There are ways to overcome the fear of riding after a horse accident, but they take time and commitment on the riders part and you must do something more than just think about how great it would be to ride again. If you just wish or daydream about being a courageous rider it won’t happen, you must find the courage to take action steps. Below are just a few tips to help you determine what kind of fear you are having and some ideas that I have used to help riders overcome fear.
First lets look at the fear that comes from actually getting in a horse wreck. This fear is real and usually built around the story of the wreck, that story that you tell yourself and others over and over again about the wreck you had and how you got hurt. When you tell a story over and over again it soon becomes the only way to see the situation and furthermore you probably embellished the story to make it worse than it was. I suggest you stop telling the story or maybe put a different twist on it. Instead of telling everyone how you where almost killed tell them how you lived and that you learned what to do or what not to do for the next time. Changing the story to make yourself the hero instead of the victim will give you power over the situation.
Next find the knowledge “What didn’t I do that could have prevented the wreck?” and practice doing it. Most riders are fearful because they think they lost control of the situation or that riding is something that is out of control for them. When in reality it is just a lack of knowledge about the situation that caused the wreck (not having the years of knowledge to read what a horse is telling you). You must study and understand the body language of the horse to safely ride them. Maybe you completely understood the body language or safety issue and choose to ignore it and decided to live on the ego side or “It can’t happen to me”. Or maybe you were just an adrenaline junky and always thought you where invincible. Maybe you just made a bad choice but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the accident and move on to become an even better rider.
For this kind of fear I would suggest that you work with a qualified instructor that can coach you thought the fear and give you some better ideas and stories to focus on.
The second fear response doesn’t always include a horse accident, it is the thought of a horse accident causing you fear. This is a learned fear from an outside influence and it usually isn’t real, it’s just a warning fear and is usually taught to us by fearful adults. As a child when we made a wrong or bad choice while learning to ride a bicycle you may have gotten in an accident and depending on how the adults around you reacted to the situation you either learned to stand back up and try again or to get worried and be scared about trying again. What did you learn as a child? And does it really serve you well as an adult trying to master the skill of riding?
Knowledge is the key to overcoming fear. Knowing what you were taught about fear as a child will help you to understand your response to riding or getting in a riding accident. If you were taught to worry about and to be afraid of getting hurt, then you may have a learned response and you may feel that you have no control over any situation. You have developed a fear of what could happen because of the story you built-in your head around someone else’s belief. Ask yourself “What do I believe?” or find someone who doesn’t have a fear belief and see if they will talk you through their belief. Again most people with the fear of riding should find and work with a qualified instructor.
The information in this blog is only meant to inspire you to get help with your riding fear. It is not meant to be your cure or to encourage you to work on it yourself. Fearful riders cause fearful horses and this can be a dangerous situation for both the horse and rider. Horses and riding have always been a passion of mine and I know there are people out there that have the same passion for horses as I do that are being stopped in their tracks by fear. You can get help and you can ride again, all it takes is time, commitment and that special person to help you. Live your dream, don’t let fear stop you.