Courage Is Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up Anyway!

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Hi Super Riders!

I trust you are enjoying the warmer weather and getting excited for Daylight Savings coming back at the start of this month!

This month I want to discuss the quote

‘Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.’

To me this is the essence of overcoming fear and achieving the success you want as a rider and in life.

You don’t overcome fear. You manage it. People come to me with fear and ask me to remove it – and I say why? Fear is not a bad thing! Fear is just a marker, a signpost to tell you, that you are doing something outside of your comfort zone. Why would I remove something so powerful?

What I will do, is change your relationship with fear. So you love it, and use it as your sign to take action, not paralyse you into inaction. People say to me they will do something when the fear goes away. BUT the only way to make the fear go away is to DO IT!

This was brought to my attention even more so this week. I had imported a new 3 year old horse from Germany and she had finally arrived this week. I didn’t know the horse very well as I had only ridden her twice in Europe 3 months ago. She had been locked in quarantine for 6 weeks so had a bit of time off, and she had only been broken in a month before I had purchased her.

I wanted to ride her the next day after she arrived and it was windy. Really windy. So new place, new rider, wind, 6 weeks off, young horse. I felt fear. Of course I did! My instinct was that this was a new situation, that I couldn’t guarantee my safety in, so of course the fear response kicked in. BUT the difference is – I knew I HAD to ride that day. And I rode. And she was amazing. So not only did I get rewarded with a nice ride, I also received the knowledge she would be fine at a new environment she doesn’t know – as in a new competition venue, and if it happened to be awful weather with gale-force wind and rain, I would be fine and can focus on doing our best in the arena.

I wouldn’t have had all those great rewards if I had let fear win. Fear wants to keep us small, fear wants to keep us safe, but we don’t achieve in that safe comfort zone. We don’t get the big rewards when we try and play safe.

The only way to get your goals and achieve success is to face fear and do the thing that scares us. That is why the quote is so powerful. It teaches you to expect some kind of feeling or emotion when you go to do something, but that doesn’t mean you stop. It means you go. I always say fear is my green light to go. Fear is my body telling me this is the next step I have to take.

Now of course you need to be sensible. You shouldn’t get on crazy horses that have a proven record of hurting you, you should take all the precautions you can to ensure your safety, but then you do need to saddle up, take action and go and get your goals.

I understand it isn’t as easy as just saying as Nike says – “Just do it”. Our brains and especially our unconscious mind can be tricky, as its number one job at all times is to preserve life at all costs. This is where you really need to get to the reality of the situation and determine if there is an actual threat. Then secondly work out ‘how’ you do fear and manipulate the pictures you show yourself, the words you tell yourself and the strategies you employ.

Strategies are really important when you are playing with fear. I always find people that are allowing fear to take over have a different strategy when riding compared to the one they use when they believe everything is OK. So of course… If you do something different you will get a different result. The key is to make sure you use the strategy that works so you can overcome your fear and get the goals you want.

To Your Success,


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