Spooking horse fear

Fear of horse riding after riding for years.

I have seen quite a few riders, who are passionate about their sport and love their horses and who suddenly acquire a fear that their horse is going to spook at the slightest thing. They lose their confidence in their ability to control their horse. This is despite referring to their horse as “bombproof” and “totally chilled”.

Many of these riders are paying a fortune keeping their horse in full livery instead of riding them.

There may have been a time in the past when they had fallen, but this need not be the case.

What usually has happened is that the rider has some kind of event that changes their perspective on the whole experience of riding, which has transformed from being one of pleasure an relative safety, to one of terror. This of course transmits to the horse which responds as though he is either doing something wrong or there is something to be scared of and then he gets upset and loses confidence, making him more likely to spook.

What I normally do is remind them that riding a horse does have dangers, and their fear is their mind’s way of telling them. They are usually insistent that they are aware of the dangers and that despite that they still want to take the “normal” risk of riding, and lose the fear.

The resolution involves extensive analysis, changing the rider’s perspective on the experience and to show the horse that it is trusted. In addition there is a process to retrain the horse to trust himself and the rider. It usually takes one or two consultations. Consulation time would usually be between 1 and 3 hours.