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Need help with irrational fear issues*small update post 55*

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  • Need help with irrational fear issues*small update post 55*

    I'm hesitant to post this because I'm beating myself up for what I think are totally irrational fears, so please be kind I've been riding my greenie (yes he's my first young horse, but we all have to have a first one, right?) and he's been wonderful!! Some of you may remember the not-so-hot trainer from the Spring, well I gave my boy a couple of weeks to chill out afterwards, and things have gone great since then. HOWEVER, recently I have been driving myself crazy with all of these "what-if's" to the point where I'm now nervous to get even get on I picture these trainwrecks for no reason at all. As I said, he's been great and has a real want-to-please attitude, has no buck, no rear, no bolt, the worst is his little drop-n-scoot-spook (he is pretty quick and athletic), but even then it really takes nothing to get him back with me. So why am I doing this now??? When I get on I'm stiff as a board now and start looking for stuff for him to spook at. I'm starting to make excuses not to ride, like I'll get totally side-tracked cleaning out my tack box, or decide that he just HAS to have a 2 hour bath today instead, or it's too windy, etc. etc. etc., and I hate it! I really need help to quit thinking of all the disasters that "could" happen... Afterall, we could mentally irrational-fear ourselves out of doing anything in life if we allow it..flying, driving a car, getting on an elevator, going for a walk at dusk, etc.
    I'm not sure if it's really relevant, but I did read when I did a search on fear issues here, that it may be.. my father passed away, after a long illness, three months ago. We were prepared for it, but I was surprised at how much of a shock it was when the time actually came. If that is causing some emotional baggage that I'm not aware of, I'd love advice on how to deal with it. I really want more than anything to just relax and enjoy my wonderful horse! Bringing him along has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and this road block sucks.
    (Please don't suggest I sell my horse..as I said he's been great. It's ME that I want to fix!)

    Edit to add: I work with a trainer once a week. I also do pilates, yoga, strength training, or cardio four to five times a week and am in pretty good shape. I've ridden since I was 12 (now 31), so I have a pretty decent seat. Just trying to explain why these fears seem irrational to me
    Last edited by ASBnTX; Oct. 24, 2009, 02:52 PM.

  • #2
    A lot of people go through this. If you want fast and efficient help go see a therapist - seriously.

    If you search, there are threads around that offer lots of tips on how to deal with fear. You've got to figure out what works best for you AND like your other pursuits (riding, pilates etc), having and expert coach you through it would make a lot of sense.

    You're normal. You're not alone.

    Comment


    • #3
      Been there done that.

      Quit what if'n. It does no good, in any situations. You can what if a situation until the cows come home. But what if's don't make what are's. Focus on the what are's, they sound good to me.

      I found that if I got off my own back that helped the most. I put more pressure on myself than anyone else ever could have.

      Also, tell yourself you trust your horse. Tell your horse you trust him. If you do that is. It takes the pressure off.

      And yes, your father's passing can effect you in many ways. I'm so very sorry. Three months is not so long. Be kind to yourself.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jane Savoie has a new program about Freedom from Fear check it out on her website! www.janesavoie.com

        I would try this before a therapist.......

        I feel your pain Good luck!
        We do not have an overpopulation of dogs, we have an under population of responsible dog owners!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't know if this would work for you, but after reading your post and seeing myself, this is what I have decided to do for a year:
          Just trail ride and enjoy it all. No more dressage training. Just have FUN. Isn't that why we have our horses in the first place? I just need the break to refresh my mind and I know my horse was needing it too.

          I do hope you find a solution for yourself soon and take solace in the fact that there are others out there with the same issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            Been there, done that, have the T-shirt and I've ridden for more decades than you've been alive. I deal with a fear that used to keep me off of horses. Since you said that your horse is great, that's one problem down. I don't 'do' dressage proper but use dressage principles in my riding, just happened to see your title when I looked in here.

            What worked for me was backing off and just enjoying my horse. I have major 'bloody body syndrome' from all my horse wrecks over the years. I KNOW what can happen on the quietest/ferocious horse and/or best/worst trained horse, wrecks happen. Went back to rescuing horses, my first love. I don't have to ride them if I don't want, get a lot of joy, pure unadulterated JOY, in fixing the poor things up. Haven't had that in so many years, it's embarrassing to admit. I had gotten to the point with horses that I was doing things that my heart wasn't in and horses that I just didn't want to be around (that's not your problem, I know, just saying what it was for me).

            For me, I had to find the JOY (again, that word!) in horses. Now, I'm pretty much gung-ho again and can't wait to set foot in the barn every morning and evening.

            Hope you find your spot.
            1.20.2013

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you! It definitely does help to know that other people do this too. I envy the brave and the bold!
              Donkey ~ Thanks yes I do have a great group of people who don't push me too much, but do encourage me to get out of my comfort zone a little bit.
              Maria ~ Yes, those stinkin "what if's"!!! I did read Jane Savoie's books and I love how she teaches to stay in the present, not worry about the future. I do trust my horse, he can be a silly-bean, but he's proven himself to be pretty reliable, in spite of the saddlebred-looky-giraffe-snort M.O. I've learned he's all talk. That's why I don't understand why I'm feeling this way. I am hard on myself, and on the days when I don't just "do it" I'm totally kicking myself. Last night it was dark by the time I got to the barn (darkness is something else I use to talk myself out of riding), and we were by ourselves (another good excuse!), but I tacked him up, did a little groundwork, and MADE myself get on. It was really, really, really hard (I could totally pictures the cat coming running by, or a horse kicking a stall and making a ton of noise, or big truck loud driving by, or, or...). But I did it, and we just walked a few circles, and I got off. I was happy that I got on, but wish I could do more. I'm actually much better once I get on. It's the build up to mounting that I start to freeze.
              Arizona DQ ~ I love Jane's books. I practice visualization regulary. I picture these beautiful rides, and then..wham!...something spooks us and we go bolting off. It's crazy It's like my biggest fear is losing all control. I think I will look into the program, because I think I need to reprogram my brain, and from what I've read, her more detailed techniques are for just that purpose. I'm not a therapist kind of person, if that makes any sense, so I think that route is more appealing for now.
              Cincinnati ~ You don't even want to know what my imagination is doing in regards to trail riding right now! That's great advice though..hopefully I can get to where we can do that soon and just relax and enjoy my time with him.
              Last edited by ASBnTX; Sep. 25, 2009, 05:07 PM. Reason: typos

              Comment


              • #8
                I just wanted to share - This summer I was getting really worked up about going cross country schooling with my young horse, then I started to get worried that I'd encounter trains when trail riding (horse is fine with trains). Then in early August the day after a cross country school (that I was so worried about) I was walking my mare bareback and I fell off from a walk. Really bruised my tail bone (still hurts). Falling off from a walk (there was a spook!) and getting hurt made me realize that crap is going to happen and it's going to happen regardless. I'm still marvelling that I got pretty hurt from a fall from a walk! and not from what I perceived as much riskier behaviour. It was a great example for me and I have really taken it to heart, worrying isn't going to change things - now I need to see if the lesson lasts....

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow--OP, your post sounds a lot like my life right now, to a certain extent. I lost my dad less than 2 years ago, changed jobs, moved to a new house, sold a house, lost my beloved cat, the list goes on...

                  Only, I have a mare that's spooky, quick, difficult to ride, and just became not fun any longer. After beating myself up, day in and day out for about 6 months, I broke down and lost it in front of my trainer after a difficult lesson. I confessed to her how much I was beating myself up for not enjoying my horse, for feeling like I wasn't as far along as I needed to be in my riding and with my horse, and basically just let it all come out. After stopping and really listening to what she had to say, and knowing that she meant it and that I have her support. I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted. We came up with a plan. I really think that the action of just telling someone close, helped.

                  Yes, the stress of losing your father has affected you. My Dad was ill for 4 years before he passed. It just takes time to heal from it, no matter the circumstances. It's a heartbreak and also a relief. There are so many emotions that come from losing a parent, that you just can't expect for it to subside quickly. I found that it did affect my riding, and you know what, that's okay, because eventually, you will heal emotionally, and be back on track, as a stronger person.

                  Give yourself some time to heal. Take your good, wonderful boy out and do some fun things! Don't push. If all you do is walk, then so be it, at least you did that much. I would even sugget, allowing yourself to take a "horse vacation". Purposely don't ride for 2 weeks or so, and tell yourself it's OK. You have earned it. BTW--it's okay to cry and let it all out too!

                  Just know that the fears will subside, and you will be fine soon...what you are going through is okay.
                  Unashamed Member of the Dressage Arab Clique
                  CRAYOLA POSSE= Thistle

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a pretty bad accident riding 2 years ago, where my younger pony spooked & took off and I fell off and ended up underneath her & got run over. Ended up with a broken finger & badly sprained ankle which still hurts. After this, just going to the stable was terrifying, and I very nearly gave up riding for good. Now, 2 years later, I'm starting to get much more comfortable riding this pony, and her own issues have been sorted out pretty well.

                    The first few times I got back on a horse, I was totally terrified, but I had someone lead the horse, who was very steady. I then progressed to riding my other pony, who's pretty bombproof, once I'd healed enough. It did take me almost a year before I got back on the pony I fell off, but I did. When I wasn't riding her, I worked from the ground on teaching her to relax & be calm. And since then, I've worked on de-spooking her & finding ways for us to be safe when we go for a ride.

                    Currently, this is what I do with her. First, I free lunge her, so she can get out anything she needs to, since I don't really like going fast, while she does. If there's stuff going on that has a chance of spooking her (high winds or snow sliding off the indoor), then I may just work with her from the ground, since I don't want to set up a situation in which something could happen.

                    As silly as it may sound, I will talk to her and tell her that she needs to be steady and take care of me, and I'll take care of her.

                    The books that I think have helped me the most are Linda Kohanov's 2, 'Tao of Equus' & 'Riding Between the Worlds'.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I haven't even had a bad accident on a horse (knock on wood) and I have a terrible time with "bad thoughts" of accidents. Both my horses are terribly sane and sensible, and I know what their quirks are, and none of their quirks are life-threatening. Same when driving a car. I didn't learn to drive til I was in my late 20s, and the first year I used to have constant pictures in my head of the car just falling to pieces around me or veering off the road of its own volition! I still don't enjoy driving on interstates. My palms sweat. Just a relic of coming from a very anxious family, I think!

                      I've found in getting to know a good number of people who appear to be very bold, confident, assertive, etc. that inside they often have the same fears and tremblings and bad thoughts. They just somehow go on anyway. Pretending to be brave is about the same as actually being brave, I think.

                      When I'm feeling especially distracted or worried my new trick is to sing "hi ho hi ho, it's off to work we go" - it's silly, but it has a good swinging beat that gets me and my horse focused and forward, and it forces me to breathe.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I think many of us have been there in some way, shape of form. I suggest taking a workshop on relaxation (good for you that you aready do pilates and yoga!) and one of your instructors can help you find one, I'll bet! Replace the "f..r" word with FUN!
                        And I want you to remove the "f..r" word from your vocabulary. Go for a walk on your horse...enjoy him. Have fun, let him make you laugh, and let him be your shoulder to lean on, tell him about your Dad (so sorry for your loss)
                        I used to whistle "San Antonio Rose" while I was warming up for reined cow horse classes to keep me from worrying, and to keep me from over riding and over analyzing my warmup. Worked well for me. I had something else I'd run through my head warming up for dressage at horse trials...whatever it takes.
                        You sound like a good and kind person, and one who will love having FUN on your nice horse...and there is not a single person here who has not experienced some kind of "f..r" at some point in riding.
                        What would you try if you knew you would not fail?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP, this is an ongoing battle for me ... it's part of my psyche now and probably always will be. Part of it is too many "wrecks" of my own, part of it is too much education/awareness of "what could happen" even under the best circumstances, and part of it is recognition that the worst-case (or even pretty-bad-case) scenarios could limit my ability to work and really hurt the family's financial situaton/hinder me in meeting what I see as my responsibilities.

                          This is the only thing that works for me personally: I include worry time in my pre-ride preparations. Seriously. It sounds quite silly, but before mounting up, I take a few minutes (used to be 30-ish, now I'm down to about 5 ... I worry much faster after years of practice, I suppose ) and basically invite the worries in. I run through what disaster might befall me in THIS ride. There are usually one or two things that pop right in (horse rehabbing from the back injury might buck, windy day might spook greenbean, etc.) So I worry about them. And I picture the very worst outcome. And then, I run through my plan(s) for dealing with said disasters.

                          And then I tell myself: "OK, that was a good worry session. Good job, you; all done now!" And I get on the horse and get to it. If I feel the butterflies, I persist, telling myself (out loud if I need to): "Hey, you worried already; now it's time to ride!"

                          Do those niggling anxieties sneak back in? Yup. Much of the time. When I feel it, I take a deep breath, and tell myself (sometimes saying it out loud, if necessary): "Right, we took care of that already. NOW, it is time to concentrate on XXX." XXX might be the rhythm of the stride (helped by counting out loud, which also regulates breathing, which calms nerves), might be alternating between straight and shoulder-in on the four sides of a square, might be getting a perfect trot or canter rhythm over cavalletti, and so on and so on. The thing is to consciously recognize the anxiety and deliberately and rationally put it away and turn your attention to something else.

                          The whole approach is a variation on a technique I was taught waaaayyy back in college for meditation, only instead of correcting my brain back to "nothing," I correct it back to a specific something that is NOT a fear. It works for me, doesn't require any special training, just a willingness to give it a good, long try, even if it feels really silly at first.
                          Equinox Equine Massage

                          In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                          -Albert Camus

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Be Kind to yourself

                            The loss of a parent is devastating--whether it happens suddenly or not. I lost my mother to cancer and understand how suddenly you can feel so out of control in your own life. So it is very possible, if your fears are recent, that they are related to the loss of your father. My sincere condolences and hugs.

                            You have gotten a lot of great advice on this board. I can only add my empathy, because I also beat myself up on a regular basis about my riding fears with my young, but very sane, mare. Trail ride for relaxation???? She's never been on trails, and although she would probably be fine except for the minor spook (especially with a confident rider on board), I would be imaging her bolting off and leaving me in the dust! It doesn't help that I have had some bad falls off previous horses, including being bucked off by my previous horse on a trail ride and hitting my head and shoulders on some hard rocks (that god for helmets).

                            Also, I think not riding alone at the barn, especially at night, is a very sane response. One less thing to feel guilty about!!!

                            One thing that helps me (when I actually practice it) is, like Coloredhorse mentioned, set up some easy but specific riding goals or patterns for a ride. Even at a walk. Like "walk a figure 8, then do small circles in each corner, then walk across the diagonal, focusing on a point to keep your horse straight, etc." I can get easily distracted and also lost in my "what ifs", but if I can stick to a pattern, it helps to control my fearful thoughts.

                            I have a lot of fears about showing, and have not done alot of it. But I will admit that the class I had the least fears about and the most fun were trail classes, because I had to think so much about the patterns and next steps that I didn't have a chance to worry about anything else!

                            Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you have a lot of support on this board--we empathize with and understand your fears. You sound like a wonderful, caring person and horse owner. Take one step at a time and be kind to yourself. Pat yourself on the back for the things you do with your horse--don't beat yourself up for what you don't do.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by coloredhorse View Post
                              OP, this is an ongoing battle for me ... it's part of my psyche now and probably always will be. Part of it is too many "wrecks" of my own, part of it is too much education/awareness of "what could happen" even under the best circumstances, and part of it is recognition that the worst-case (or even pretty-bad-case) scenarios could limit my ability to work and really hurt the family's financial situaton/hinder me in meeting what I see as my responsibilities.

                              This is the only thing that works for me personally: I include worry time in my pre-ride preparations. Seriously. It sounds quite silly, but before mounting up, I take a few minutes (used to be 30-ish, now I'm down to about 5 ... I worry much faster after years of practice, I suppose ) and basically invite the worries in. I run through what disaster might befall me in THIS ride. There are usually one or two things that pop right in (horse rehabbing from the back injury might buck, windy day might spook greenbean, etc.) So I worry about them. And I picture the very worst outcome. And then, I run through my plan(s) for dealing with said disasters.

                              And then I tell myself: "OK, that was a good worry session. Good job, you; all done now!" And I get on the horse and get to it. If I feel the butterflies, I persist, telling myself (out loud if I need to): "Hey, you worried already; now it's time to ride!"

                              Do those niggling anxieties sneak back in? Yup. Much of the time. When I feel it, I take a deep breath, and tell myself (sometimes saying it out loud, if necessary): "Right, we took care of that already. NOW, it is time to concentrate on XXX." XXX might be the rhythm of the stride (helped by counting out loud, which also regulates breathing, which calms nerves), might be alternating between straight and shoulder-in on the four sides of a square, might be getting a perfect trot or canter rhythm over cavalletti, and so on and so on. The thing is to consciously recognize the anxiety and deliberately and rationally put it away and turn your attention to something else.

                              The whole approach is a variation on a technique I was taught waaaayyy back in college for meditation, only instead of correcting my brain back to "nothing," I correct it back to a specific something that is NOT a fear. It works for me, doesn't require any special training, just a willingness to give it a good, long try, even if it feels really silly at first.
                              That's brilliant. I'm going to try it!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                sddlbrdgr,

                                Stop beating yourself up. You seem to have a lot of emotional stuff going on. I think you just need some time off from riding, or at least riding with a goal. Maybe just brush and lunge. Maybe just walk on a loose rein - practice walking your tests. Anything that doesn't add stress to your already stressful life.

                                I think you'll be fine with a little time.

                                Good luck and know that we've all been there at some point.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  "your entire problem is due to a grief reaction"

                                  I am not so sure. I don't think we human creatures are always that easy to read. Fear and anxiety when riding isn't always due to a loss in the family, even when it's fairly recent.

                                  Actually, I felt you were afraid of your horse when you made your first posts about the trainer concerns in the spring. I thought you were very afraid of your horse. VERY.

                                  I think the thing to do with those fears that seem to come out of nowhere, is to get riding lessons. From someone who's very strict and keeps you working and busy all the time. As your horse gets more and more trained, and you get more and more balanced, you will find one day you're looking back and wondering what you were afraid of.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thank you all for your replies! There's a lot here to think about! I'm writing from my phone so I can't type too much
                                    Slc2 - that may very well be the case, but my concern is WHY? Sure I know he's capable of going from 0-60mph in 2 seconds, but has he ever....no. Even with the trainer, whom he had every reason to try and dump, he was very very good. I would not even call him hot..he's quiet content to motor around at a walk..he does have a motor if I ask for it, but he's never chomping at the bit so to speak. That's my point..he's hardly taken one wrong step with me, and I'm feeling this way. I started out the first few months with a little nerves riding him, but nothing too bad. Not like this.
                                    It may too be some form of grief, or maybe a mixture of both, who knows? But in my mind there's no real reason for it, and I just want to be over it. I'm going to think about everything you all have said. I like the idea of having a very specific plan.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      SBG,
                                      For what it's worth, I used to have "irrational fears" about flying. It was so bad that I would only do clinics within driving distance. It turns out that the fear of flying was just a convenient "hook" to hang stuff on. It allowed me to express fear/grief.

                                      After all, no one was going to tell me I was crazy to be afraid to fly. After all, how weird is it to go through the air in this huge cylinder?!?

                                      No one is going to say you're crazy to be afraid of being out of control on a horse. After all, they outweigh you 10x, and they're creatures of flight. They don't operate "logically".

                                      So hanging our fears/grief on something like flying/bolting horses is something we can justify to ourselves.

                                      Here's a quick tip I use that I learned from Susan Jeffers who wrote Feel the Fear...And Do it Anyways.

                                      Preface your "What if" questions with the word "So". Then answer yourself with "I can handle it".

                                      What if my horse bolts becomes...So what if my horse bolts...I can handle it.

                                      What if I'm tense becomes...So what if I'm tense...I can handle it.

                                      What if I fall off becomes...So what if I fall off...I can handle it.

                                      Hang it there!
                                      Jane

                                      PS I also schedule "worry time". Better to allow and give permission to it than fight it sometimes. Tell your fears they have 15 min...Then worry your head off. Then when time is up, if the fears return, acknowledge them but tell them they have to wait until your designated worry time tomorrow.
                                      jane savoie
                                      dressage mentor

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                                      • #20
                                        Agree, except as one trainer told me, '15 minutes is too long to let those fears boss you around', LOL. I think at first it's good to take all the time it needs, and then start to pare down over time how much 'maintenace' those fears require.

                                        'Yes, SLC, but WHY'.

                                        Why are you asking WHY?

                                        Fear is an emotion. It doesn't HAVE to make sense. It is an emotion. Fear can have a million reasons, or none at all, or just what reason people LIKE according to their own social theories.

                                        Teens and young adults often simply suffer from anxiety as their nervous systems mature. Middle aged gals often get fear of riding as they go thru menopause and their reactions, perceptions and physical reactions change and their bodies and hormones are changing.

                                        And fear, it just ... it just HAPPENS sometimes. It is not always something so terribly logical. If it makes you FEEL better to declare, 'Oh yes, my fear, my fear comes from poor toilet training when I was two...' THEN GO AHEAD, LOL. Fear is an emotion. It does not always yield to rational analysis. It just bubbles up and it's going to fade away just as simply if it's managed properly.

                                        My suggestion?? Stop trying to make it be logical and giving it a 'reason'. It's just fear. It's like rain. Sometimes it rains! The more you analyze it, the more you cede to it. So a certain type of motion, your perceptions just aren't very good at analyzing, are aren't routined to. So you fear. So you have bad memories.

                                        Mine is of getting whipped on the back by an instructor - I get very nervous when I have to work close to an instructor - and I do it. And I'll KEEP doing it. Because I need to and the riding is more important than the fear. It's that simple. What's more important to you? Riding. So you decide you are going to make it happen.

                                        FEEL IT. Feel how fear affects your stomach and your muscles and your vision. And say, 'HELLO FEAR. So, what do you want from me today', LOL. And then tell it to go sod off.

                                        I know a few folks, who their way of facing their fear, is every time they feel it coming on, they CUSS. YUP, LOL. A friend of mine does this and I never understood it til she told me, 'When I get scared, I cuss, and the more I cuss, the more I fight it back'. She'd let out a string of cuss words, then laugh a little and then on she'd go.

                                        It's a wave. Waves ALWAYS seem bigger than they are. And do you know something? A wave never actually moves ANYTHING. You put a ball in the water, this big wave passes by, the ball bobs a little bit, and in the end, when the wave has passed, it is right where it was before the wave passed by.

                                        First, I want to let you know that I don't think these fears are new or due to your sad loss in your family, though losses can often make feelings more sudden and extreme. It came across loud and clear as you talked about those problems in the spring. I remember thinking, 'she's going to have one heck of a time when she brings that horse home, she simply is not taking the right steps and setting this situation up for success, she is NOT getting enough help or the right help.'. I felt sure you would get to the spot you are talking about right now. Especially because you chose to bring the horse home and not get enough help. What's happening now is inevitable and I've seen plenty of people go through it.

                                        The solution, in every case I've seen, is first a basic, very basic decision that you resolve to fix this. The first step is to make a decision that you are going to find a way, whatever it takes, and to start picturing yourself, visualizing yourself, riding your horse across that field or arena, responding cooly and briefly with your seat, rein and leg when your horse makes a little scoot or wiggle, knowing just what to do, and having your horse respond, and going back to that loose, relaxed, supple, well balanced feeling without even thinking about it.

                                        If you do the right thing, if you apply the aids, and your trained horse does not respond, there are two possibilities. One. You are not applying the correct aid or reinforcing it. Two, your horse is not quite as trained as you think. The solution is simple, have an instructor who teaches you how to teach your horse, and lets you know when you are not riding in an effective way.

                                        Then to get help from a competent riding instructor, if need be, every single time you get on the horse, and that doesn't mean getting on the horse once a week or once every two weeks or letting the instructor ride the horse and you getting on now and again - there's too much time between rides to think and worry, and too much underlying knowledge that one can only do this if the instructor is there to set everything up perfectly. Riding the horse has to become a normal part of one's routine, that one doesn't even think about, like driving a car.

                                        Establish a routine. You come home, you get a snack, and out to the barn. You longe your horse, and you tell your fear, 'Now just relax, fear, all I'm going to do is longe'. And you longe, and you get on your horse, and you tell your fear, 'Now just relax fear, I'm just going to walk in a circle', and then you do the same with a trot circle, and you canter one circle, and you get off, and tomorrow you canter ONE MORE CIRCLE, and pretty soon, you are free.

                                        It just takes what it takes - help. Therapy from a counselor does nothing if the basic problem continues - riding technique and skill. It does not good to learn to chant 'I'm not afraid, I'm not afraid' as you go tumbling off because you lost your balance, without knowing why you lost your balance or what to change.

                                        It's recognizing that all fear is an emotion, not a reality, but an emotion, that washes over you, and is like a blanket that disconnects you from your riding perceptions and reactions, and whatever you have learned and could apply. It's just like turning off a light, so you can't read a book.

                                        It is also recognizing that almost everyone is afraid from time to time. One of the greatest riders in history, Reiner Klimke, had a little trick that he'd take a very deep breath and breathe out slowly. He was doing this after he saluted and rode off down the center line in the Olympics, in the world championships, in every major competition he was in! Everyone has tricks like that.

                                        A lot of people pick a focal point and stare at it, STARE at it, like you are going to burn it down, and KEEP staring at it. As you ride around on a circle, you could look at one fence post, and then switch to another as you go around. Get some tools, and use 'em!

                                        EVERYONE IS AFRAID. One learns to manage and work with and control fear. NO ONE IS COMPLETELY WITHOUT FEAR.

                                        It's mostly riding technique and skill that makes an unsure person, an afraid person, unafraid, or just not so afraid that he's paralyzed, and can still think and focus. It's also about getting one's head straightened out, leaving old ideas behind, and doing what you dream of doing with a joy and a freedom from fears that cripple one or prevent one from enjoying life, and that makes your life even brighter and more wonderful. Nicolas Cage had a very funny speech in the movie 'Moonstruck'. Basically what he said is we aren't born to have everything be perfect and tidy. So sure, be afraid, and so what. You can still learn to manage it and do what you dream. All it takes is hard work!
                                        Last edited by slc2; Sep. 26, 2009, 11:34 AM.

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