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Afraid to Ride Part 1

Don Jessop

I know fear! I've lived in it. I've stared right at it. I've met it in the field, in the saddle, in the stall. I've talked to fear and responded to it submissively many times. And then, I discovered something special about fear... and I got all my confidence back. I want to share with you what I learned in three stages.

Stage one: Realize that fear is real. It tells an important story. Don't negate it. Don't run. Just sit in it for a while and listen. Most people feel fear and respect it by moving away from what scares them. But that's not respect, it's avoidance. Real respect is choosing to sit in the fear for a while. Don't do anything, don't override it or run from it, just listen. It has an important message for you.

Stage two: Embrace the new, enlightened truth about your fear. Here's an example: While sitting in the fear you hear the words, "I don't want to upset my horse." Whooooooy!!!! That's a good one. So much to learn from that one. You may be afraid to ride but you may also be afraid to "guide." You may feel like your horse will be upset with you being direct and clear in your communications. You may be afraid to upset the applecart and instead of leading, end up allowing your horse to dictate your situational confidence. Meaning.... You're not taking charge because you're afraid to offend your horse. Now it's time to embrace the truth. You have to take charge.

Stage three: Take very small steps. Tiny! Take tiny steps toward embracing your new truth. The smaller the better. Big steps can wreck the whole thing. You can override your fear and end up in the wrong place again. 

My story: 

I fell, hit my head, three times. (yeah, I know, I should have learned) and slowly lost all my confidence. I began to feel nauseous and sweaty before any ride. I began to lose all my passion for horses and teaching. That's my lifeblood. So I listened, and studied, and learned, and found something important. I found that I was indeed afraid to take over and lead in a scary situation. I found that I lacked what it takes to stop a horse from doing something inappropriate. I found that I was confident, only as long as my horse was perfect.  And finally, I began to take charge. I began to set up boundaries early. I'd check my horse for stepping out of line early, rather than later. I found that if I kept my horses focus I could stay in charge. And inch by inch I regained control and confidence. I began to learn to read my horse and most importantly, lead my horse.

There is more to the story. Stay tuned for Afraid to ride Part 2.
For now, sit in the fear. Learn from it. Don't run from it or override it. Just listen.

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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Don Jessop


Don opened up a community, full of people on the same journey you are!
To share LIVE Q&A's and help people and horses transform Confidence.

Don Jessop


Don shares his  passion for writing with his passion for helping horse owners see the horse and themselves for who they truly are.

Don Jessop


Don believes every horse owner should have access to the Principles of Horsemanship and he shares them freely here.

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