Tuesday, February 28

Anxiety: The Sneaky Monster

I have worked with a lot of students in the past who suffer from anxiety, and I struggle with anxiety myself. It's a tricky thing, because frequently fear and worry are based on completely logical issues. Riding horses is crazy! They are giant scaredy cats! But, for some reason, most of us are determined to overcome our fear and ride. There are several manifestations of anxiety that I see. A specific fear due to prior experience- which I find the hardest, but most straight forward to deal with. A general fear that things will go terribly wrong. And, as in my own case, a general uneasiness not necessarily related to horses, but detrimental to riding nonetheless. I find the more centered and focused I am before I get in the saddle, the better I am able to shut down the anxiety and have a great ride. That means some days I choose not to ride. On days when I don't feel I can do justice to my horse from his back, I like to choose an activity that gets both of us some exercise. It's much easier to settle and focus on a high anxiety day if I am in motion alongside my horse. I like to do showmanship or work on lunging on these days. Ground activities have the added benefit of increasing control on the ground, and they increase my confidence in my horse. A student sent me a great link about anxiety while riding, and I think it's worth sharing.

How do you deal with fear in the saddle? 


  1. Thank you for posting this! It's always nice to know I'm not alone in my anxiety. :)

  2. Move Closer Stay Longer, book by Stephanie Burns