It is not surprising, working with an animal whose instincts are to run, that at certain times in our
horse journey, we can experience fear.
Whether you've lost your confidence from a fall or accident, from suddenly feeling vulnerable after a near miss, or from less time in the saddle, there are some simple reasons why your mind wants to keep you with that fear:
(1) Your mind wants to keep you safe
The whole purpose of your mind is to keep you safe. Using filters based on memories, stories from your past, stories about your future, your mind just wants to keep you safe and secure. Of course we want to be safe - but does it really serve you?
(2) Your mind wants to protect your body
Similar to the first, this is where the action part of fear can take over. That gut-wrenching-heart-hammering-dry-mouth-FEAR! Without even CONSCIOUSLY thinking about it, your mind can decide it needs to be fearful, sending your body physically into over-drive as adrenalin kicks in and sends you into a spiral of fearful reactions and beliefs.
(3) Rehearsed pathways in your mind will get stronger and stronger
This means, that old patterns and strategies that you have been using for a very long time, will keep "helping you out".
(4) Seek and you shall find
With its pathways working well, whatever you are looking for, you will be ale to find easily. So, if you have practiced fearful thoughts for long enough, using those same patterns and pathways, then guess what your mind is busy looking for? Yep, all the reasons why THIS ISN'T SAFE!! Your focus is on anything slightly scary or fearful and your mind will be busily convincing you that you need to be scared. And probably shouldn't ride today / get the horse out / go to the yard / compete / jump / trail ride....
What we know about fear, is that it isn't protecting us. Our minds might think it is, but it's really not!
The first thing that happens during an event is flight or fight. We respond instantly, reflexively.
The second thing to happen is fear or anger. How you respond depends on the strategies you've practiced
over and over again - and don't even know they exist!
A good example of the impact fear has on us, is boxing. The boxer who manages to anger or frighten their opponent knows they can win. Why? Because feeling fear and anger dumbs their opponent down and they can't make clear decisions.
Losing your fear won't mean you lose all common sense. You won't suddenly get on a 4 year old, barely broken in and take them for a hoon down the beach! Losing fear gives your intelligence some room to work, without making you risk averse!
Old suggestions of what to do:
There are lots of suggestions on ways to fix a loss of confidence:
Buy a new horse
Take it slow
Get a different coach
Just get back on the horse!
Sell your horse
One step at a time
Fake it til you make it
Don't ride, do groundwork....
What if there was a way, paved with CERTAINTY?
For clients who are ready to move on once and for all here are some simple tips for you:
Start noticing your self-talk. What kind of things do you ask yourself? How do you talk to yourself? When does it start? The more we can be aware of HOW we are doing fear, the more we can get a handle on it.
We know that the questions we ask ourselves will be answered. Do you ask yourself helpful questions or do you ask yourself questions that your mind will answer and it won't lead to a good feeling?! Starting by asking yourself more positive questions can turn things around effectively.
What do you focus on? All the things that could go right? Or all the things that could go wrong? One sure way of changing our state to a negative one is to focus on the negative, the scary, all of the WHAT IFS. By focusing on what we want to happen, we can put ourselves in a better frame of mind and anything that happens is easier to think through. I have a 3 step process called the 'Anxiety Model' - just pop me a quick email and I'll send it you!
A super fast way of getting instant confidence is anchoring. It cleverly associates a feeling to a certain object. That could be music, a place, a touch to a part of your body. For some clients, I have taught them the RING OF POWER that they can step into and feel the emotions of the confident, powerful, strong rider that they are!
More tips can be found on Confident Competitor!