Riding Nerves – Breaking the Stigma around it

People always say a little nerves (in this case riding nerves) or fear never hurt anyone, but what if it stops you from enjoying your passion…

In the horsey world it can really be a competition of bravery and nerves of steel. However for some of us once the fear kicks in it can be debilitating.

We may have all experienced a nasty fall or a near miss. Often we pick ourselves up, brush off the dust and get right back in the saddle, leaving the memory of the occasion in the back of our minds.

For some of us however, this is not the case. Riding nerves come into play.

Those scary falls, near misses or spooks can continue to haunt us even when riding a completely different horse. For me this is very much the case! My non-horsey friends often ask me why I carry on spending money on horses when it can make me live in fear at times. One of my instructors even told me to switch to another sport! (although a bit of reverse psychology went on here I think!)

The love we have for our four-legged friends keeps us going, well it does for me at least. I could throw the towel in and take up another sport but horses are my escape from this crazy world for a while and I reckon it’s probably cheaper than therapy! So I keep on at it….

People can be a great support to us, I often call on friends to listen to my riding nerve worries and anxiety. Having a sounding board is great, along with a great instructor to keep me going.

As much as others input can be great during a nervous moment – my advice is to be a little mindful of the comments you take on board from others. Some riders are lucky enough to never experience a scare or if they have they may have a different process to deal with it. Encouragement can be great but be sure it is coming from the right person for you.

Just like we have to keep our own physical fitness on top form to ride, the same applies for our mental fitness too. It is important to take care of our minds as well as our bodies as both affect the horse.

Not all the feedback I have had with my nerves has been helpful to me. It is great to be pushed to do more and get over your fears but recognise your limits and boundaries. Break it down into small steps so that you don’t over-phase or overwhelm yourself.

Hacking is one of my weaknesses, knowing my crazy chestnut’s bad habits has become a hindrance to me at times as my brain won’t let me forget! I know I need to work on this and I am choosing to do it step by step. Others may sit and watch whilst I build up my fear inside but it is a work-in-progress to defeat it and I am okay with that!

Keep an eye out on future blog posts, I will be sure to update on how I get along with my riding nerves, it’s brave to talk about it and I will use that courage to change my fear! If you have gone through similar, drop me a message would love to hear from you!

Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway. (according to John Wayne!)

– Be Brave –

– J-


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