This is another story from my younger days with horses, a particular horse named Victor. Arab X haflinger 6 year old daple gray gelding. Showed me the power of thoughts and believes. And If living backwards everything can be understood, this horse also gave me some keys. Although I was never aware of this at the time.
At the time I rode him I thought he teached me how to fall. My nice was teaching me riding on him, and every time she went to the house at the end of the lesson to make a cup of tea for us. I stayed on Victor for a free walk to cool him down. I remember my mind was always wondering around. And Victor had the habit of doing a spook at a particular place in the paddock, there was a ditch with frogs on one short side. Time after time he managed to suddenly turn there and I was always landing softly in the sand. Telling myself next time to watch out better and stay on. Ofcourse I did not know anything about positive reinforcement or learning theory, so I trained Victor to dump me of.
And I started to form a believe that I would fall, but I had no problem with that, believing also It would not hurt.
On my first trail ride, on the way home, when we walked the horses on a long rein. Two riders came galloping past us. Victor and Pizanda (my nice her horse who was prone to bolting) Were triggered to gallop with the other horses. Nobody told me to stand in the stirrups on a galloping horse. I remembered I tried to keep my behind in the saddle. That seemed impossible, and having a habit of falling of, I gave up. We were storming up to a ditch with water. My thought was better to fall of and stay dry. Then falling of and going home in wet clothing.
I did not realize that I formed a firm believe, that I cannot stay seated on a bolting horse.
I just thought falling or jumping off was a great tool to have and kept me safe.
I was not afraid of falling because of my positive experiences, that believe gave me something good in return: ‘it is that confidence feeling horses react to positively’ This results in confidence in horses. This was helpfull training horses for riding later in my life, I know by experience that it works this way.
So it brought me good things (this believe) I had confidence trusting I would not get hurt, AND it made me bite the dust with more horses in my future.
On a beautifull sunny winter day , I made a salto with a race horse galloping on the beach. Galloping fast, I was feeling the wind in my face, next moment the world rotated. The horse stepped in a hole and flipped over his neck followed by her body because of the high-speed. It happened in a split second. Suddenly me and the horse were crawling up on the hard sand. I was fine and my horse as well. A little shaky and fully covered in sand I mounted her and we walked back to the truck. At the time I again was convinced that falling was inherent, but I had absolute no fear at the time it happened. ( while much later this event added more fear when fear started to play a role in my life )
The fear with horseriding came knocking my door at older age. Because of my old habits and believes. I became co creator of new circumstances, based on experiences of the past. And I began to become aware of this paterns, that gave me the challenge resolving things at the core.
Let the horse be with you!