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Facing Fear Head On.

As equestrians we think we are fearless and that nothing can take us off our high horse. We are riding the clouds, and we are unstoppable. While I still like to think of myself as unstoppable, my body shows me I am not every now and then.

See as a kid I was fearless. I would gallop in the field at night, and fall off bareback and laugh with my friends. I would jump on a random horse in the pasture late at night. my trainer would get so mad when she would hear all the crazy stuff I was doing, but she loved and accepted me anyways. overtime I became a working student, and dressage was a different ball game. It was very serious and demanding physically and emotionally. My brain would often push my body more then it could handle.  Although the past couple years gave me numerous wake up calls they brought fear into my bones. As a working student I started many young horses, and rode many young horses that were already started. When your trainer asks you to train one of the imported warmbloods its nerve racking. I remember not being able to steer the new imported chestnut and crashing into the wall, and the humiliation was awful. When I had to ride for buyers and I didn’t train the horse correctly and he was behind my leg bucking all over.. well who can blame a 16 year old anyways, but at the time it felt like the end. falling off a young horse thats not started and having to get back on. better yet falling off 2 young horses in the same week. Fear of your prize horse going lame because you have dealt with it so much.  There was 2 major times in my career that woke up the little fearless girl to reality. The first time was when I was doing natural horsemanship and was kicked and punctured 2 parts in my lungs. The second time was more recent and I had a horse spook and he turned so quick I was half way off head first about to fall, and tears came running down my face. Maybe it wasn’t the spook maybe it was mental stress, but either way fear overwhelmed me. what happened to my high horse?? where did all the clouds go?

Everyday I continue to push through the fear, because as a professionals you have no choice. As a good horse person you learn to see them as humans and you forgive, and forgiveness will over power the fear. While I miss the child who could gallop on the trails I push for her to come out everyday by going on the trails. was I afraid to try out for the FEI junior tea again and risk failing for the 3rd time? yes!! it seemed so easy for everyone else. Although I had to take the leap. I don’t fear falling. I fear an injury that makes me unable to succeed my goals. While I have had way too many injuries that have led to setbacks. although I can’t dwell on those I can only share my story and help others who have gone through the same struggles

Today we have so many fearful riders, AA, Professionals you name it we are all a little scared. Although what makes the difference is when we push to not be fearful. We should buy that horse that we love even though he had a bolt in him. We should go compete even though we are scared of a poor score. If you ever feel like you can’t do it then don’t force yourself to do it just take one step. Go get a trail buddy. hire a trainer to help you start that young horse, but the worst thing we can do is give up. Face fear head on, and don’t let fear run you.

By Skye Simpson Dressage Shares Insight on the Sport

Skye Simpson is an FEI Dressage & Natural Horsemanship Trainer located in Banning, California.

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