people might say? Give it some deep thinking!
Change Your Outlook
It’s time to have a talk with yourself! You need to shift your mindset and look at the whole picture. Think about all the positive experiences you’ve had with riding, showing, and horses in general. Try not to focus on one negative or bad experience.
Develop a Plan
Once you’re ready to overcome your fear, you’ll need a plan. Break down some small steps to take. This will give you something to focus on. Additionally, you’ll feel more confident each time you check a box. It’s okay to go really slow. For the first day, you might not even get into the saddle. Your goal might only be to put your foot in the stirrup.
Ask for Help
An instructor or trainer may be just the support you need. Find a calm and patient person to help you work through your fear. Be upfront and share your experience with them. A good one will ease you back into things and keep you focused on the right stuff. A barn buddy or family member may also be someone to turn to. Sometimes, you just don’t want to tackle your fear alone.
Riding is supposed to bring you joy and happiness. Don’t lose sight of its true purpose in your life. If you need to take a break or change scenery, don’t be afraid to mix it up. If big shows make you nervous, then try some smaller ones with your friends. Have some laughs and enjoy the moment. You might try riding a different horse or a new discipline. Do what it takes to find that love for horses again!
Riding fears are real, but it doesn’t have to control you any longer. You can make safe and smart decisions at the barn without sacrificing what you love. You got this!
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