Monday, October 20, 2014

Less Fear Directly Proportional to More Groundwork

Here's another human interest story where the use of proper groundwork can help someone reduce their fear of riding.  The idea to keep is mind is that my groundwork program is specifically geared to helping riders with their riding (and not just to take the 'fresh' off a horse). 

This also works for confident riders who are stuck on how to fix a particular problem with their horse. Here's how:

Kathy and her horse Diego

I gave lessons last month to Kathy Burnside, a rider of 36 yrs. She explains: "I lost my confidence in riding when I had a fall in 2007. I rode in controlled situations on and off since then. But after loosing my trusty steed, I became more and more fearful of riding."

The first thing that we did for Kathy is outfit her with a very well trained, good minded horse and a sturdy well fitting saddle - not only for the horse but for her as well. I find that riders are so focused on the saddle fitting the horse that they don't pay attention to the saddle fitting them.  Part of having the confidence to ride is having the proper tools.

But I can also show you where you can also have success, possibly without the big changes - just more footwork. Read on!

How can people expect to fix a problem or gain success if they keep doing the same things at home? I hear people explaining that they've tried over and over and over again to make progress. Frustrated, they hope that that next time will maybe make a difference.

They don't know what else to try. I get it.

They have to change it up somehow.

There is a saying: "if you keep doing what you're doing then you're going to get what you've always been getting."

The problem is that they have to do something different but they don't know what.  Well, by working on the ground with the groundwork exercises that are available on the internet these days, they will succeed.

My belief, base on experience is that:
  • Your fear is reduced/eliminated the more you do proper groundwork. Footwork. Home schooling. Make the horse, make the effort to do it properly.
  • Less fear is directly proportional to the amount of proper groundwork.
  • ie. the more you work with your horse on exercises that the horse is expected to do well, the more the rider and horse will trust and respect each other. The rider's fear will go away.
  • This includes day-to-day handling.

Back to Kathy. So we spent the first 2 weeks getting Kathy outfitted. I noticed Kathy relaxing already. That's key. We spent the next 2 weeks in the round pen doing free longeing and mounting exercises with the mounting block. As you can see by the photo, Kathy did ride her horse. Yeah!  This isn't a speed contest. It takes as long as it takes.

Kathy comments on her progress: "I found that the groundwork exercises really helped my confidence and reduce the fear.  I really noticed a difference in my change of fear level when I was doing the mounting exercise with the mounting block.  I was starting to get bored with the groundwork exercises, but when I started to see results, I continued. I was starting to get him and he was starting to get me. We were beginning to trust each other. In the end, I felt like I had accomplished a lot so much so that I rode Diego in the round pen."
Looking back on it now, Kathy says "It was well worth it. It was a victory."

Since making the big milestone, and with the winter weather coming on, Kathy feels that if she decides not to ride much anymore in the bad weather and wait till spring, then it will be just fine! She won't hesitate to ride in the spring.

Congratulations to Kathy and her success!

Doing my spin to kill fear.
@KISS Reiners

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