Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Are you tired of feeling stressed and anxious before a ride? If it's a YES! use this calming exercise to help put you at ease.
Most of us have felt it at some point no matter how long you have been horse riding for, that feeling of dread just before you go out on a ride, it's right on schedule, your heart starts to race, your breathing becomes quicker, your stomach tightens into knots, it's like having lots of electrical lines running down your arms & legs, your knees start to feel like mush, there you have it - hey presto a total bag of nerves!
I have been there countless times for reasons that I don’t understand and others where we have had some trouble on a previous occasion, I vividly remember going on a beautiful hack through the woods with my mum years ago and on our way back home a complete lunatic in a black car came tearing past us completely ignoring our requests and signals to slow down, as the car went past it flicked a small stone up which hit the horse I was riding, not surprisingly my horse 'bounced' in the air and bolted a few yards down the road, it happened so quickly I didn’t have time to think - thankfully I stayed on and we were not physically hurt however it knocked my confidence for six, from then on every time I then went to go on a ride my anxiety came back in bucketloads.
Moving forward I have learnt to control this fear and turn it into something positive, it took me a while to find a technique that worked as everyone is different but I thought I would share with you what I do.
Now I know this sounds simple but it isn’t when you are feeling 'out of control'.
Take yourself somewhere quiet (we understand this may be challenging if you are at a show or busy yard) maybe escape to a stable or horsebox (minus the horse!), sit somewhere comfortable such as on a bale of hay, uncross your arms and legs and just listen, listen to your breathing, notice how fast and loud it sounds, now in your mind tell your body to slow your breathing down, say to yourself 'I AM in control', inhale in through your nose and count 3 seconds, then exhale through your mouth and count 3 seconds, repeat this process for a minute or two until your breathing comes back to a normal rate.
Once you have gained control of your breathing - visualise.
Imagine you have a beautiful vibrant light coming from above your crown, down to your head and filtering down through all of your muscles, watch it in your mind pouring positive energy into every crevis, wherever it goes it tells your muscles to relax moving from one to the other, gradually the negative tense energy should be being pushed down through your feet and be soaked up into the ground.
Now you have relaxed your muscles and you are breathing normally, slowly start to wiggle your fingers and toes, then gently move your arms, legs and head until you feel ready to stand, when you are fully stood up say to yourself 'I am strong, I am confident and I believe in myself'.
Once you have practised doing the exercise above the quicker it becomes to regain control, you can also use this in everyday life when things feel like they are getting too much.
You may find that listening to some music when tacking up does the trick or smelling your favourite relaxing fragrance!
If you have any other relaxing techniques that you use or have used, comment below! We would love to hear them.
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