You're Not The Only One.
Fear and Anxiety around horses is a very common thing, especially in adult-aged riders. Most people have experienced some form of anxiety or fear either around or while riding their horse. For some, the fear is situational, while for others the fear and anxiety are always there. But, never let anyone tell you your fear isn't real or make you feel like less of a person because you have these fears.
My Fear Trigger
If you've had a chance to read my Bio post, you know that I did not start riding until I was in my late 30s. My first show was a disaster! Having a horse rear with you as a novice rider was a pretty traumatic experience. This single experience introduced fear that I never had prior, and I've dealt with these fears in some form or another ever since.
However, I have found ways to persevere and continue riding and pursuing my passion. Over the years since, I've had periods of great confidence building and some setbacks which have taken me some time to get over.
I've learned what my fear triggers are and have figured out ways to take small steps to overcome those triggers. Yep...sometimes, I let my fears get the best of me and miss out on certain activities. But other times, when I'm feeling a little more brave, I step outside of my comfort zone. I find each time I do, and I have success, it builds my confidence a little more. Baby Steps!
Surround yourself with people who will help you through your fears.
For you, this may be a confident trail partner who will be patient with you during fearful situations and be able to talk you through a scary situation. For others, this may be a trainer who understands you are fearful and works slowly with you to give you the tools to help you overcome those fears. Maybe push the bar a little and take a clinic. Let the clinician know that you are dealing with fears so that they can help you. Most clinicians are very understanding and very helpful in these situations.
Have the right horse
It may sound silly to say, but I have read some posts where people with fears and anxieties talk about riding a green-broke horse. Those of us with fears need to consider the personality of the horse we ride. You need a horse you can trust, a confidence builder. The wrong horse will definitely make things worse.
Do Some Research, Join a Group, Read a Book
Maybe Anti-Anxiety Supplements May Help
Personally, I've found a couple different anti-anxiety supplements that have helped me get over the hump. Not saying this approach is right for everyone, and I encourage you to do your research and consult a physician before trying anything like this. But sometimes, you just need something to take that edge off. Amazon has tons of products that could help.
*TheGaitedFanatic accepts no responsibility or liability for any products advertised here. Do your research and use your best judgement. If uncertain, talk to a professional.
Read a Book, Join a Support Group
There are numerous books available that deal with fear and anxiety. I found the book "Riding Fear Free" to be very helpful for me.
There's also an amazing Facebook page by the same name who's members share their stories about how they've been able to overcome and deal with their fears.
Lastly, watch some videos or do other research
Because everyone's fear levels and experiences are different, not 1 thing will work for everyone. I found the following video to be a game changer for me.