Two weeks before my first dressage show of this season I began worrying big time. How would I be able to get on Joey when we were at the show grounds? The safety net I have at our barn would not be there. The grounds are big, open and often pretty chaotic. For a couple of days I agonized over this. Then I told my trainer Stephanie and she immediately offered two options.
Big breath in, big breath out!
I've promised myself that I will appreciate my fear as a gift to keep me safe. It's so easy to dance close to the edge of my old mindset: overpower the fear, force myself to face my fear and do it anyway. That long time mindset almost led me to give up my horse and riding, one of the most important parts of my llife. Yet I have to still remind myself from time to time that fear is a gift that keeps me safe and able to ride.
I applaud those who do face their fear and do it anyway. I did that for 19 years and achieved some pretty amazing riding goals. But when I could no longer do it, I came to embrace this new mindset: integrate my fear into my self image.
I make decisions with the fear in mind. I will never get on any horse without someone holding the horse while I mount. Sometimes that's a bit inconvenient, but I want to keep riding, so I accept that. I will ask for someone to walk with me when I'm not in an arena, just to help me stay relaxed. When I'm relaxed, Joey is relaxed, and we have a good ride.
When have you been told, or told yourself, to face your fear and do it anyway--only to not do it because this is more than you can handle. Why not accept the fear as a gift that keeps you safe and figure out how to do what's fearful in a safer way?
I'm always grateful for people who share their stories with me. Please post yours in our comment box.