Would you like to take the fear out of your riding?
Overcome Your fears and be free to enjoy the hobby you fell in love with!
My hope after you read this blog post is for you to have tools and ways to face these fears and overcome them so you can enjoy riding. So it can be a stress reliever not a stress inducer. Riding is supposed to be fun!
WHY YOU MAY FEEL FEAR WHILE RIDING
Afraid of the potential of falling off and the unknown of getting hurt and how bad ut could be.
Afraid of riding in a group, must have more control and more awareness. Can be like an obstacle course.
Had a traumatic experience and you are afraid of it happening again. Or hearing horror stories and you are afraid it could happen to you.
Afraid that you won’t have control of your horse. Maybe the horse might buck, rear, spook, take off.
Afraid that you will look bad and embarrass yourself
Afraid that you won’t know what you are doing, which may result in lack of control or getting embarrassed.
Afraid of getting hurt.
Learning a new skill. It may be out of your comfort zone and you feel like you will fail. So fear of failing.
Fear can be more than just riding. It can start from the ground. Horses are big heavy potentially dangerous animals. Knowing how to handle certain situations is important.
STORY TIME: Falling Off Two Times In One Ride (Fear of Falling)
I was about thirteen years old, it was my first mounted meeting at Pony Club. A member of the club was kind enough to let me ride their pony. I was really excited and happy to have my lesson. I don’t remember the whole story but I do remember getting on this cute pony mare about 13.3 hands and a buckskin. Not too soon after I mounted the mare I dismounted, well… more like got propelled against my will into the air and then was ran over by the little beast. I was a bit shaken up, but you know they say… you fall off you have to get back on.
I bravely dusted off the sand from my clothes and took the reins from the instructor who had caught the devil. I put my foot in the stirrup and hoisted myself back up into the saddle. In about two seconds I was back eating dirt and trampled for a second time. It was like she did it on purpose. At this point the instructor thought it would be a good idea to lunge the pony before I got back on. Oh how I wished that had been done after the first time I fell off and got ran over.
After running around on the lunge for a good fifteen minutes the mare was huffing. It was time for me to mount up for a third time. At this point I was very rattled and tense. I was afraid to fall off again and get hurt, because it hurt to fall off and I had a good reason to be afraid of that. I didn’t fall off again during the mounted meeting luckily, but I was now tight and unforgiving with the reins, holding my breath, and just jerky and tense with my whole body.
It took me a while after that ride to overcome the fear of falling off.
My Fear: In this case I developed the fear of falling off due to the trauma of experiencing it in that lesson. I knew I fell off because the pony has started bolting and bucking. So what I was really afraid of was another horse doing the same thing and throwing me off, not just randomly falling off for no reason.
How I Overcame the Fear: The pony’s temperament, experience and training did not match what I needed for the level of riding I was at. I needed a quieter, more experienced well trained horse. So I slowly grew my confidence back overtime riding appropriate horses for my level of experience.
What are you afraid of when you ride horses? (COMMENT DOWN BELOW)
Maybe you only have one fear when it comes to riding or maybe you have a long list. A lot of times we get stuck at a certain level because we don’t know how to go about overcoming the fears we have that are holding us back. I have been researching and learning from experience ways to push back and defeat fear. You must face fear to overcome it. So without further a due here are hopefully helpful tips.
TIPS TO OVERCOME FEAR IN YOUR RIDING
Create a Support Team–Find a knowledgeable instructor that will help you progress. You want someone that is sympathetic but won’t let you give up if you start to panic.
Outside of your riding lessons if you can have your spouse or a friend be there for you to encourage you.
Would also help to have a riding partner if possible.
There are also riding clubs and organizations that you can join, that may help you gain your confidence.
Increase Your Riding Skills- Learn how to react and deal with certain situations. Ask questions if your wondering what you should do in certain circumstances. The better control you have of yourself and your horse the less fear you will have. The better your balance and independent sear you develop the more control you will have.
Be Patient- You won’t overcome your fear overnight. It will take time, and small steps. Just keep moving in the right direction no matter how small the steps, keep going. You need to be patient with yourself and try your best to be happy with the small accomplishments. That brings me to the next tip… Goals!
Create Goals- Create a large goal and then create small attainable goals that will help you reach your overall large goal. Find your comfort zone and from there take baby steps. These small steps are really what gets you to where you want to be. If you just try to go for the large goal and don’t have a plan to get there then you are setting yourself up for failure, let down and negativity. Be happy and celebrate when you reach the little goals. Each small accomplishment is moving you down the right direction.
Don’t Compare Yourself- You are on your own journey. Each person is going to be at a different spot on there journey but everyone had to start somewhere. Focus on you and what you can do, not on what others can do better than you. You will get there if you want to and who knows maybe you can be even better. You will never know if you don’t try.
Fitness- Make sure you are in good shape, muscular and cardiovascular. If you aren’t then that can be making it more difficult to ride. If you are nervous while riding and then don’t have the stamina or strength to push through what you are working on, it can be very discouraging. Check out different workout routines and incorporate them into your everyday life. You will improve in your riding much more quickly.
Change How You Think- Turn your negative thinking into positive thinking.
Instead of thinking:
- ‘I can’t jump that.’ Think ‘When I build my confidence and experience I will jump that.’
- ‘I’m definitely going to fall off.’ Think ‘I can ride securely and balanced.’
- ‘I am tense and hunched.’ Think ‘I sit tall with my chin up and I’m relaxed and having fun.’
- ‘That wasn’t too terrible.’ Think ‘That was awesome!’
- ‘I don’t think that will work.’ Think ‘I will try it and see what I can do to make it work.’
- ‘I feel like a failure.’ Think ‘What am I doing well?’
Ride a Suitable Horse- My story above was an example of riding a horse that was not suitable for my riding level at that time. You want a horse that will build your confidence and that you can have some level of trust. A calm, well trained older, more experienced horse is ideal. Although I’ve learned a lot from riding all kinds of horses, if you are not ready for a greener or more difficult horse, you could really get hurt and maybe no longer want to ride.
Hypnosis- I highly, highly recommend you DO NOT do this. They’re are plenty of people that think this is great and it really works. They said it make a huge difference. However you are allowing someone else to control your mind and it opens you up to spiritual darkness. Not many people know about this because it seems like such a positive thing. But it is much like an Ouija Board that opens doors. I will reference some articles and videos below about this.
Visualization- Unlike hypnosis I find this technique very helpful. You make up a positive experience in your mind of how you want your ride to go instead of imagining horrible what if scenarios. You think of being on the horse, how your horse is responding, what signals you are giving your horse, where your horse is going. I think this is great before jump courses.
Prayer- I know not everyone has a relationship with Jesus, though he welcomes everyone and anyone who wants it… I mean anyone. As a believer I have seen a lot of miracles, answered prayers and healings. I truly believe that God answers prayers. So if I am scared sometimes I will pray for protection, or I may pray that my horse be calm, or that I stay calm, whatever comes to mind. Sometimes I may say. ‘I command the spirit of Fear to leave in Jesus name!’ Fear is not from God. As a believer we have authority thanks to what Jesus did to make it leave, as well as any other negative spirit.
Which tips are you going to try out? Do you have any other tips to add to this list for overcoming fear of riding? (COMMENT DOWN BELOW)