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Fear while Riding

By: Galadriel Billington

7:55AM Apr 26, 2007


When you are so afraid that you are tense, your riding suffers *and* it feels more frightening, because you bounce and you are less stable in the saddle. If you can get your body to relax, that can help you feel more relaxed emotionally as well.

1) Breathe. When we are tense, we unconsciously hold our breath. This will stiffen your back and generally make you more physically tense. You can talk, sing, or just focus on breathing regularly in and out. Any of these will keep you from holding your breath.

2) Open your ribcage--"put your shoulders back"--lift your shoulders. If you're tense, you'll be inclined to lean forward, hunch yourself into a fetal position; that also locks up your back and makes you bounce. Sit up straight, put your shoulders back (reasonably, not like you're trying to push your chest into everybody's face) and feel how much easier it is to breathe and to move your back. Sitting straight will reinforce relaxation as well.

The tendency to hunch your back is unconscious; sitting up will require conscious effort. When you're trying to break a habit, it can help to pick something you'll see frequently (like a particular post in the arena or round pen) and check yourself every time you pass it.

3) Find something to focus on that's positive. Think about how much fun it will be when you can throw a saddle on and go for a relaxed ride. Think about how much you adore your horse and how happy you are to be on her back. Think about what a pretty color of blue the sky is today. If you sing, pick a silly song that makes you laugh; a complicated song that takes a lot of your attention is even better.

If you can distract yourself from the fear, you will feel more natural.
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2007 Galadriel Billington. All rights reserved.