Let’s Talk About: Fear

So I haven’t been posting on this blog as much as I would like lately, and it really just comes down to the fact that nothing fun, exciting, or noteworthy has been happening in my equestrian life. It’s only really fun to post things that are “cool” and not as much fun to discuss the daily minutiae and/or struggles. 

But after some thinking, I realized the daily minutiae is something all of us equestrians face week to week month to month, and one thing we all have in common no matter how long you have been riding, what your goals are, or how high you jump.


After I finally curated all my show outfits this winter and we were ready to go, the spring and early summer have failed to live up to my plans and expectations full of Hunter pacing and doing all the shows. This is pretty much due to my horse being a pro-level self injurer. I have been left feeling really disappointed sitting on the sidelines.

And to add insult to injury, from not really riding and from not jumping at all for a while, I am finding myself feeling scared of things that used to be “normal” for me. 

want to jump all the jumps

I watched videos yesterday of my horse and I jumping courses from last summer and the thought of doing them makes my heart beat a little faster and my chest feel slightly like I can’t breathe. I know both my horse and I are physically capable, so I just want to kick myself. 

Little spooks that used to make me chuckle now make me want to go ride in the indoor where there are no distractions. Trails I used to gallop down now make me so nervous I want to take a chokehold on my horse’s face (which obviously makes things better….. NOT)

at least we look good that counts for something right?

Needless to say, I am admitting that I have really been riding the struggle bus. 

Has anyone else been there? Secrets to exiting the struggle bus and becoming braver!?

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14 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About: Fear

  1. I have always struggled with fear. I’m sort of a fearful person in other parts of my life but only after a few falls did it translate into my riding. For me the scary thing is that I don’t have full control of the situation. I can do my very best but at the end of the day I am riding a 1200lb prey animal who might have different ideas.

    When I’m struggling I have two things that I do. I have this weird chant that I do (aloud if I am alone hahah) in which I say “I trust my horse” over and over again and then tackle whatever is bothering me. Because you do have to trust your horse… which can be tricky! The other thing (that’s new to me) is taking a lesson with a really positive instructor. That gives me things to work on rather than just calming down my fears, I can think of “heels down” of “closed hands” instead of “oh @#*($&@ I might die today”.

    Sending hugs! I know how tough it is. You’ll get through it ❀

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    1. I have the oh *#^*% I might die thought any time there is a sudden movement or loud noise.

      I love your “I trust my horse” chant I’m going to try that today!

      Thank you so much! ❀ just knowing you're not alone makes it better

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  2. When I am on my horse, I refuse to characterize my heart racing as anything other than excitement. Some years ago, I went through a period of casual riding and little or no jumping, and there was now way I was going to hop on and jump around like I do now–I built back up to it gradually. I also characterize the way I am feeling myself. I TELL myself that what I am feeling is excitement because I am doing what I love. Even if I can’t control the situation, I can control how I respond to it. It won’t feel automatic at first, but it has gotten me a lot farther than I thought it would.

    For what it’s worth, my horse and I spook at similar things–we can both agree on running away from loud people, large cows, and baby strollers.

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    1. That’s a good way to look at it… As excitement.

      That’s something I try to tell myself as well, that I can only control my response to situations, easier said then done for me though!

      Thank you for reminding me to think about that

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  3. Looks like other people have already mentioned what I do- I say out loud how excited I am to tackle this new exercise/fence/trail ride/scary situation. A verbal “fake it ’til you make it” type of thing. I’ve always been an EXTREMELY anxious rider, and vocalizing more positive feelings has definitely helped immensely!

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  4. Doing easy things until you’re bored also works well, but I have to agree with the above, having a coach give me other things to focus on, and mentally saying my nerves are actually excitement both help! Talking about it is also huge, so you’re already winning! Best of luck πŸ™‚

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  5. I would just say don’t go fast. Slow down, do what you’re comfortable and that trust with your horse is back. And realize shit happens. It’s how you handle it and move on. I’m sorry your horse is a professional at injuring himself. Ugh. Should not be allowed in the summer!

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  6. Yea I’ve been there…. Am there? Idk. It just kinda sucks to feel so uncertain about doing the things you *know* you can do, and that you love doing. For me, taking breaks often makes it worse. It just is what it is tho and we keep plugging away and the feelings are never as permanent as they seem! Good luck and hopefully the rest of the year makes up for the bum start!

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  7. Oh girl, confidence is a fickle bitch. It’s so easy to lose and so hard to get back, but one thing I’ve learned in my … uhm 6+ month struggle? with this issue is to fake it until you make it. You just have to keep on keeping on, and keep pushing yourself (however slowly that might be) until you can look back and realize ‘hey, I used to fake my confidence doing X, but now I really AM confident!’

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    1. Fake it till you make it seems to be the general suggestion, I’m definitely going to try putting on my fake brave face and just do it.

      Ps- you and Miles look so great in all your recent show pics, I hope faking it works as well for me as it did for you!

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