You’re listening to episode 31 of the Confident Rider Podcast

with Jane Pike


Hello glorious person! We are riffing this week. I think that’s

what it’s called, when you kind of like riff with a topic. I could

totally be using the wrong word, but what I mean is that I

haven’t had a fixed idea for what it is that I’m going to talk

about today, so I’ve decided to pop or run with the first thing

that has come into my head and I guess that’s also going to be,

as a matter of course, what has been or is most relevant for me

right now and that’s all about connection, knowing how far to

take things in training and really being able to stay in your heart.

The other thing that I want to bring into this conversation within

the scope of what I just mentioned is fear, because this is

something that all of us are dealing with all of the time and I

think that fear shows up in so many different places on the

spectrum that sometimes we don’t even recognize that what it

is we’re going through is actually a fear response.


When it comes to thinking about fear, we often flash forward to

the really likely targets where we’re either immobilized by the

thought of doing something, maybe we feel like our physical

safety is under threat…So you might project yourself back to a

time in your riding life where you felt things were going a little

bit pear shaped or perhaps even a time in the future where you

were concerned about how things might actually show up. But

the fear that I want to talk about and work with today is

specifically that internal fear that relates to belief and also that

internal fear that is like a trip wire inside us that really causes

that voice to pipe up and say, “let’s tone it down. You know,

let’s keep safe, let’s go into lockdown, let’s not go there.”

Because that’s something that I have been negotiating myself in

a really conscious way this last couple of weeks and have been

having some really fantastic experiences as a result of

navigating my way through.


So let’s go back to what I first mentioned, which is this idea of

connection and knowing how far to take things in training. This

is something or a question that comes up a lot. I know just

recently enjoy ride my membership program, it’s something

that we’ve been discussing. It’s been front of mind for a lot of

people. It’s how far do you take things, you know, how do you

know when to push and how do you know when to hold back or

to tone it down? And the way that I want to address this is to

break it up into a few different areas. So of course we have our

horses and we can talk about training and how far to take things

on a couple of different levels. We talk about it from a training

perspective, so when we’re trying out something new or we’re

wanting to do something together with them, it’s like how do I

know when this is too much or I actually have to go through

that resistance line, which is a natural part of going outside of

the comfort zone.


So my answer to that is you know how far to take things by

recognizing whether or not you’ve lost the mental or emotional

connection with your horse. So as soon as you’ve lost that

connection, you know that you’ve gone too far and if you’re

able to maintain the connection within the experience, then you

know that you’re still operating below a threshold that is

keeping you both in the learning zone. I used to really overcomplicate

and overthink this, but that understanding and that

definition has clarified things for me tenfold. I get now, as soon

as I lose that mental or emotional connection, it’s time to tone

it back to actually stop anything that might be related to a skill

based training side of things and actually say, okay, what is it

that we need to do to reestablish the connection? That is

always the first piece that needs to be taken care of.


Now we can look at connection within the capacity of ourselves

also. So a connection to ourselves means that I still am able to

maintain a feeling of centeredness. I can still be in my heart, you

know, if we want to talk about it that way, if we want to get

outside this kind of traditional paradigm of talking about fear.

When you feel fear or when you’re going through a period of

discomfort, which can be, you know, putting yourself out there

and learning something new or feeling a certain amount of

emotional discomfort, you can still be in the midst of that. You

can still be observant and aware of that experience while still

being connected to yourself. As soon as you lose that

connection to yourself, as soon as you lose that ability to say,

here I am in the midst of this discomfort and this is, this is how

it is I need to navigate my way through. As soon as you lose

that, you need to come back because that is the point that

you’ve gone outside of yourself. And that is the point that

you’ve lost all objectivity of what it is you’re going through and

of your experience. So connection is the first point. It is the key

point. It is the foundation point.


Am I connected to my horse? Am I connected to myself? And

usually that latter point is going to determine that connection

between us and our horses. It’s always the first piece that we

need to start with. So my practice over the last couple of weeks

off the back of going to a clinic and having a few buttons pushed

and looking at what that means and how it is that I want to

adventure forward was that I’d got into the, got into a way of

going that was just a little bit too safe, you know, and I was, I

recognize that catch point or that resistance line in me that was

quite easily activated and I don’t think I was practicing activating

that enough.


So the practice of it is recognizing the point where you are

teetering on the edge of your comfort zone and understanding

that at that point the primary focus needs to be re connecting,

recentering, you know, dropping back into your heart and

getting out of your head. And then from that place saying, how

is it that I need to move forward? You know, how is it? Or what

is it that I need to do? And when you’re in that space, when

you’re in a heart space place of awareness, of navigating your

emotional experience, then you’re able to look through things

or look at things with a completely different lens to when you’re

caught up in your head. It’s a lens that connects you to your

intuition. It’s a lens that connects you to your courage and it

allows you to operate from a really creative and generative

space as opposed to a reactive one.


So when I’m in that place, I can say to myself, who is it that I

need to be for my horse right now? And what is the best option

for us? And I can also say, I see you, I see what it is that I’m

experiencing. I see this anxiety, I see this fear, I see this

apprehension. I say this concern, I see you and yet I will take

you with me as I make movements towards the higher intention

of what it is that I want to create. So Nadia and I, for those of

you who have been following my Facebook page or do follow

my Facebook and Instagram pages, you will see that I’ve been

sharing snippets over the course of the week of what I am

calling Nadia and I’s brave bucket challenge. And basically Nadia

has a lot of internal anxiety that we’ve been working through

for quite an extensive period of time.


And I just got to this point where I’m like, you know what, I

recognize that I need to have more courage than you right now

and I really need to be your courage encourager. So I think we

have, you know, all of us recognize that our horses have

different personalities just like we do. And what I know about

Dee is that he is, he has a, he has definitely an anxious streak

and he’s sensitive as well, but he’s brave too. Like he’s curious

and he hasn’t had that, uh, taken out of him in any shape or

form. So he’s happy to adventure. And for the times that

perhaps I am feeling a little bit trepidatious, is that a word he

will have courage for me, you know? And that is the way that

we encourage each other. We encourage, we encourage

courage in each other and so we can step in that way where

sometimes, He will fill my bucket.


Sometimes I will fill his and sometimes we are filling each

other’s. With Nadia because of, for whatever reason she’s kind

of being held between two hands and two legs for, for a really

long time and not really given much choice in a showing her

opinion…so outside of that constricted framework, you know,

outside of the arena that she’s traditionally known, she doesn’t

really know how to manage yourself. And so she doesn’t trust

herself to be able to go into the world, I guess, and be okay with

  1. So that’s what I picked up from her and I was like, you know

what, Nadia, let’s forget the arena for the moment. Let’s get out

and live it up together. Let’s live life. And I’m really lucky to live

on this beautiful inlet that is a packed mud flat. So the sea exists

beyond it and it’s like a big Bay.


If you’re trying to picture it, it’s a big Bay and at high tide it fills

  1. So it’s tidak and at low tide the tide obviously goes out and

then you can ride on it. And there’s kind of like a channel that

stays full most of the time that you can go and play in. So we’ve

been going out onto the inlet every day and I have been, um,

bare back and you know, just in the halter and it’s just been this

really beautiful experience. And on the first day, I actually went

with my son. It was, this was the starting point for our brave

adventure where I’d been, um, I’d taken him and his friends

swimming on the Saturday and they’d gone out with their lovely

horses and had a really great time playing in the channel at low

tide. And then on Sunday he wanted to go swimming again, but

his friend Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well.


And I was like, you know what? I could just walk out with you

and your horse, but why don’t I take a horse? Why don’t I take

Nadia? And I thought, let’s just do it, you know, and let’s go.

And the worst that can happen, I thought is that I’ll just get off.

So what I know about her just to kind of tick those boxes as

well, is that her modus operandi is, and she just gets very tight

and she feels like she’s got very big and it’s not a very pleasant

feeling, but also she’s, she doesn’t tend to revert to any of those

likely suspects that would cause us to think that this wasn’t

really a good idea. So I trusted, you know, where her energy

went and how I could direct it and she, we need a few times

grant going down the road and kind of got tight a few times.


And what I discovered that as long as I just kept her feet

moving, she was really okay with being out there and trusting

me to take the reins metaphorically and literally. So we got out

there and adventure and I had that point inside me, that

apprehension point, that feeling, that feeling in my tummy for

me, it comes in my tummy of is this going to be okay? Is this a

good idea? We don’t think this is a good idea. And I recognize

that and I didn’t stamp it down. So this is the point where

training with kindness becomes the thing. The thing that we’re

often not good at because at that point where we recognize

that resistance in us, the tendency is to go, “Oh, you’re so

stupid. Why do you feel this way? I can’t. You should be braver

than this. You should totally have it together, yada, yada, yada.”


But the beautiful practice of adventuring into the unknown and

being okay with the possibility is to say to yourself, wow, I feel

that and I get that that is a protective mechanism so you don’t

want to go to war with yourself. Right? Like you don’t those

feelings that you have a valid, they’re valid and they’re

necessary and they serve a purpose. They… The, the thing that

we need to recognize is the emotional forms that come up are

of two sorts. They are either true for the moment or they are

part of a pre patterned or a habitual cycle. That is part of a story

that you’re telling yourself. Now what I recognized about that

feeling that came up for me was that it wasn’t true for the

moment. Sure my horses a little bit tense. Sure, she was having

a little bit of a separation anxiety moment, but really there was

nothing going on that I couldn’t effectively deal with.


The feeling that I had was familiar. It’s like an old friend visiting

you and that is how you know that what it is you’re

experiencing is not true for the moment. So within that, then I

can say, okay, training with kindness. Here I am in the midst of

this experience, in the midst of this emotion and I know that I’m

safe, I know that I’m going to be okay. So I will carry that feeling

with me and yet I will line up my actions with what it is I know

that I need to be focusing on. So in my mind, I’m focusing on

having this lovely calm and relaxed horse. I tell Nadia- truly like I

actually tell her these things- we are going to be out each

other’s courage encourages, you need more courage. I’ve got

your back and I trust that you can do this and I’m rubbing on

her. you know, I’m, I’m sending her the love and I’m sending it

out in front of us and out we ride.


So day four of this week, when we’ve gone out four times, the

last three times have been solo adventures. Yesterday was the

first time that both of us had no apprehension. There was no

whinneying, there was softness. She was happy to stand still,

which is something that she hadn’t been happy to do before

and that wouldn’t have happened unless I was willing to show

up and push through that resistance in myself. Now, if we flip to

the other side of the story, what is fear or apprehension or

anxiety that is true for the moment and how is that different to

what it is that I just described? When an emotion like anxiety or

fear is true for the moment-any emotion- it is coming up in

response to what it is that you are experiencing and what you

need to do to stay in flow with that is not deny it because often

that itty bitty shitty committee has like the upper hand here and

if we’re really good or practiced at berating ourselves, and that’s

a very easy modus operandi to fall into, but what I really want

to encourage you to do is say, “Oh, hi, okay, I feel this way and I

recognize this feeling is trying to convey a message to me.


What is that message? What can I take from this?” That is your

supersleuth job. At that point, as an emotional detective, what

is it that I’m feeling and why is it that I’m feeling this? And it

might be, here is my whole horse in front of me behaving in this

way and I feel like I can’t competently manage what it is on

being presented with. That is really useful information. That is

your emotions doing their job to convey to you a situation that

feels out of your zone to successfully navigate. Now from there,

if you were to stay in flow, you would go, thank you for that,

you know, thank you for that information. Now I know that I’m

not a failure or I don’t have to like give it up completely, but

what I do need to know and what I do need to do is actually upskill.


I need to talk to the people I need to talk to. I need to find a way

of being able to get myself to a place where I’m represented

with this same situation and yet I’m able to challenge it or

navigate it differently. That’s progress. That’s the upward cycles

of progress. So I’m hoping those two differentials are quite clear

because they’re really important pieces of information to get

your head around. If we were to backtrack, thinking about that

connection as well, being able to do that with kindness, being

able to train yourself with kindness really involves staying

connected to yourself. One of the questions that popped up in

the JoyRide group this week, which I think is really interesting

was all around intuition. It’s like, how do I know when I’m just

overdoing the intuition? And my answer was you can never

overdo intuition. What you’re overdoing is the logical thought

that stamps out the intuition in most parts.


So I know for myself that can be a really split second response

between intuitively understanding something intuitively

recognizing that this is either too much or this is okay or you

know, just that that message, that flash of insight in response to

what it, whatever it is that you’re going through. And then even

very quickly after that, having a conditioned response of

embarrassment or guilt or shame even or anything which you

might describe as a not ideal for the situation that actually

clouds your perception of what it is that you’re going through so

that you discount the intuition or you discount the experience

by saying, Oh, you know, but that’s probably not right. We’ve

got very untrusting of ourselves. So this training with kindness

really asks you to reconnect, reconnect to yourself, make sure

that whenever you’re out there training with your horses, that

the connection is the thing that you returned to and extend



And when you’re able to stay in that connected place, you’re

able to move forward compassionately and with understanding

and with reverence for what it is that’s showing up for you.

Because ultimately you are not at war with yourself. There is

never any part of you that is trying to work to your downfall.

You know, everything that shows up is for your highest benefit.

It’s just that sometimes we’ve got a little bit out of whack with

what that is. If we haven’t had the opportunity in the past to

actually negotiate something successfully. So if we have been

through a traumatic circumstance or something that had a high

emotional charge and we haven’t found the way to actually

reconcile that in, in the sense that it stays in the past and it

comes forward into the future. So what I mean by that, just to

clarify is if you have been through an experience which has

registered itself in your nervous system or registered itself in

your neurology, then you actually need to find a way of bringing

that cycle to completion before you are able to metabolize the

energy of that experience.


So if you think of something with a high emotional charge or

something which creates a lot of energy, like fear, like anxiety,

they have a huge amount of energy that exists as part of the

emotion and you go up through the arousal cycle into the peak

of that experience. And if you’re unable to come back down

from that, if you’re unable to actually de compress off the back

of those experiences and instead you feel in some way that

you’re stuck in the charge of that, that carries with you and that

is where these pre patterned experiences come up. That is

where we get these familiar occurrences come up in response

to different triggers that set us off because your nervous system

is basically saying, here we go, here we go. Can we get rid of this

energy? Now? Do you have the means to use this experience as

the way to discharge what it was that you went through



So there’s an invitation with every experience that we have,

even if it’s familiar to us, there’s an invitation to say, here you

are again. Here’s your opportunity again. How are you going to

do it differently this time? What are the skills that you have?

What are the new perspectives and understandings that you

have to be able to see this through to a different solution or a

different completion this time? It’s really a beautiful thing to

think of emotions this way and to think of feelings this way. It’s

been incredibly liberating for me and it’s something that has

softened the edges of my resistance. I’m definitely a recovering

perfectionist. Like I can be super hard on myself if I get things

wrong in my mind. And you know, especially being in the work

that I’m in, I feel like if I take a tumble internally and get to a

place where I’m not in a good feeling space, I’m like, who am I

to be talking about this?


But, but it’s not the fall that defines us. It’s the rise. You know?

How quickly can you come back from the dips? How easily are

you able to move through the emotional territory that you’re in

with compassion and kindness? And when you’re able to do

that to yourself, then you’re able to extend it to your horse.

You’re able to see that everything that comes up is really all

there…. you know, an expression of them saying, this is what it

feels like to be me in this environment, in this situation with you

right now. And when you understand that the charge goes and

you say, right, what is it? How can we encourage courage in

each other? How is it that we can get both of us to a better

feeling place? So, let’s have some homework. Let’s have some

homework for this week. Think about what it means or feel,

what it means to the operating from your heart as opposed to

your head.


If you were to close your eyes now and just reconnect with

whatever that feels like or looks like for you. And typically when

you’re in that heart space, you’ll feel grounded and centered

and connected to yourself. So get in touch with what it feels like

to be in that place, to operate from that place. And then say

how you can maintain that just as you move through your day

or move through your writing. And then here’s the tricky bit.

When you feel yourself go to a place which is uncomfortable or

challenging or even concerning for you, see if you can cultivate

enough presence of mind before you make any actions moving

forward, or before you decide where to take things to drop back

into that heart place and move from there and see what comes

up, see what comes up. It’s a pretty beautiful practice to get on

board with.


I think that’s, that’s it. That’s it for my riffing. I hope you enjoyed

  1. Thank you again for hanging out with me once again, if you

want to connect up, got any questions, feel like a chat. You can

hit me up. jane@confidentrider.online. Oh, there is so much

information on my website around all of this stuff. Emotional

flow, agility, my favorite, and of course my membership

program, JoyRide. Please come and join me if you’re in the

struggle or even if you’re not, even if you just want to get on

board with all this juicy, amazing stuff that is learning about

yourself. My membership program,

www.confidentrider.online/joyride I would love to see you

there. All right guys, you have a fabulous day and I’m looking

forward to chatting with you in the next episode.