Rider Q&A: Riding outside of your comfort zone

Jessica Newtons asks:

“I am confident in an indoor arena, but outside on a trail or outdoor arena my confidence disappears. I am looking for things for my horse to spook at and waiting for him to spook…which means he is looking for things to spook at!”.

I discuss a plan of action for incrementally increasing your comfort zone in the video below. Thanks Jessica! 

xx Jane

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4 thoughts on “Rider Q&A: Riding outside of your comfort zone

  1. Excellent answer! I am already allowing incremental steps out of my comfort zone (and recognize that’s a moving target day to day), which has added up to huge restoration of confidence! I like the addition of breaking the pattern before changing the response, and have been working on this as well for a visceral response I have been challenged to overcome when my horse lifts his head while riding. I finally recognized he’s literally looking for my guidance, and now pretend he’s saying, “HUH?” when he lifts – in a funny, Scooby Doo like voice, that immediately changes my apprehension into first a giggle, and then a second ask with better direction.

    1. Well done Dodie! And I love the Scooby Doo voice- adding a bit of humour seems to make everything so much more manageable! xx Jane

  2. Thanks for the video, it covered the problem and some solutions well. My horse would usually work well on an arena, but would always spook, not just on a trail, but even riding back from the arena to the hitching rail.
    Sometimes I used to find it hard to focus on what I wanted to achieve as there were too many things that seemed important. I wanted my horse to be relaxed, obedient and not to spook as I rode back from the arena to the hitching rail. When I tried to focus on this I couldn’t get the focus off “not spook” which somehow just made me focus on the “spook” bit. I would just like to add a bit more about focus, it’s something that helped me. I just decided to look ahead at a tree, straight ahead of me and near to where I was going.I would just focus on that tree and on riding straight to it. Within a couple of weeks my horse had stopped spooking, he didn’t even tense up anymore.

    1. Hi Robyn, thanks so much for your awesome comment! And great tips about the focus, so true. Sounds like you have done a great job managing the situation to a positive resolution! xx Jane

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