How to control your own level of tension when your horse spooks
If you have a horse that’s a little bit nervous or that’s prone to spooking, your anticipation to that spook is creating tension in your body. It’s a natural reaction, but it will definitely create tension and anticipation in your horse’s body as well.
So what can you do to prevent that?
You can try to create a simulation of the situation where you think of your horse spooking and then going through the steps of what you would do in that situation.
This is how you can do that.
The next time you’re riding your horse in the arena, pretend there is a scary corner and ride your horse towards it.
When you arrive there, and even though your horse hasn’t spooked, just think: ‘My horse has spooked’ and start going through the steps of creating a relaxed posture and therefore a relaxed mindset.
Your body will then go into the action phase where you go through the motions of what you might do in that situation. In that way you’re taking positive action in knowing what it is you have to do.
When you’re doing this simulation, you’re preparing yourself and creating in your mind the knowledge of what action you need to take in that moment.
It’s like a fake fire alarm. Everybody does a drill and when they hear the alarm, they know that they have to go outside the building towards the meeting place.
Now you can feel what it’s like to gain control of the situation. So unconsciously you start to feel confident that you know what you have to do the next time your horse spooks.
Secondly, you have to tell yourself that you’re not going into this action plan unless there really is a fire.
I understand you want to be prepared, but don’t enter the building and practice the drill every time. Just wait until there actually is a moment where it requires you to take action.
Therefore you’re not preempting the expectation that the horse is going to spook. You have an action plan and now you’re just going to focus on your riding and what you’re doing.
That’s relieving that tension in you and giving you purpose and knowledge of knowing what you need to do when there actually is an emergency.
It takes away that anticipation of trying to prevent it. Because when you know what to do, you no longer have to prevent it.
Do you have problems with tension during shows and competitions?
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