Yes, that was me. When I learned to ride 18 years ago it was not without tension and a tight stomach-ache. Before I got on the horse I always had to excuse myself and head to the washroom.. Three years ago it ended. I am now very comfortable on a horse. I still overthink getting ready for the canter or lope. Previously, I would hold onto the horn of the western saddle when I would lope to get me comfortable. I don’t do that anymore. When I took English riding lessons, a canter was unthinkable because there was no horn on the saddle.
I realize now that I had anxiety. I practiced very hard to relax while I was riding. I always had a tight rein with the horse as my body would not relax. I did many rides feeling anxious and trying to breathe while I was riding.
I have learned valuable things that now make me enjoy my rides calmly but assertively and trust myself.
- I practice the honest energy. What I mean by that is it is like the Cesar Millan way with his dogs. Stand up tall, be aware and confident. This was huge but each time I went to a horse I had to take a calming breath, and walk with the horse until I felt we were both getting comfortable with each other. I always take the horse for a walk before I get on and ride, always! This calms me down and the horse learns to follow me and feel comfortable.
- I ride looking ahead of the horse’s head. I ride letting the horse know I am looking ahead and in charge of where we are going. This sounds to simple but I have ridden many times looking at the horse’s head while I am riding making sure he is going straight. Now, I am listening to others riding and to look where I want him to go next.
It took practice and lots of clinics and somehow I was still an unconfident rider. I kept practicing and I would get upset and then I would lose my focus. How badly did I want to ride?
After many years, I am now in a good energy space when I ride. I connected very quickly with a horse my spouse had help train and also had for sale 3 years ago.. I would watch potential buyers come and ride this horse. They would ask her to do all kinds of riding techniques. She did them all and she did it with grace. I told my partner that I wanted this horse and I wanted to change her name to Grace.