Anyone who has been around horses has had some fearful experiences and even actual bad accidents and traumas. I have met people who are non horse people because of a childhood frightening experience. Many of my students themselves have had some terrible falls and scary accidents. I myself have had some very frightening moments and luckily only minor injuries.
So what happens after such a moment? There are two kinds of people I see. The first type of person is person who although shaken and possibly injured by the incident never ever thinks about not being with horses or getting on again. It is not an option for them. They will not let that stop them from their joy. The other person is stuck in the perpetual trauma and can not seem to get out of it. It is growing bigger and it is literally driving a wedge between them and their horses. The fear is controlling them and stripping their connection away.
It is hard to break free of this cycle once it gets started. Fear is an important emotion when it is in the moment and it is from being present. Your instinct knows exactly when you need to get to safety and when you are not safe. This is good fear. The kind that will save you from injury and possibly worse situations. This is a gut feeling and pure instinct. The second fear is a mental trap your mind sets up. It is no longer in the moment and is a constant recording of negative, worried, and fearful thoughts that can escalate to a full panic attack. Since horses are mirrors, this can be very precarious unless you have a very calm and generous horse.
If you are in this state it is probably no longer fun or positive for the horse or you. So how do we change this difficult fear trap? The first thing is to declare you are done with it. You will no longer let it rule you and take away your joy. You must be very honest about what you really are comfortable with to reconnect with your Confidence and Joy. You MUST decide once and for all you no longer want this pattern and never look back. This is the important part, I see a lot of people kidding themselves and riding who are really frightened of their horses. You cannot be seen as a leader or be seen as trust worthy if you are in a state of hidden panic. Some horses will try to be dominant with this energy and some will just get more fearful with you. So people put special bits or tack and people do tons of ground work but you never really feel safe deep down or happy and connected. You have to switch that deep down fear in your mind. The mind is strong. How strong? Strong enough to convince you to be frightened and worried all the time even when there is no danger present. That mind is no longer in the present it can not react with mindfulness and feel at this point. That same mind can be brought to confidence, balance and mindfulness once you are ready.
Flower essences are a good way to address stuck patterns and fear as well as Essential oils. Rescue remedy, Mimulus, Aspen, Rock Rose, White Chestnut, Star of Bethlehem and Cherry Plum are excellent Bach Flower remedies. I direct them to the people more then the horses because you need to be the change you want to see in your horse. How many times have you seen a horse be very upset and nervous with a worried, fearful person and then when a calmer person took over the horse calmed down.
I have had my cofidence shaken many times by my own horses when they were younger and I hadn’t figured them out yet. But I wouldn’t let the fear take over. I figured out how to make myself safe and confident again no matter how long it took and I overcame it. And that feels excellent when you do it! You figure out how to get yourself there. That means finding good Instruction and deciding you are going to move forward with the horse you have or find a confidence making not confidence taking horse.
I am so thrilled with the success of several people I have worked with who owned difficult horses and are over coming their fears and challenges with them. They set their minds to it and are doing it!
Here is a link to Bach Flower http://www.bachflower.com/original-bach-flower-remedies/