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Horsemanship Training – Controlling Fear

By Expert Author: ian kirkham

Horseback riding, can be a risky recreational activity. This should come as no surprise; after all, horses are large animals that can weigh well over half a ton and stand up to six-and-a-half-feet tall. And, horses are fast – they can run over 40 mph. when people get injured while riding or working with a horse, the injury is often serious. Whether a person suffered minor or major injury while working with a horse, the long term and potentially permanent effect of the accident is fear.


Like people, every horse is unique, and difficulties encountered while training one horse will be unlike those found with another. And it is true – some horses are dangerous to ride, round pen, lead onto a trailer or approach in the stall. Even if a horse is not dangerous, many are easily spooked, and their fight-or-flight response can cause trouble for riders. It must be noted, though, that dangerous horses are by far the minority.


Just like horses, people have justified and unjustified fears. Sometimes after a rider is thrown from a horse, he or she develops a lifelong fear of being thrown, even when riding a horse that’s never thrown anyone. When this happens, the person’s fear of being thrown can evolve into a fear of riding altogether. Of all the people who have ever been thrown by a horse, a large proportion of them have quit riding because of a fear of being hurt in the future. This is both a justified and unjustified fear response. In some cases, the person has already been hurt while working with or riding a horse, while in others the person has had a scare or close call that ignited their fear response.


Fear can be a good thing. It keeps us from doing stupid things or getting into dangerous situations. But fear can also be debilitating. A nervous person on a calm horse won’t necessarily make the horse nervous. Rather, most nervous riders fail to give their horses good instructions. The opposite is also true – a nervous horse won’t change a calm rider. However, when you combine an inexperienced horse with an inexperienced rider, both of whom are feeling afraid, you have the making of a bad accident.


Overcoming fear takes time and work. The basis for conquering a fear of riding is control. Riders who continuously work on the four foundational exercises (soft nose and collection, same rein and same foot, reverse arc, and hips-in) will have control over their horse in virtually every situation. For example, a rider who has trained his horse to do hips-in can dramatically slow a horse that’s bolted after a spook. If a rider has a relaxed and balanced seat, and maintains control over the horse’s nose, shoulders and hips, chances are that that rider and horse won’t get into trouble.


Company – LL Inc and the Lyons Legacy School of Horsemanship offer a wide variety of equine educational materials, including a series of horse training and riding courses, manuals, and videos for online and on-the-ground learning.


Contact – Ian Kirkham, LL Inc., ian.kirkham@gmail.com. A biologist with a PhD in animal behaviour, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between training horses and creating educational products for horse lovers.

Author Bio :

A biologist with a PhD in animal behavior, and a writer for much of his career, Ian now focuses on one of his lifelong passions – horses & Horsemanship. He’s owned and trained horses in Canada, US, Zimbabwe and Costa Rica. Ian divides his time between horse training, horse professional trainer and creating educational products for horse lovers.

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