Anxiety is a huge part of us holding ourselves back when it comes to not only our riding but time with our horses in general.
What is anxiety?
Why do I feel like this?
It is generally wither conscious or subconscious anxiety.
Conscious anxiety stems from something that has either happened to you to someone you know or it is caused because there is a very real possibility of something happening.
Subconscious anxiety is something that you have formed in your mind either from a dread of what if of an association with something seen or perceived.
However the anxiety feels the same no matter where it comes from and it can start even before you get near your horse.
For some once they face what is causing it will subside, for others it will do the opposite.
When it comes to anxiety often your brain is in its fight, flight, freeze mode and that will be controlling and over ruling the rational side of your thought process. What it needs is to be reprogrammed and taught a new way of thinking which allows you to move forward.
I want to share 5 tips that you can try today to calm your anxiety when it comes to either riding or ground work as we have all been there.
- Concentrate ion your breathing. As simple as it sounds. When we start to feel anxious our breaths shorten, just by consciously breathing longer and deeper we can change how we feel about a situation.
- Everyday or as often as possible do something small (with support if needed) to take you one step closer, for example if your fear is riding in the school. Firstly ride near the school working closer to it or start with some in hand training or watching someone else ride your horse in the school, or riding on the lung. There are so many possibilities, it is choosing how smaller step you need to take.
- Think about your 5 senses. Every time you feel your anxiety building think about your senses and run through them, naming one thing you can see, hear, touch, smell, feel and taste. This does help to ground, centre and distract you.
- Use visualisation. How many times has this experience been positive? Think through the best case scenario and relive it in your mind as if it was happening now. Record that scenario like a story, filling it with emotion and positives onto your voice recorded on your phone and listen to it time and time again.
- think of a time when you didn’t feel like this, and think of something you remember from that situation. Was it a smell, a colour, an item of clothing, a ribbon on your horse? Then use that. Have that prompt while you are riding, or working your horse and when you start to feel anxious look at, touch or smell it then remember and focus on that positive experience.
Anxiety doesnt have to be the end of your good experiences or mean that you cannot do something, all it means is you have to re-look at how you see something.
I would love to hear some of your top groundwork tips too so head to our instagram page and drop me a message, I cannot wait to hear from you.