Riding Fear Free Help for Fearful Riders and Their Teachers

You Might Be a Fearful Rider If…

Answer the following yes-no questions to help determine if you or one of your students is a fearful rider:

Avoidance and/or Anxiety

♦ Do you schedule rides with friends and then cancel? 

♦ Do you feel guilty for not spending more time with your horse? 

♦ Do you worry if your horse makes the simplest mistake or change in gait? 

False Bravado and Comparison

♦ Do you find yourself doing risky activities around friends just to keep up?

♦ Do you always compare yourself or your horse to others?

♦ Do you long for the “good old days” when you were a carefree kid and could ride like the wind?

Behavior on these two extremes can be signs that you may be a fearful rider.

The good news is that you can truly learn to ride fear free. How? The first step is to identify the times when you feel anxious. One of the fastest ways to become fear free is to start a journal. Record the reasons you avoid your horse. Once you identify when you feel fear, you will know where to start.  

Riding Fear Free

The Riding Fear Free Journey Tracker

The Riding Fear Free Journey Tracker can help you pinpoint the origins of your anxiety or false bravado and guide you to write lesson plans to tackle your fears.

You can learn to control the impulse part of your brain, but right now, you are conditioned to think negatively about you and your horse. You can change your state of mind by doing something physical and then taking control of your thoughts. Ask questions like: Is my first reaction is based on fear or reality? Why don’t I want to ride with my friend or enter that event?  

Once you find the core reasons for your anxiety, you can decide to change your circumstances. If you realize that your friends want to force you out of your comfort zone, then maybe you need to set some boundaries or find someone who is willing to go your pace. The first step in riding fear free is to identify the times when you feel fear. Then, capture your thoughts and decide to do something about the real problem.

Riding Fear Free
Once you find the core reasons for your anxiety, you can decide to change your circumstances and have happy trails again.

This article was originally published in Northwest Horse Source.

Laura Daley

Laura has a God-given passion for horses and for helping riders in their horsemanship journeys. She grew up on a large-scale Arabian breeding ranch and has spent her entire life learning about horses. Her first horse-training experiences came as a child, but she never stopped learning. As an adult, she became a Brandi Lyons Certified trainer. Laura firmly believes in continued education and shared experiences, and she often attends clinics with highly respected trainers such as Pat Parelli, Richard Shrake, Ken McNabb, Raye Lochert, and John and Josh Lyons. In addition to her horse training experience, she is knowledgeable about natural hoof care, equine massage, and chiropractic care. She believes in and merges conditioned-response training methods with physical therapies to create a balanced, peaceful, and willing equine partner.