All riders experience fear at some point in their riding careers.
I want you to think about the last time that you experienced fear.
Maybe you were riding, maybe you were thinking about riding, maybe you were thinking about competing for the first time or at a higher level than you ever have before?
It can feel impossible to overcome your fears at times.
So, I want to share 2 quick and simple exercises that have helped me in the past when I’ve hit road blocks and experienced a lot of fear towards something I wanted to achieve with a horse. I really hope they can help you too.
#1. Dealing with the pain of being afraid is not as bad as dealing with the pain of regret if you don’t try something that you really want to do. Either way, you have to deal with pain so choose the shorter-lived, easier pain.
#2. Don’t let yourself slip into “I should” or “I have to” mindset. That puts you in immediate conflict with yourself. Part of you is saying “you should do so and so…” which immediately means there’s another part of you saying “but I don’t want to…”
Instead, try thinking “I choose to do so and so…” Really mean it and notice how your attitude almost immediately shifts towards more confident as your whole body unconsciously prepares for the task at hand.
Overthinking things and building up anxiety in your head almost always comes from inner conflict – at least it does for me! – when I adopt this almost authoritarian “I should be doing so and so..” or “I have to do so and so…” attitude.