Fear and Exposure

When a horse shows fear over something, sometimes there is a tendency to barrage them with the thing that scared them. You can find a million videos on YouTube showing you how to throw tarps, balls, flags, ropes, you name it, at, over, and under your horse.

It’s interesting that these same people, when they have riding fears of their own, beg to not have them addressed in their lessons. Please don’t make me canter! Please don’t make me give up my inside rein!

More exposure to the thing that scares us alone does not create confidence. What creates confidence is a tool set to handle these fears, and controlled exposure that develops positive interactions. You don’t get over your fear or flying by being on the most turbulent ride immediately. You take short trips on smooth rides, learn about what all the noises mean, learn to enjoy your in flight entertainment, and realize it’s a great place for a nap.

A horse has little to gain from investigating and thinking logically, and everything to lose. (Any horse thinking “Is that a cougar or a plastic bag? Hmm…upon further investigation it seems it IS a cougar!” might be dead)

Think about something you’re afraid of next time you find your horses fear come up, and train with compassion.

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