If you have ever gotten hurt, in a horse-related accident, or even just shook up in a near mishap,
you know that fear of putting your foot back in the stirrup,
where you stand there frozen,
mustering up every bit of courage to get on,
and hoping with every bit of your being your horse will behave.
It’s a terrible feeling.
And it’s an even worse way to start off your ride with your body stuck in flight, fight or freeze and your mind not present or connected.
But, I don’t need to tell you that, you already know how bad it feels.
So let’s talk about some things to do about it.
Here are 7 tips you can use right away.
- Use a mental hack to flip the switch to get you over into the parasympathetic nervous system (learn, play, rest, digest basically the opposite of fight, flight, freeze) so you can be present and aware. We teach a lot of tools for this in our program but here is a place to start.
I don’t want to oversimplify this so know I am not telling you just think positive. It’s not that easy, is it? That would be a bit ridiculous for me to tell you lol. But try this. It will take you some practice so don’t worry if it is hard at first.
Practice visualizing in great detail mounting with confidence, balance, softness & presence. “See” yourself putting your foot in the stirrup, softly bringing your leg over and your horse being still and patient.
Practice this every night as you fall asleep & again as you review your goals & vision board every morning to help it sink in & become a habitual way of thinking.
We are learning more & more that horses learn in pictures. So, what you “see” in your mind truly makes a difference.
You’ve heard this before but here is the twist.
“See it” in your mind in great detail.
“See” yourself with everything going right – AND also “See” yourself with problems coming up and handling them with confidence.
This is key. You can not be focused on having problems you can’t handle, that only feeds your fear.
There are a lot of physical things you can do also.
The Power Pose (we call it the Lead Mare Pose), pull your belly button in to your spine, relax your tongue, and breathing, of course.
I could talk for an hour just on this one tip, so just know I will help you more on this on Saturday.
- Check your equipment. It doesn’t matter how relaxed and focused you are if your saddle pinches your horse’s back or your cinch is too loose. Take that extra precaution and look over your horse from front to back.
- Use a mounting block. This will help you to mount with balance, keep your saddle in place, and prevent your horse’s withers from getting sore
- Teach your horse that the mounting block is an incredible place to relax! If you are familiar with The Cannon Method of tapping or the playground of safety try that. Or just do some grooming with the intention of connection. Make it a safe place and not a place of pressure and tension.
- Be sure if your horse is green that you show them they are safe with you standing above them. A horse that is frozen can stand there and you may misread them for being calm. But they are frozen and when the pressure gets too much they can startle or bolt. Trust your gut. If you are feeling anxious maybe you are feeling your horse’s anxiety. Getting the horse to truly relaxed BEFORE you get on is absolutely a crucial step to having a safe ride
- The mounting block for me is a true test of acceptance and willingness. If your horse is wiggling around before you get on. He or she is most likely not ready to be ridden and you need to do a few more connection exercises before you get on.
- After mounting don’t take off walking. Sit there. Especially at first. You may sit there 10 minutes. Then get off and that is your horse’s lesson for the day. You are teaching her not to anticipate and that you can both relax together.