It is normal to feel some fear every now and then when riding horses. You are astride an animal that outweighs you by a ratio of anything between 1:12 and 1:30, and that animal happens to be very muscular, fast and touchy.
Do you know that some gratitude will go a long way in destroying those fears?
To begin, bear in mind that more than 99 percent of your fears are never realized. Given this situation, it is rather pointless to worry and fret and lose sleep over issues that will always stay confined to your imagination. I think it was Mark Twain who said “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” He said it rather well.
Ditch the worrying habit. Instead, focus on the tons of things you have to be grateful for. .. you can be grateful to yourself for everything positive in your life. Instead of worrying about getting bucked off, be grateful you are doing something millions of human beings aren’t: spending quality time with some of the most magnificent animals God ever made. Instead of fretting over whether you are going to make an ass of yourself at some competitive event, be grateful that you have the physical and mental faculties to actually participate in the event. Are you afraid of breaking a leg or an arm? Be grateful you have all four limbs intact and in working condition. Don’t like your job? Be grateful you aren’t out on the streets with a begging bowl in your hands.
Believe it or not, positive feelings like gratitude attract more things into your life that you will have reason to feel gratitude for. Try it out: get going with a “gratitude journal. Every single day, note down everything you should feel grateful for. See for yourself if the list goes bigger as time goes by.
On particular devastating days, you would probably snarl “Nothing” for an answer if you’re asked to name some things you are grateful for. You would come up with more definitive answers if you were asked what you could be grateful for.
Let’s see now, what can we come up with off the bat?
• Acts of kindness from strangers
• Your family
• Your health
• Your favourite horse
• Being able to afford to eat out tonight
• Dreams and daydreams
• Toilets that actually flush
• A cleansing, soothing rain
• Getting some appreciation after doing a good job
• Air conditioning
• The smell of gardenia
• A nap
• Your pet dog
• Popcorn while watching movies
• The absence of pain
• Old friendships
• Household appliances
• Good books
• Hot showers
• The aromas of life (flowers, your child’s shampooed hair, the earth after rain)
• Days off and vacations
• Laughter and laughing with others
• Rocking chairs
• A safe flight
Eliminate fear with gratitude. Once you learn to feel genuine gratitude, you will find that your horse’s behaviour is suddenly not so scary. His jumps won’t be too high or too long, the obstacles on the course will not be so insurmountable and the judges will not look quite so much like dragons in disguise.