I shattered recently.
And by shattered, I mean that my self-confidence and belief in my own riding abilities shattered. For as much as I have spoken here (and elsewhere) about overcoming fear in the saddle and pushing back fear thresholds — I am presently living it.
As with anything else in life, be it a relationship or a skill set in the corporate world, there is an account that is either being put into or drawn from.
In my case, my riding account become overdrawn within a period of 24 hours.
I had one ride where I didn’t feel fully emotionally (or physically) secure, followed the next day on a different horse I didn’t feel confident on.
That was it. That was all it took to shut the party down for me. With fear of getting hurt being greater than my love of riding, I dismounted and haven’t mounted since.
During this time, I haven’t quit horses or left the horse world– not by a long shot. Rather, I am playing the long game with my riding, by taking a step back and re-building my mental and physical foundation for being in the saddle by doing the following:
- I sought out a therapist. In this case, I specifically sought out one that was NLP-certified to help me work through subconscious fears that are hijacking my riding.
- I gave myself permission NOT to ride and to feel into whatever emotions came up rather than repress them.
- I allowed myself to dream new dreams. For many of us driven-equestrian types, it can be easy to push through and do whatever needs to be done — for the horse(s) each day and to bring us closer to our goals. Instead of continuing down that path, I spent time journaling around “What am I holding onto that is preventing me from being open and curious about something greater than I could possibly imagine?” and “What am I missing out on because I expect things to be a certain way?”
- Staying in shape through yoga, pilates and walking several miles up hills every day. I’m also continuing to see my chiropractor and massage therapist to stay in good physical shape during this time.
How are you playing the long game with your riding? Are there areas you are neglecting where you are playing a short game rather than a long one?