Rider Apprehension: A Confident Rider’s #1 Skill - ForTheHorse

Rider Apprehension: A Confident Rider’s #1 Skill

Rider apprehension affects our horse's performance, and our horsemanship. All equestrians experience rider apprehension when training and riding horses.

I used to think that we as riders were not able to overcome apprehension. But I have helped so many riders to overcome apprehension and fear in our Harmony For the Horse program, that I now believe that it is very possible. to end today's training.

It's totally normal for us to be apprehensive around horses, but how do you deal with this, how can you still reach your goals with your horse, how you can excel with their horse, and be basically the best that you can possibly be?

Read on to find out the single most valuable skill you can have as a rider, and how you can overcome feelings of being apprehensive.

In our Harmony For the Horse Program we help you to move from being stuck, afraid and unconfident to empowered, confident and successful in your riding.

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.

Approaches you may have taken in the past:


Singing when you're riding.  Singing to your horse. Have you done this?

Control Your Emotions

What about working on the mindset, like the power of the mind or controlling your emotions, or ways to control your emotions?

Talking Out Loud While Riding

What about talking out loud while you're riding to keep you focused?

Consciously Relaxing

How about consciously relaxing or breath work? Focusing on your breath, focusing on how your breath is being disturbed at certain points in time.


What about supplements like rescue remedy, or even alcohol!!?


What about meditation have you tried that?


What about visualizations or maybe just saying, "I just need more time, I just need to put in the time that it takes. I need more experience, I need more knowledge all of these things?"

Listening to Music

What about listening to music while you're riding?

All of these things are useful.

Let me know if you've done or tried any of these things. I know that I certainly have. I know also that these things will help superficially, so they will help somewhat, but they will not get down to the deep true core of the issue or the problem that you are facing.

So, here's what to do instead...

Address the subconscious mind

What you need to do to address the actual core or the problem is to address the subconscious mind.

96% of the mind of what we do is ruled by our subconscious mind, and only a very small portion is our conscious mind.

What we do with our horses and how we do, it is our subconscious mind. i

Visualization can help if done correctly... and I'll give you an example...

I was teaching a student who was part of a group that was highly demanding. So she had a goal. She wanted to reach a certain level where she had to do exams along the way.  She would visualize herself passing these exams and doing the exams.

But this actually added more tension to what she was doing with her horse.

(Tension will definitely affect your horse and what you're doing with your horse. Our horses are very sensitive to how our bodies move, how they're holding tension.)

She found that this ambition was filling her body with tension; being focused on the future and these goals was giving her a lot of tension. And it wasn't until we worked with her in our program, and we showed her exactly what was going within herself, and her subconscious mind, that she could work towards her goals in a positive way.

We helped the conscious mind to talk to the subconscious mind, and the two of them to get on the same page. So they we're working together, it wasn't until then that she could really get into reaching her goals and letting go of the apprehension around those goals.

The apprehension was creating tension and postures in her body that was not helping her to reach her goals.

Unbeknownst to her, she was holding these tensions, which was causing her to move in a certain way.  Then she would get really mad at herself, and in looking back at what she did, "oh, I made this mistake, I made that mistake." So we helped her very deeply at this level to help her with self sabotage, the behavior that she had conditioned in herself, and was applying to her horse.

This is how we helped her:

*to realize what was going on

*to process that

*to be the best that she could possibly be, rather than be in the self sabotage loop that was pulling her down.

As we worked with her, she discovered more and more of the layers that were there. And layers not only with our horse, but in life in general, the layers that she was harboring within her body.

She told us that it had a profound effect on her horse!

t's not easy work to do this right, it may be a lot easier just to focus on your breathing or just to have a visualization board, these types of things are more approachable and easier to do.

But they will not get the source of the problem, they will not help you reach the actual truth of your movement and the truth of what's going on inside your body. 

She told us that it had a profound effect on her horse. And actually it became fun, because as you pull away the layers, it starts to become fun. 

The most valuable skill that you can have as a rider

The most valuable skill that you can have as a rider is to know how to process this. How to work with your subconscious mind, how to connect your conscious mind and your subconscious mind together. So you can distinguish and you can determine for yourself, Is this something that I really need to process? Or can I just let this go?

In our program, we work on all kinds of techniques and skills that riders need to have with their horse. But you can have all those techniques and those skills and if you still don't have your subconscious and your conscious speaking to each other and helping you out, it will be a struggle. You still won't get there. 

It's about becoming vulnerable.

That rider that I was teaching realized that it was safe to become vulnerable. It was sometimes very difficult. But she realized that there was safety in there. And there was nurturing from us behind her and supporting her all the way.

So she could be in the group. She could realize her goals. She could take the tests that she had to take, she could prepare for those tests. And she could have success with her horse at the same time keeping calmness and enjoying what she was doing together.

Because there's no sense not enjoying what you're doing.

We ride horses to enjoy and to have fun. And when it comes to the place where you're not having fun, where you're not enjoying yourself, it just becomes a chore. That's not going to be beneficial for you or your horse.

As you progress with your horse you start getting results, you start making progress, you start getting to be successful and of course things will come up because the tasks become more difficult.

Your horse maybe says, "this is too hard." "I don't understand".   

How do you handle that? How do you address that? Are you going to defend something? Are you going to be open to learning? 

This is where you can work on building yourself physically, building your coordinations, building your body, to be comfortable and working in a way that's beneficial to you.

Find your uniqueness to help you to be strong, to be powerful, to be effective.

As a rider, this is what allows you to do, what you need to do.

So on a spooky day, for example...

You may want to choose to do lunging, you may choose to do in hand, you may choose to do certain obstacles, to keep your horse's attention with you. 

When we work with you we work deeply with your subconscious behind the scenes. We build up your techniques and your skills with our horses, so now things become less scary. Because now you have the understanding, now you have the tools.

And this is the part where I didn't for the longest time understand or know... you can actually overcome apprehension this way. But it needs to be in an approach like this, the multidisciplinary approach, just working on breathing is not going to help you to overcome a sudden spook that comes your way.


We've talked about the mindset and how it is the most valuable skill a rider can have. Once you know how to work with yourself and your subconscious mind and your conscious mind together then you can work on your techniques, and your intention and your clarity.

All of those are connected in a big way. 

If you want support in this way, to become a better rider for your horse, or understanding your horse better, or dealing with fear and confidence so that you can own your power, or to find your truth and then connect with your horse and get the results that you are yearning for...

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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