by Laura Daley
A good horse owner knows what it takes to maintain care and control over their own horse. Good horsemanship is the study of the required skills for training and handling of a horse. With study and training, fearful riders can go a long way toward overcoming their insecurities.
Education helps to eliminate the unknown and provides the chance to build the required skills to safely handle a horse. Taking the necessary steps to learn these skills helps build confidence and makes you a better leader for your horse. A great horseman knows that learning about many breeds, disciplines and training can take them to the next level of horsemanship.
There is no end to the learning possibilities available to the average horse person: articles, newsletters and webinars all have their place in your continued education. Even learning the proper terms for your chosen equestrian niche is a great way to build confidence and expanding knowledge beyond your own circle of horsemanship can help overcome fears. Clinics, symposiums, and other educational opportunities can also help you work though fear issues as long as you participate in the correct manner and use the right mindset. A fearful rider’s primary goal should always be to replace old fear memories with new positive horse-related memories; that should also be your focus when attending a clinic. Make a conscious decision to avoid comparing yourself to other attendees who may not be dealing with fears.
Be open to new possibilities and ideas and remain willing to learn something, even if it is what not to do. Watch other participants with an open mind and a clear eye. Look for the positive and observe the good things happening at the clinic. Envision yourself doing these with your own horse. Give yourself permission to stop if you feel overwhelmed and do not push yourself past what you can process.
New fear-free memories can be created outside your preferred discipline so don’t limit yourself. Sometimes attending an event completely out of your usual disciple can make a bigger impact on your journey to riding fear free. For instance, if you are working through fear issues about jumping, you can create new fear-free memories by attending a dressage clinic or sorting demonstration. Knowledge and understanding about your chosen field can help boost confidence, but general horsemanship and education helps as well. In addition, attending a clinic, seminar, or expo may reignite your passion and love of horses.
Got a fear related question for Laura? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org