Overcoming Horse Rider Fear: 3 Tips To Build Confidence Instead - ForTheHorse

Overcoming Horse Rider Fear: 3 Tips To Build Confidence Instead

Overcoming horse rider fear can be a struggle, but you are not alone. Fear of riding horses is very real and it's not as simple as "just get back on and ride". It takes time to overcome fear and build confidence.

When I started riding my Andalusian gelding several years ago, he was young and I was absolutely crippled with fear. I've ridden to the highest levels of classical dressage and horsemanship, from being totally scared.

So scared that I couldn't even stand on the mounting block and mount my horse. I want to share with you today the exact formula that I've used to keep myself on track to help me make the right choices.

Because riders need to have longevity, it's not an easy thing to ride horses. And so we need to have longevity. We need to sustain our success with our horses, and not just have it be a fluke, that one time it worked and then maybe it won't work the next time. 

Here I provide you with my format, 3 tips to build confidence, that I've used and what I use with my students learning to overcome horse riding fears.

So what we need is a process to manage our fear.

#1. Risk vs. Capability

*Terrified of Failure

You may be terrified of failing, perhaps. So what happens is that we fear something that will be worse off than we were before.

If we do this activity, like riding our horse, or whatever it is with your horse, we fear that we'll be worse off. After than we were before, I'll never get to my ride my horse, or I'll never get to enjoy my horse, or I'll get injured, or worse than that.

It's just going to be a totally horrible experience, I might hurt my horse, these kinds of things.

So one core way that I found is to ask ourselves this question.

*Core Question: "If I never get to ride my horse with confidence, what else would make it worth taking the risk?" 

Write that down, because that's really important.

What long term capabilities am I building, there's a lot, to riding your horse?

We are always after safety and security ...

     Maybe we have a passion for our horse and we want the best for our horse...

     We want to make a difference...

     Maybe we want a partnership...

    And we want to get high levels of competition...

But what it comes down to is, it's ultimately about a sensation or a feeling or an emotion that we want to feel. 

So we have scary situations with our horses. And in the past, maybe we didn't process them, or it may be not even related to horses, but they are failed attempts. 

Then time passes, and it gets bigger and bigger. Maybe there's another failed attempt and then it just gets bigger and bigger.

*Crushing Anxiety

Then there may be a crushing anxiety that you have, which is actually the enemy of riding in harmony.  It is the enemy of what we want to accomplish. So this is where you ask yourself the question that I mentioned to you earlier...

*Core Question: "If I never ________ (amount to any kind of rider), what capabilities am I looking to build over the next 5 years?"

And that's the key part, the five years is the key part.

*Removes Distractions 

The five years is what helps you to remove any distractions, that squirrel type stuff where you're going over here, and you're going over there, and you're getting a bit of this and a bit of that and it's like, "hurry, doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo."

And it's just distractions.

Everybody maybe is following a certain guru that you've heard of and so, "I need to do that". So you will go then follow that person and do their stuff. "Oh, but now I need to do this."

*Separates The Moment 

It separates the momentary thing or the tactic and it puts in a long term gain. So it changes things completely. I know it did for me.

Write this for yourself...

If I never (and then put in your outcome like for example reach Grand Prix dressage, or learn to ride my horse outside, or help my horse), what capability, or what potential, am I looking to build over the next five years.

When I've done this exercise over the years for myself, when I've had fear come up, for one reason or another... I figure out the capabilities.

Capabilities might be, for example:

I'd like to be good at understanding my horse

I want to deepen the relationship with my horse 

Become proficient at in hand work 

Build trust through liberty work

In our Harmony For the Horse Program we support you and your horse with your capabilities so you can find your way out of fear and into freedom.

CLICK HERE to discover more about how we can help you to reach freedom, achievement, oneness and joy that you most seek with your horse.

#2. Examine Stories And Re-Script Them

So in our harmony for the horse program, this is what we do. If we were to work together, you'd be working one on one with us, on the mindset, every end of things, using all different kinds of modalities.

So it's not just one modality, it's a combination that works really effectively. And what we're doing is we're helping you to integrate the subconscious with the conscious, our subconscious is 90%. of us, and the conscious is 10%.

So think about that for a second is 90% of us is subconscious, and 10% is conscious, the conscious part is what sets your direction. It's what your intention is. And if there's a problem if you're stuck, what the problem is that there's a tug of war.

And that's why we're stuck. It's a tug of war between the subconscious and the conscious, and you get locked in that place. And so which do you think is gonna win? If you've got 90% and 10%, and they're pulling against each other, the subconscious is going to win every time isn't it?

So our purpose in the mindset section of our program is...

So your conscious choice is, for example, I just want to ride my horse and have fun, but there's all this fear behind it. There's all this subconscious stuff that's getting you stuck, and you can't get out of it.

And I'll give you an example of one of our students in our program. Just what I was saying she just wanted to ride, enjoy her horse and have fun. Because she knew that she'd had that experience when she was younger. But she had so much fear from a previous fall.

Several fall that she had previously, she couldn't even muster up the courage to get the saddle out to, to tack up her horse.

With that much fear she went into self sabotage. She didn't even know this was going on, until we work through our program with her. She found out what was actually happening and then she no longer had the behaviors that would sabotage her success with her horse. She started to get success with her horse, but don't not only that in her personal life as well.

#3. The FSS Format

F stands for FEAR

S stands for STORY

S stands for SUBSTITUTE

So let's talk about FEAR.

I want you to take a couple of seconds right now with your pen and paper. I want you to write down what your fear is... it'll only take a couple of seconds. 

Like "I'm fearful of cantering. "I can't canter " or "I'm always tense when I'm on my horse and that scares me."

I want you to sit with this. If you do this on your own, I want you to sit with this and bring your body along with the ride in this. This is not only our intellect ... where do you feel this physically in your body and zone into that because that's the place that's behind all of this.

We know what's in front of it.  We know what we're thinking.  That's the easy part. What's behind is that really matters.

The next one is STORY...

So what is your story?  What is it that really hurts you?  What are you making of this fear?

What is the story telling?  What are you telling yourself in this story?

"I don't know what I'm doing." "I don't know how to handle my horse spooking", I don't know how to handle that situation. It bothers me when I'm scared that I'm not helping my horse." 

"I"m not good enough!"

So what's bothering you most? What's your story? Write it down.

What we're doing here is we're bringing awareness. We're asking these questions of ourselves. But what I want you to do is, I want you to ask the questions to the part behind us, the unconscious part.

Now write on pieces of paper, little pieces of paper, what you've written down and put them several places in your life...where you might see them as you're walking by.

Maybe on the fridge.  Perhaps you're not thinking about fear directly, but you might see it out of the corner of your eye and in that moment, when you're not thinking about it, it'll tap into what's happening, subconsciously.

This will help you to see the connections that you haven't seen before. Or you might get a completely different answer from your subconscious that you would want from your consciousness. Then that's when we can do something about it.

It'll help you to filter out what you are presently fearful of with your horse and see it differently. So you'll notice things differently from a completely different sense. 

Then we're going to go on to the third thing, which is SUBSTITUTE

So in this section, I don't want you to actually forget or negate your actual fears, we don't want to do that at all.

We want to do instead is to substitute another story. We want to create objectivity. We want to create a different perspective. We want to find out what other factors are in play here.

Because we have an open mind and we're willing to look at them examples say, "okay, that story about my horse, blowing out" and that means something really scary is gonna come up, maybe that's true, it really might be true.

But what else is true? What else might I be open to.

I want you to write down your substitute stories for yourself, as something that you can do. Something that you have done in other areas of your life, not horses, but something that you can do.

I wanted to show you this format that has helped our students to move through resistance, because restoring your fears is very powerful. It's a very powerful tool, but the way you do this is really important, you have to get the subconscious and the conscious.

So your subconscious actually becomes your ally, it becomes your friend, instead of pulling in the opposite direction - 90% and 10% - it actually becomes your friend so both awarenesses of both states are feeding your intention and feeding your goal.

Our body becomes our ally then instead of fighting and forcing, you move with the flow so that your body moves with your horse, your mind is working together as a friendship rather than fighting and pulling against each other. Otherwise, we're in fight or freeze (rather than flow), aren't we?

If we're not, we basically have two options. Either you choose death, or you choose survival. Nowhere in there is thriving with our horse.

We choose to go to survival.

We make short term choices, that may be not the best choices, because we're in survival mode. Just like our horses, and we make self-sabotaging decisions.

We interpret our horse in ways that perhaps are not really what's going on. Because we're in that state of fight or freeze. And so this makes it impossible for you to reach your goals with your horse.

If you're in that place, that you're not going to make quality choices for yourself and your horse, then you're not fueling your confidence.

Then, if you're not making appropriate choices, then you're going to have another mini failure, and then you're going to not make appropriate choices again, and then your confidence gets eroded again. You're reactive. You're in the reactive place, and you're fueling your fear.

Then you'll fuel your horses fear, guaranteed. 

This format that I've given you is what will help you to stay on track with whenever you get a situation that comes up that is fearful for you.

If you want support with something like this personally, we help you to work through our FSS Format correctly so that you can overcome your fears, build confidence and get on with your goals with your horse.

CLICK HERE to schedule a call with us!

About the Author Chris Adderson

Chris Adderson teaches riders and horses how to move with ease and grace to create astounding results and lifelong relationships of their dreams. She teaches valuable skills and educational strategies to get more results, quicker and faster.

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