I say to my students that they have to bring their Warrior Spirit in with them as our horses are from a Warrior Society and to enter that society, we must be confident, brave, strong which means, learning to control our fear.

A lot of my students (mostly women) think they don’t have a Warrior Spirit which always amazes me as most of them have had children. Most have been thrown off their horses more than once. Some have been dragged but they persevere and keep getting back on. Sure we would all get sick of being hurt. I guess that is what brings us all together. There has to be a better way. These people have a Warrior Spirit which doesn’t mean they are villains and into destruction. It means they won’t let fear run their lives. That they will stand up for what is good and right. Knowing they may be knocked down, however, they will always try to improve themselves to find a better way.

It is easy to do nothing. It takes courage to move forward into the unknown.

A student came to me once. A beautiful lady with two beautiful daughters aged 11 and 15, both great riders. The lady went through an experience that’s in the back of our minds, and something we all dread.

She was on her farm way out of town in a big paddock, she was bucked off and dragged some way along then released, left all alone with broken bones, battered and bruised lying under the blue sky, In the sun and the wind. Then she had a long slow journey back to the house to call for an ambulance.

More than a year later, this lady called me to ask if I could help her with her horse, the one who bucked her off. This was the same horse that had also bucked her daughter off.

They brought the horse to me and I put the horse through the training program. I really liked the horse it had spirit, however, I had no trouble with it at all.

A couple of weeks later, the girls came back to see their horse who was working great. I put the young girls on Dash my horse to show them the training method and the new way of riding their own horse. We were in an 18m round yard with rubber on the walls with 6 inches of soft sand; a safe environment.

A short time later, I transferred the young girls to their own horse. “Okay, Mum, your turn to hop on Dash I said (who was bridled and saddled). ”Me?” she said. “Yes, come on Mum. You can do it” said the girls. “I don’t know if I can” said their Mum. “Yes you can. Dash is beautiful” they said. “Come on Mum. You can do it” pleaded the girls. “Okay, I will give it a try” Mum said.

I grabbed the 12ft lead rope and connected it to Dash’s bridle, I watched her face as she put her helmet on, bravely, struggled to contain her fear. She stepped up to me, standing at the wither. She rested her head against the saddle, “I don’t know if I can do this Shane” she said, “I have the lead rope on Dash he will not hurt you. My job is to protect you, and to look after you. I promise you, you will not be hurt” I said. She lifted her foot. Into the stirrup, shaking. She dropped her foot back to the ground, shoulders quivering, crying, hiding her face.

I put my arm around her shoulders, holding her lightly. I said “I am here to help you overcome your fear. You want it so badly. You can do it, Trust me” I felt her raise her shoulders, gathering herself. I let her go. She lifted her foot into the stirrup and swung up into the saddle.

“Yeah Mum” yelled the girls she sat quietly for awhile gathering herself. We waited. “Okay” I said “we will leave the lead rope on, I’ll show you how the method works and when you are ready we’ll take the lead rope off” ten minutes later she was cruising around with her daughters, lots of big smiles. Still a long way to go but after a few lessons riding Dash, her confidence and skill levels were raised.

Now, that is a Warrior Spirit.

I know how this lady felt. It happened to me once. Not dragged, but seriously bucked off. Afterwards, every time I put my foot in the stirrup, my legs began to shake. This can’t be happening, I’m a tough man. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop the shaking, bad things can happen when trying to mount a green horse or any horse that matter .

**We can’t just wish fear away. We have to form a strategy and work on it**

We can’t tell people to overcome their fear, and that it is stupid to have a fear.

It is crazy to tell someone to get back on after a fall off if they don’t know how to create change.

It is necessary to know how to create change before getting back on.

I am glad I got bucked off in order to know this:

Empathy – knowing how someone thinks and feels is important assisting us in how to communicate and how to create change.

That is how I recognised Dash & Rebel as the missing link. Helping my students to overcome their fears to raise their skill levels, and to have a taste of a dream come true!

I hope this helps you understand that in order to face your fears we must firstly have a method and strategy to create change, to help us be safe and stay in control.

If you need more information or you would like to see some of my training video, they are available on my Vimeo channel there you can buy or rent them, I can show you my training method for as little as a cup of coffee.

I wish you all happy and safe riding, Shane

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