A common issue I encounter as a coach, are riders who have had a bad horse related accident, and are struggling to cope with their nerves and anxiety when they return to riding. I have never been a nervous rider, so although I could empathise with these riders, I guess I never entirely understood their headspace when in the saddle until I found myself in the same position.
Last year, Tommy fell on me out on the road, smashing my ankle into the bitumen. I had ridden him out along our road hundreds of times before, and this particular day he was being spooky and lost his footing. I recall the fall vividly, and in about 35 years of riding, it was my first broken bone, surgery and involuntary time out of the saddle.
I had no hesitation getting back on in the arena, once i was allowed to walk again, but when i started riding out again, I found myself getting overcome with nerves and fear, which took me totally by surprise and I found myself struggling to get a handle on it. My riding buddy neighbour must have thought I was a nut, my overreaction to small stuff, that would usually have never bothered me!
I have been working a lot on myself lately, just trying to be present and living in the moment, and not letting my thoughts about the past or future overtake my emotions, and this morning I had a major breakthrough.
I was out riding on my own along the road and consciously took the time to clear my mind and take in everything that was going on around me. The beautiful blue sky, the lush green grass growing on the sides of the road, the sound of Tommy’s shoes on the road, the birds chirping, the breeze blowing across my skin, and you know what? In letting myself take all that in, I totally relaxed and forgot about everything I had been finding myself getting anxious and worried over. Of course, because I was relaxed, so was Tommy, and I ended up having one of the nicest rides out I have had in a very long time.
The funniest thing is, after I had that wonderful ride, I took one of my jack russells, Daisy, down to our local sports fields for a walk and found the greatest joy in just watching her zoom around, enjoying her freedom, taking in all the sights and smells, and just loving life in general. Total inspiration, courtesy of a russ!
So, I am going to keep forging forward with this mentality, not sweating the small stuff, and letting myself truly appreciate and live in the moment. No more bad moods and taking it out on people i care about when I have a bad ride, no more stressing about what could happen when I ride out my front gate, and definitely no more worrying about things that are out of my control. Trust in fait and see what the universe brings my way. 🙂