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Ponderings of an Equestrian Professional

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Feel the Fear

Oh that gut wrenching feeling as you fall from a horse. Do you know it? I do, and it is not a good memory. In fact I try my best to avoid that feeling.

The worst injuries I have had from falls resulted from landing on the road, never a good surface to land on. Has it made me more wary riding on the road? Yes it has. Does it stop me riding on the road? No, although I really do prefer to have company now.

Were you told you have to get back in the saddle after a fall? The most obvious way to avoid falling is to not get on, but is that really an option?

For some people, not getting back on is an option, and if that is the choice they make it must be respected.

Horse looking at itself with rider in a mirror
Through the ears picture of Alfie looking at himself in the mirror.

I need a horse, and the feeling of freedom being in the saddle gives me, but actually getting on is not always easy, and that's OK too. We are all individuals and will deal with setbacks in our own way. The most important thing is that we do deal with it, and don't hide it away.

Acknowledge the fear, and its cause. Take any action you can to limit its effects and then take the course of action you chose.

"Feel the Fear & do it anyway" is a phrase I've often heard repeated (it is the title of a popular self improvement book).

Does fear only come from a fall? Be honest with yourself, what is the voice in your head telling you? Do you wonder what other people are saying about you? Do you worry about looking foolish? Not being a good enough rider? Or that old chestnut " my horse is too good for me?

That little voice telling us the story of our lives can be our biggest support, and our biggest critic, driving us forward or holding us back.

What is your voice doing? What is the story you're telling yourself? Most importantly, are you in control?

You can direct this internal monologue if you want to, but it can be difficult alone. Find someone you can talk to & be totally honest with to talk it through.

The long dark nights of winter can be a really good time for equestrians to take a good look at themselves, their focus and how their current processes are working for them. Maybe you have everything right and can keep on doing what you've been doing, but "if you always do what you've always done you'll always get what you always got".

If you would like some help developing more successful processes to develop the partnership you have with your horse and take control back when you feel fear starting to affect your performance get in touch to find out if we can work together to reach your goals.


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