This kid. She was deciding if she really wanted to show today after being severely intimidated by the warm up ring.
I have got to figure out better ways to work with anxiety. I am a fake it till you make it kind of person and I push anxiety down into a tiny explosive ball and ignore it… That’s probably not a great method to teach but I’d like to find a way to help her not worry about all the things that can go wrong in the ring, worrying like that distracts her and puts her in an actual dangerous situation… How do I teach her that the best way to not be in a dangerous situation is to pay attention to her surroundings in a way that let’s her maneuver confidently away from potential collisions, scary objects, run away ponies etc.. Plus acting scared on a horse makes the horse scared. She’s lucky to be on Bentley who pretty much just ignores the kid, goes to the rail and does his job.
G is such a good rider at home (though nerves have gotten the better of her lately) but at the show… Yeah. I think for now I want her to go to shows but only to school, not actually show.. Just to get her more relaxed in the situation before she has to go in a ring and be judged or ride in a flat class.
Anxious riders, any advice? What helped you?
When I talk about things that make me anxious in therapy, my therapist likes to ask “what is the worst thing that could happen?” (Not in a nonchalant way, but genuinely, what do I believe is going to happen that is making me so nervous) and then I go through all the outcomes I’ve come up with and we discuss how I’d handle each one.
So if the problem were being nervous about a show class, I’d say “I might fall off in front of everyone and look stupid” and she would say “How do people react when other girls fall off?” and the answer is probably “Well they are very supportive and clap when she gets up and people tell her about their falls, and how it happens to everyone.”
And I’d probably also worry about being dead last, or my horse refusing, or messing up on something easy like a wrong lead, but if I talked beforehand about how a) those things aren’t actually very likely and don’t happen in my lessons and b) even if they do happen I gave it a try and can always work to get better, it might lessen the anxiety.