OVERCOME YOUR RIDING FEAR
Tips To Overcome Horse-Riding Fear
Horse riding is regarded as one of the most dangerous sports in the world, that is true. It can sometimes be quite risky and even deadly. Does this mean that we should be afraid of horses and horseback riding? Clearly, there is no place for fear in our sport to be successful and achieve our dreams. As a common equestrian quote says “Your horse can only be as brave as you are.” This quote is even supported by a study of the University of Guelph which showed that horses pick up their rider's fear and become more fearful themselves. You may have fears because of an incident, a bad experience, or maybe you may just think that horses are too big and dangerous to be ridden. However, we can assure you there is nothing to be afraid of when you know what you are doing around a horse. If you want to try horse riding and can’t overcome your fears, or if you want to return after a bad experience, we have some tips for you to boost your courage!
At first, it might be hard to face your fears and accept them but if you are willing to ride a horse, there is no way around your fears. You need to identify what your fears are and why you have them so that you can face them and learn how to overcome them one by one. Before stepping into the barn, you can take some time to think about your fears and note them down on a paper. For example, if you are afraid of getting kicked or bucked, riding in a group or in a place you can write it down. You can write why you are afraid of it and also write about your previous experience if you have any. By doing this, you will be able to know all your fears and anxieties clearly and you will be able to focus on how to overcome each one.
The comfort zone means the things that you are comfortable doing with. Before you are ready to start being around a horse, it is important to define the things you are comfortable with and the things that you are not comfortable with. For instance, if you are not comfortable in the saddle and feel extremely anxious, you can find other ways to spend time with the horse until you are comfortable with him and you have trust in him. A good way to spend time with horses without mounting is grooming and feeding. With the help of a professional rider or groom, you can spend some time feeding and grooming the horses and watching their reactions. You can also try groundworks, lunging and when you feel comfortable enough, you can start riding at slow gaits such as walk and trot.
When you are new to horse riding or had a bad accident in the past and planning to make a fresh start, it is vital to choose the correct horse for your future experiences. As horses have different personalities, some of them tend to ignore the fears of their riders while the other may tend to take advantage of it. Therefore, a fearful rider should be paired with a proper horse that is calm and ignoring the fear. You can have riding fears but do not hesitate to share them with your trainer or friends so that they can help you find the right horse that you need. When you are finally comfortable with that horse, you can continue learning with another horse.
Before going out for a trail or a cross-country track, we advise you to build your trust with the horse. Riding in a danger-free yard, in a stable paddock, or in a quiet indoor arena can help you and the horse to stay calm and focus on each other instead of getting distracted by the environment. Trails and outdoor areas can sometimes be distractive for the horse and can even cause him to get spooked. Therefore, make sure to learn the basic riding and build the trust you need in a quiet place. Also, if your fears are too strong, having a trainer or a professional rider around you can help you keep calm.
Another obvious way of overcoming fears is improving your riding skills and learning more about horses. There are several common mistakes that new riders and riders that are afraid of falling often do. For example, if a rider has fears, he/she may tend to trust on the reins or tend to hold the saddle instead of improving the seat condition. Therefore, we advise you to focus on your riding skills and pay attention to what your trainer says rather than thinking about your fears. At this point, choosing a proper instructor is another importance. If you are dealing with fears, you should have an instructor who understands your fear and your needs. A patient instructor can work better with fearful riders.
Many different studies have proven that having a strong and fit body helps someone to be more self-confident. That is the same in horse riding too. Having a good condition can help you with being brave around horses and in the saddle. Also, horse riding requires a fit body to keep yourself well balanced in the saddle and adjust your agility to the horse’s agility. Also, -you shouldn’t think like this in the saddle but- being in good shape can help you sit a buck or hold better if the horse shies. We highly recommend having simple fitness programs that are proper for your health.
As a final tip from our team, we can suggest collecting memories with horses. Memories that make you want to spend more and more time with them… Memories that encourage you to get back in the saddle to collect even more memories… We all accept that horse riding has always been risky and will always be risky. But some risk makes life better when you know how to enjoy even the risky moments. Believe us, horse riding worths taking the risks.
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