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Ride Where You Can...

...Many fearful riders resent the idea of staying in a safe place when they really want to learn to ride the trails or gallop cross country.  They may still feel the pressure to "just do it" or "cowboy up" and open the gate too soon in the process.  This is understandable.  Surely you can not get over your fear of trail riding by walking along a round pen.  Or Can you?

...But Imagine Riding Where You Can't

Using visualization, it is possible to begin creating new fear-free memories of riding where you can't.  You can ride in a pasture, you can ride at the National Finals Rodeo, and you can ride on the side of a cliff or in the desert, or at the Olympics.  Just use visualization. 

Extinguishing fear requires the rider to accumulate many fear-free memories to replace the old, negative memories, and the best way to begin this process is to use visualization under saddle.  The mind will accept these new visualized memories as valid replacements of the old fearful ones, so when the time comes to open the gate and ride outside the round pen, you will have already done it hundreds of times in your mind (Daley and Becton, 70-71).

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