When dealing with fear one of the first things to address is safe, reliable tack and equipment. It is true you can use just about anything to work with a horse, but if you are working with frayed, cracked or ill-fitting tack and equipment you will not feel confident in your ability to work with, train or ride your horse. You must have the confidence that when you put that saddle on the cinch is not going to break, and it is important to know the lead rope attached to your horse will hold when you need it to. Do not continue to use ill-fitting tack, or equipment and this includes your own clothes and attire.
Texture and feel have a lot to do with confidence as well. You can have the most popular reins in your field or disciple, but if you do not like the feel or texture they can disrupt your security and steal the joy out of an otherwise good ride. You do not always have to go out and purchase new equipment to remedy the situation. Simply adding drops of glue, tape or paint to your brushes, reins, etc. can take an ordinary item and make it feel completely different in your hands. Gloves are another option: adding them, or removing them if you wear them all the time, can totally change your feel and timing.
Riding Fear Free recommends that while working through fear issues you find the tack and equipment that is the most reliable, safe and comfortable for YOU and your horse. If that means you get boat rope reins for your dressage horse, then do it. Once confidence has been rebuilt you can go back to the traditional tack. While working through fear you need to remove nagging doubts in the back of your mind that may trigger fear or serve as a reminder of an accident. Sometimes a simple change of tack or equipment is a catalyst to changing the narrative of your particular story. This will help you on the journey to riding fear free.
Laura Daley is a professional No Limits Horsemanship certified horse trainer and registered Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) riding instructor. Laura’s specialty is helping fearful riders. Using techniques she has developed over her lifetime of teaching, she has helped hundreds of people become fear free. Read more about it in Riding Fear Free: Help for Fearful Riders and Their Teachers available on Amazon UK, BN, and other major online retailers. Or check out the RFF website at www.ridingfearfree.com, Riding Fear Free Facebook, or Twitter Feed