|We all have fears when it comes to horses. Being Thrown...|
It doesn't have to make any sense. We love the horses. We're scared of the horse doing certain things. And for some, we feel guilt that we ask so much of others for us to have this strange addiction called horse fever.
Last week, Rachel made a wonderful point. There are only so many ways that we can deal with our fears:
For me, there are different ways of dealing with fear, depending on the situation.. I came up with a pretty cool analogy (pun intended).. It's like getting into the cold water of a pool.. you do one of a few things.. 1. you can stay on the deck saying "huh-uh.. Not going in.." 2. You can get splashed by kids playing in the water.. Getting exposed to it, even though you really don't want to be.. but finding out Heh, it's not so bad.. 3. you can wade in, gradually getting used to the cold on your own terms.. or 4.say To Heck with it all and get it all over with in one fell swoop by doing a cannonball, or diving head first in the deep end..
|Losing our seat and balance....|
I tried to cannon ball back into the riding. I failed at it miserably. I got on the horse, tried to push myself, and sat there having a silly panic attack that really didn't help me progress any in my fear issues. So that method was out.
Of course, NOT dealing with it was out for me as well. I own a horse or 2 (Or 30) and I can't exactly ignore them. I have young horses that need handling in order to have a good home, I have old horses that are too aged to get a good home, and I have horses that have bad enough medical conditions to make them hard to place (like my ulcer horse). If I ignored them, then I would just end up as some news story with a huge herd of horses dieing of starvation. So that's out.
|The horse trying to buck us off...|
I get splashed by watching others do things. I see Jae grab a hoof, or Amy get on a green horse, and they are fine. That makes me think "Hey, I can do that too", and so I try. Each small effort makes me realize that I am ok, and try a bit harder. Eventually, I get to the point where I am fine with what bothers me that day, and so I move on to the next step of my fear.
But I also have no problem with saying I've waded in a bit too deep. There have been times that I try something, and fear grips me. With my heart in my throat, I will stop, take a few deep breaths, and see if it goes away. Now, for me this means getting off the horse, and even handing it off if I feel like I have to. Pushing myself beyond my comfort zone has made me more fearful, so I just won't do it any more.
But like I said, there are things that I HAVE to do. I owe it to my horses, as I "made" most of them (I decided to breed for them) that they get the handling and training they need. I can't say "I'm too scared to handle this baby" with out also saying "I don't care about this baby enough to do everything I can to make sure it has the best life ahead of it that it can". That's the responsibility I took on when I decided to breed horses. I honestly believe that. Just like many of you have children.
I know Lisa from Laughing Orca mentioned the feeling of guilt. She feels like her love of horses means that she asks her family to give up more then she has a right to ask for. The more I thought about that, the more I realize that I understand her, except from the other side of it. I feel guilt about it as well, but that I am not doing more. My "children" are the horses themselves, and I promised to care for them.
|Getting bit or attacked....|
While Amy was riding some of my lesson horses (and prospective lesson horses) to get them into shape, I took a sadly blanket to the far side of the arena, and stretched out my legs to get a bit of sun on them. It was going to be a relatively easy day, and by moving away from the gate, I could still see her (and scream at her) but with out my presence there to encourage the horses to pull to the gate. It's a habit many of the lesson horses picked up here. We're working to break it.
|And my own fear, being trampled.|
So that was my way of mixing "getting splashed" with "wading in". It seems to be working. No, it's not a miracle cure, and it's not happening as fast as I would like, but I am getting better. I may never be perfect with my fear issues, but I will be better - because I WANT to be, and am willing to work at it.
So what method do you use? Have you tried one that just wasn't any good for you? I know that the general thought that I first had was "just do it and you will get over it" but when I tried that it didn't work. I think that the "man up" mentality is what society so often pushes on us, but likely is the worst way to approach fear. Because my fear is NOT logic based, proving to myself that "I'm ok" (a logical method of thinking) doesn't mean it will work at all.
Does it work for any of you, the cannon ball into the icy water type of overcoming your fear? Are you still stuck trying to find the way that will work? Or are you like me, and after reading Rachel's theory, realize that you're blending a few methods, or that one analogy perfectly explains your best way of dealing with it? I know we're all at different points in our mental recoveries, but I am willing to bet most of us are more the "wade in" type, rather then the "not going to do it" types.