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Top 10 Mistakes Fearful Riders Make

Updated: Feb 7

1. Imagine and plan for all the ‘what if’s’

"If I think of every possible scenario that could go wrong, then I’ll be prepared

and know what to do".

Yes…you might think up some cool many many things that don't come true!

There’s one quote that comes to mind here:

“I've lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” (Mark Twain)

Your mind has no idea what is real and what is imagined. As you’re busy thinking of the worst, your brain acts like it is happening for real and sends signals to your body, changing your physiology, or your state.

Your mind wants to keep you safe. And when you imagine the worst, it will want you to NOT do the thing that you are expecting to be dangerous. So as your body goes into overdrive, your mind will also start telling you all the reasons to NOT TO DO IT!

2. Push through

Also known as

Feel the fear and do it anyway

Fake it til you make it

Suck it up

…those sorts of things.

Even though there are some merits in not letting fear take over, just pushing through with hands trembling, heart hammering and sweating profusely is not necessarily the answer.

I’ve seen riders white as sheets still go for their trail ride, hating every minute of it. I know it could be so much easier for them with some simple simple techniques.

Knowing some new techniques means that if fear does pop up, you’ll know how to squash it, move it, and ramp up that confidence instead!

3. Take it slow

This is for those riders, who like me, just aint got the time to stay on the lunge line for 10 more years. I know time heals. Getting back to riding I took my time and found the right horses, the right instructor, not letting anyone push me too far.

What I’ve realised, is just how much and how quickly you can change by shifting your mindset. None of this counselling that takes years of lying on a couch…simple, effective strategies that POWER you forward.

4. “Get back on the horse”

An oldie and a goodie. Or not!

I used to say that after a fall, if I could still walk, I’ll make sure I’ll get back on. However, the more I know about injuries, this is so ridiculous! Riders getting on with concussion, broken ribs, damage to their spine. Noooooo!

Not only that, what’s happened to give you that fall? Was it an unlucky stumble that caught you off guard? Or did the horse bronc you off? There are times when getting back on is really the last thing you should do! I once got back on a horse that had just bolted with me and dumped me…how silly to get back on that ‘orse!

And trust me, it makes no difference to the horse if you do or don’t. Horses learn in the moment, you have about 3 seconds before they realise that A equals B. So, if you’ve been bucked off, the horse has already learnt that bucking got you off. If you get back on, they might try it again. They definitely won’t be taught a lesson – it’s way to late.

5. Repeat your falls and injury stories

Repeating over and over and over again exactly what happened when you had the fall or injury, with every detail explained and gone over time and again has to stop! All this does, is cement in your mind the exact reason why you don't want to ride and why you should be fearful of riding. STOP IT! We know that whatever we focus on grows, so this is one sure way of keeping you in this fearful bracket. You want to shift that identity, don't you?

6. Silly questions

But there is no such thing as a silly question, right? WRONG! Whatever you ask yourself in a thought will be answered. If you ask yourself ‘Why am I so afraid?’ Your mind will answer that for you. ‘Why am I nervous?’, ‘What will my horse spook at?’, ‘What if I get injured?’ are all common lines of questions I hear from riders with nerves.

What if you made up some Quality Questions before you rode?

‘How much fun will I have today?’

‘Why am I so confident?’

‘Why will my horse be so calm and responsive?’

It’s easy to see the different direction your thoughts travel in with Quality Questions. This can be incorporated into a morning routine that sets you up with some great thinking throughout the day.

7. Never ride again

I am all for keeping horses and giving them all the love you want. I am all for in hand work (groundwork), I love it.

I just ask those who are completely lit up from riding, who's whole obsession with horses was BECAUSE of the riding….…is it truly what you want? Because if it’s fear keeping you on the ground…let’s talk!

8. Share horror stories with friends, colleagues, strangers at the float next door...

I’ve heard some clients say, they haven’t even had a bad fall! They’ve heard a few horror stories from every horsey person they know – let’s be honest! We have ALL got those stories!! The more we indulge in them and hear all about them, the more we are conditioning are mind that riding is dangerous.

9. Buy a new horse

"Wherever you go, there you are"

Have you found that buying a new horse has done nothing for your confidence? Or you can ride someone else’s horse but not your own?

There are 2 aspects to check into with this one:

1) If you are fearful on ANY horse, don’t blame the horse

2) If you are fearful on ONE horse, look into the training side of the horse and up your toolkit of knowing what to do to keep you safer with that horse.

Sometimes, riding another safe horse is going to show you that you CAN ride and you CAN get riding fit - and therefore less likely to fall off. However, if you are still nervous on any horse, that's when you know buying another horse is not the answer.

10. Go through a list of coaches

Similar to the above. We can keep changing everything around us and wonder why nothing changes within us. We might even have excuses as to why that is, that may sound a bit like this:

“That coach pushed me too far”

“That coach didn’t push me enough”

“That coach didn’t like me”

“I didn’t like that coach”

“That coach was wrong”

At some point, we may need to look into the root of the problem, AKA - ourself.

If any of these points sound true for you and you'd like to know more about riding fear FREE, get in touch! We can put a plan of action together and get you on the path to riding like you've always wanted.

Here's to living fearlessly!




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