I can honestly say,
I have found myself
over the years
letting fear creep
into my psyche and push away my confidence now and again.
However, I made the decision I wasn’t going to let it get the best of me
so I made it a mission to fight back and get my confidence back.
I have seen a lot of articles on fear lately, and many of you asked me to help
you combat fear. I want to give you some REAL TOOLS to help
you do that.
This video is of some students of Buster and Sheryl McLaury’s whom are working with 3 young horses on a very cold and windy day with lots of things going on outside the pen. The horses had only been under saddle for a few days and this was their first introduction to a parachute on the ground. You will see some techniques they use to help the horses get over fear. Staying calm, giving them breaks, and using more confident horses to help are all shown in this video among many other things.
I apologize in advance for the quality, but you may consider this a “midnight session” video, where you a get a sneak peak into a world you may normally not have access to. I chose not to edit this video down because I wanted you to see the whole process the horse and rider go through to build confidence together- a whole 15 minutes. It is just 3 riders on 3 young horses working it out together.
As far as working on fear within yourself, I may not have all the answers to combat fear as I am still working through some of it myself, but I will share the top 3 things I have done so far to fight fear and gain Confidence back.
“The challenge of enlightenment is not enlightenment itself, that was always meant to be easy. The challenge is how to live your life once you are enlightened”.
Getting over fear takes some enlightenment. I have found meditation has been my biggest helper in getting over fear. I realized in researching people who have done amazing things in life; whether in business or with horses, meditation has played a key role in that. Look at meditation as clearing the channels.
Visualization, a technique I shared with you a few months ago, is really a type of meditation. Yoga helps as well to physically release any tension you may have in the body while quieting the mind.
Meditation teaches you how to clear your mind and tap into the energy within you that is in the present. This is so important when you are on a horse because they are always in the present. Horses may be reactionary due to past experiences, but they are not particularly worried about the future.
You must be present every moment when you ride. if you are, you will see a difference. The best riders know how to stay present. If you don’t think this matters, look into what almost every olympic athlete or successful business owner will tell you and most have taken the time to learn a technique to clear the mind and be in the present moment. When they learned how to be present is when their success soared. A great place to start is the lift app found here where they have a 21 day guided meditation course and it helps you with accountability;) Another one I enjoy is Deepak Chopra’s 2 week Secrets of Meditation found here.
A great concert pianist once said, “I practice the piano every day. I realized if I missed one day of practice, I knew. If I missed 2 days, my friends knew. If I missed 3 days, everyone knew”.
I have come to realize, this is the same philosophy you need to adopt to overcome fear, your own and your horse’s.
Get out and work with your horse every day even if it’s just 5 minutes. I know it can be hard when the days are shorter in the winter, or if you are boarding your horses. Just try. Just try to make sure you spend 5 minutes if you can.
I have the same problem. Where does the day go? If it’s twilight, I will pull burrs out of manes and tails just to spend 5 minutes with the horses every day.
I had gotten to a point where I wasn’t spending much time with the horses at all. The trouble came when the people I respected most, noticed. They noticed my timing was off, and I wasn’t as in tune as I normally was and guess what? It was feeding my fear and damaging my confidence because I wasn’t consistently working with my horses, so I was of little importance to them.
If you lose confidence in yourself, your horses will feel it and they will show you. They know. An expert eye will know too because they will see what’s going on with you because they can see it in your horse.
MANAGE THE UNTHINKABLES
“Courage is knowing you have the skills to survive the unthinkable” -Buster McLaury quoting Ray Hunt
….and there is no reason why you need to push the envelope beyond you knowing what unthinkables you can handle.
Take it slow, know when to quit!
“You know, sometimes success with your horse is getting on, get a bend in each direction and get off.”
Recently at a Buster clinic, One of the other students started telling a story about another clinician who said to a group of cowboys,
“sometimes a good day is getting on and getting off and then putting them away.” All the cowboys laughed.
But the clinician was serious! One positive experience upon another builds slowly and guess what, you both end up confident!
Building Confidence and pushing out fear takes time for you and your horse. Don’t forget to watch and study the video and give yourself a break! Take joy in the small wins and let those build upon each other to face fear.
Where do you find your fears are getting the best of you? What things have you tried to help you and your horse get over fear?
Share in the comments below!