Podcast: Nerves in Horses and People

Podcast: Nerves in Horses and People

Hi, it’s Barb.

I was thinking about this challenge of ‘nerves’ that’s a tough one.

And if you think you’re the only one, believe me, you’re not. It’s a challenge most of us have.

And I was thinking about it in the context of our horses. They get nervous, too.

I thought it would be fun to see the similarities… and the differences… between our horse’s nerves and ours, one solution that works for both, and who’s ultimately in charge of getting the situation back in the calmness column.

So, imagine you’re at a show or a clinic, or someplace away from home.

You pull up to feed, and your horse is pacing about in the stall. He’s worked up. He nickers with his head up.

But when he sees you, he feels comforted… and the hay and grain take his mind off of whatever was bugging him, too.

Fast forward to saddling time. He’s still fidgety and super distracted. He’s kind of a pain to saddle, really.

Now you’re in the warm-up arena. He is looking around like crazy. It feels like his feet are three feet off the ground.

You get the picture.

And on top of that, you were nervous and excited to begin with… just being there.

So now both of you are in the same boat. Somehow that doesn’t feel like the ideal situation!

Now, I want to step back for a moment and talk about the reasons why horses get nervous, and the reasons why people get nervous.

Horses typically fret about something that scared them in the recent past, like a loud bang that came from nowhere. Or, they fret about the present. Examples of that would be separation from their buddy or blowing flags in an arena or the wind. Obviously, those are just a few possible reasons.

So, their anxiety is about a not too distant past or the present.

By contrast, we humans get nervous because of our thoughts about the future. Will I ride well? Is my horse good enough to be here? Am I a good enough rider to be here? What if I make a fool of myself? I don’t feel ready… and on. What if I forget the pattern? What does so and so think of me?

So the horse’s anxiety is typically about something in the present. The rider is in the future and a projection of a poor outcome.

I have a solution for both you and your horse.

Bring your attention and your horse’s attention back to the present moment in ways that consciously relax both of you.

And here’s the key. It begins with us, the rider because we have to be in a calm state to bring our horse back to that place.

We are the leader. Without our calm and clear guidance, the horse has no way to bring his focus back. Plus, if we don’t get grounded, we will only escalate our horse’s anxiety. That’s no good.

How do you bring your attention and your horse’s attention back to the moment in ways that relax you?

First of all, that’s planned and practiced at home before you get to your event, so you have a game plan for how to handle it.

It’s not that you’re sure you’ll be nervous or your horse will lose it, but just in case you’ve got it covered.

Some ideas for you would be rhythmic breathing and a planned repetitive script spoken as a mantra, like, “Stay cool, Barb. Stay cool.” Notice that both the breathing and speaking to yourself are in a rhythm.

What would a plan for your horse look like?

Well, of course, that depends but walking in small circles with flexing, or some rhythmic exercise, like alternating changes in the speed of gaits are a couple of ideas.

Of course, in this podcast, I’m just brushing over the top of the surface of ideas.

But a key takeaway is for you to practice relaxation exercises for both you and your horse at home so you can use them in situations away from home.

And the most important idea of all is for you to practice ways to calm yourself, that really works because your horse needs you.

That’s what I have for you today.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Know you’re the best. Leave a comment—Bye-bye for now.

5 Tips for Making the Cut

5 Tips for Making the Cut

In this video, I discuss five essentials of good herd work and show examples of:

  • Driving forward for the cut

  • Pausing and then moving across the pen with the flow of cattle

  • Using the cow-side leg during the cut

  • Keeping your horse on his haunches as you make the cut

  • Transitioning down to a deeper seat after the cut and when you start working the cow

  • Lowering your heart rate and planning between cattle and before re-entering the herd

I love hearing your thoughts. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Speaking Cow Lingo

Speaking Cow Lingo

I clipped a piece of video for you from my “Cow Characteristics” video in my Cow Class II Program. In this segment, I talk about ‘speaking cow lingo’.

Podcast: Nerves in Horses and People

Podcast: How To Be Extraordinary

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been observing riders who are absolutely killing it… recreational riders, teachers, coaches, and competitive riders.

I’ve observed 3 things in all of them make them stand out, and inspire me.

I hope becoming more clear about these 3 attributes inspires you, too.

And the best news is, all three are yours for the taking! You have to do them for yourself consistently.


Hello, my friends.

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for podcasts, so here you go.

The quest for learning and excelling… and being happy… and helping our horses… and providing well for their happiness… can be fun… and exasperating all at the same time!

And believe me, I’m right in there with you digging deep for these things in my own life in general, and with my horse.

I’ve always been fascinated with the human, horse, and human/horse potential together. It drives my passions.

It’s exciting for me to uncover even the simplest of ideas or tools that we absolutely CAN DO that open up wonderful doors for us. Of course, when we work on ourselves, it immediately helps our relationship with our horse.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been observing riders who are absolutely killing it… recreational riders, teachers, coaches, and competitive riders.

I’ve observed 3 things in all of them make them stand out… and inspire me.

I hope becoming more clear about these 3 attributes inspires you, too.

And the best news is, all three are yours for the taking! You have to do them for yourself consistently.

#1. They have a drive for excellence for its own sake, not for recognition from the outside world.

They have tremendous personal passion for what they do.

These riders LOVE their job with a horse, whether it’s showing, teaching, or training. And they want to be fabulous at it so they can experience the excellence of it for themselves.

Just the excitement of getting out there, doing it, and seeing how good they can get thrills them.

They see standards set by others as inspiration and something to strive for… and maybe even exceed… but it’s not about beating others. It’s to see what’s possible for themselves.

They’re immersed in their own job with their own horse.

Every day is an adventure and an opportunity to learn and excel.

#2. They have the ability to focus on the process and not the results.

They’re all about the horse and the truths about communicating with a horse.

How does a horse understand?

How can I read my horse better?

How can I do better to build their confidence and show them what I want?

These riders love learning and measure everything as compared to themselves and how they’re doing with their horse… not to other people and their horses.

#3. They never give up.

And while these riders absolutely DO have their vulnerable moments, they have learned that their journey is an awesome one.

There is nothing innately lacking in them.

They have learned that HOPE is a verb, not a noun. They will find a way around or through a challenge. In fact, sometimes, the harder it gets, the more they love the challenge.

Challenges and setbacks are to be expected in their eyes.

In fact, problems are their greatest sources of insight about exactly where they should improve, which brings us back around full-circle to the love of excellence for its own sake and focusing on the process, not the results.

What’s interesting is that sometimes their extraordinary success is almost a surprise because they’ve been so consumed by what they’re doing!

So here’s a path to adopting these three characteristics for yourself.

Tap in first and foremost to your own heart.

Make sure you love what you’re doing for its own sake. If you don’t, change it.

Keep reaching one step at a time because you love what you do so much that you can’t wait to learn and do it more.

Know that you’re always enough. Your personal worth is not measured by how you ride a horse!

Your journey is your greatest source of joy for you!

Most of all, have a blast.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think!