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What do you do when you get scared?

Think about it for a moment… do your shoulders tighten, your hands sweat, maybe you feel a bit nauseous…

Your horse spooks and in a moment the two of you can go from relaxed and happy to anxious and tense. Why? What is the body doing in these moments?

The more we understand ourselves, and our reactions, the more likely we are to be able to shift those reactions. To halt a cascade of emotion – for ourselves and for our horses.

In this new video, I talk about the nervous system, and how it affects all we perceive.

If you enjoyed this video and want to learn more, check out Calm & Confident Rider, my 30 day program to understand your fear and ride with confidence.

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8 Responses

  1. My younger horse tends to freeze when he’s really frightened. I have had success with “take one step.” You don’t want to just say “move!” because you will likely get an explosion. Once we were hacking out and the cows that had been across their pasture were suddenly right at the fence. Lark froze, dragon-snorted, heart pounding…I was never so frightened. If he exploded I was going to be on pavement or through a fence. “Take one step,” I said, with a very quiet aid. “One more ,” and so on. Thank God, what we had practiced in other situations paid off! It let him un-freeze slowly, avoiding the explosion on the way down.

    1. Love it. I used to just sit back with the horse and go with him. Sometimes I would smile and giggle. I don’t know what happened but now I freeze, curl forward. It maybe the falls I have had but seem to have lost that ability to stay supple.

  2. Really enjoyed this video. Here in Michigan, we are riding indoors and it is always a challenge on windy days or if the sun shines and snow falls off the roof. Callie’s insight has given me a new sense of being responsible for helping my horse relax after a spook.

  3. This video is well timed! The horse I share has just been moved to a new facility. The arena walls do not allow the horse to see very far outside, and unfortunately there are lots of unfamiliar neighborhood sounds (traffic, a school playground next door, industrial/construction noise), and our horse has been uncharacteristically spooky. He is getting better, but it has been a slow process.

  4. I love your videos Callie! Also bought Stay in the Saddle and it is just great. Thanks for your wonderful insight.

  5. I love your videos!! I live in South Spain. We were country cross. My horse got scared by watching an abandoned sofa behind some bushes and suddenly turned round. I made him stay calm by talking to him, and slowly and step by step we aproached the sofa. He never more got scared of it.

  6. I have a moment when my horse calmed me. We were riding on a mountain with my dog and came around a corner to find my dog playing chase me chase you with a adolescent black bear. I called the dog to me and then the bear turned and looked at me and started running toward me and my horse. I tried waving my arms and yelling but the bear just came coming. It was too late to run and I thought we were all goners. Just as the bear reached my horse, my horse put his foot on top of the bear’s head. It wasn’t a strike out my like just to say “hold on there little buddy”. The bear ran off. Hyway got a little extra on his paycheck that night.

  7. After your video I can understand what happened here: I rode to a neighbors barn to do chores for them and tied my horse where he could watch me and their horses. He stayed still but was very tense. Before riding home I led him away from their herd and lunged him a bit. He bucked and snorted and then relaxed and we rode home calmly.

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