Fear. Everyone fears something.
Every rider has some little thing that scares the livin’ bejaysus out of them. The sound of the jump cups tinging as your instructor puts them up a hole, sharing a lesson with the some one who appears to be absolutely flawless with an amaze-balls horse, or the pre-competition nerves leaving you looking for the nearest port-a-loo.
Sometimes the hardest thing about fear is finding some one who can relate or understand it. Fear does not discriminate. It effects everyone in some shape or form and what seems like a perfectly rational fear to one person is perceived as completely irrational by the next.
That’s why fear is so isolating and debilitating. We feel like we’re the only ones experiencing it.
Well have no fear, Catherine is here… Sorry, that was a terrible pun, I know but, I do know a little something about fear, both from a personal level and from the riders I coach. I’m not just going to talk about the fear in this post. This post is really about determination, the determination that over comes fear.
While doing a little research into this topic I stumbled upon a quote from Tommy Lasorda, “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination,” or a woman’s determination, Tommy!
What really sets successful people apart from the rest is their determination. Everyone has heard the expression “feel the fear and do it anyway,” right? Well that’s what determination is all about. It’s doing what needs to be done to achieve your goals even when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s digging deep and having that conversation with yourself to step out of your comfort zone.
That’s easier said than done, I know. Your body, just like our equine partners, goes into flight or flight mode. When challenged to face your biggest fear your heart starts thumping out of your chest, the color drains from your face and you know it’s easier to bury your head in the arena sand and proclaim “Not today, Instruct-Tore, Not TOOODAY.”
Well, that’s how I felt, at least! After a 2 year break from competing, my biggest fear became showjumping. I had a few falls and I allowed the perceived technicality of showjumping to get the better of me. Just when I was ready to give up and take up a full time dressage career something inside said “no, that doesn’t feel right,” because deep down, I still wanted to jump.
That little voice was the voice of determination.
So I made a decision. I decided to try at the very least, and instead of going with a flight response, I would fight. I accepted that I will make mistakes and that I will probably fall off, but if I didn’t at least try I would only have regrets.
What did I learn? I learned that by acknowledging the fact that I would probably get face-planted into the butt of a fence was actually liberating in a way, as it took away the fear of making mistakes and the fear of embarrassment. In doing so, owning my fear only allowed determination to flourish, and that is a win in itself.
So friends, the only way to move forward is to acknowledge the unpleasantness of fear and actively face it. It is the only way to move forward. It doesn’t matter whether it’s horse related or life related, we all have a decision to make:
Forget Everything And Run
Face Everything And Rise
You’ve worked too hard to get this far and run, so find that little bit of determination inside you and rise.