Regardless of the cause, my approach to dealing with the anxiety is to have a clear, straightforward (and hopefully very achievable) goal for the evening. Focus is key for me to feel empowered rather than overwhelmed. My goal is to have a good time, and to do my best to ensure Spirit has a good time too. I hope to achieve this by:
- Being calm and relaxed. No matter what. On the ground and on her back.
- Lots of treats and praise. For Spirit. No treats for me - I've got a white dress to fit in to!
- Have my "mental reset button" charged and ready. If I get frustrated or emotional or negative in any way, I need to take a deep breath, unclench my muscles, and mentally reset.
- Smell the figurative roses. Actively remind myself that I'm there to have fun, and that riding is inherently fun, and that Spirit is a fun horse. Fun fun fun. Fun > anxiety.
I've been reading more of Riding Logic - I'll post about that soon - but one quick point that stuck out to me yesterday is that the horse has to be relaxed before it can be willing. And the horse has to be willing before it can learn. Therefore let me add:
5. Try to get Spirit relaxed and willing.
Send warm thoughts to us around 6:45 PCT this evening. Hope everyone has a fun evening.