When you feel anxious…

One thing we all experience from time-to-time is fear, or anxiety, or just a feeling of being over-excited.

When that happens when we ride, because of the connection of the mind, body, and emotion, that feeling on the inside causes a reaction in our body.

What to do when that happens is what this video is all about.


One thing I know that all experience is fear, or anxiety, or just a feeling of being over-excited.

When that happens when we ride, because of the connection of the mind, body, and emotion, that feeling on the inside causes a reaction in our body.

One of those reactions is that we tend to lean forward. Our jaws get tight, our shoulders get tight and our heals come up. That anxious reaction impacts your balance in a negative way.

The goal is to get balanced again… to get grounded and be able to think clearly and respond in a calm way.

Sometimes coaches tell you to ‘put your shoulders back’. Now, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with that suggestion, but I have a more thorough strategy for you. It’s what you can do when you begin to feel that anxious feeling:

  • Notice you are feeling over-excited in some way. Do not judge yourself. Just notice.
  • Sit back.
  • Take a deep breath and fill up your lower back and core.
  • Exhale into your core, down into your horse and through your legs. This naturally puts your body back in an aligned position.
  • Make your arms and your elbows heavy.
  • Pretend like your arms and legs are on hinges.

Now, your body is loose. You are anchored in your seat and you can move with your horse. Your emotions are calm. This is unlike the stiff, leaning forward, body all in one piece position associated with nerves or just getting too excited.

I hope this is helpful to you. Let me know what you think in the comments.

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13 Comments on When you feel anxious…

  1. Marcia Trujillo on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 1:17 pm
  2. Get settled in the saddle before walking off, breathe, and think of my arms and legs on hinges…I’ve been practicing your suggestions and they have cultivated harmony with my horse and me. Thank you.

  3. Cyndi Guinn on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 2:13 pm
  4. Great tip—I never understood “shoulders back” but this makes perfect sense.

  5. Cindi Whiten on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 2:49 pm
  6. It is wonderful how God provides the answer just at the right time! I was trying a new saddle with one of the ladies at my barn while a clinic was going on in the indoor arena. I felt immediately exposed and more afraid than I ever have before while riding; worse, my horse wasn’t listening to me at all. I immediately shut down and panicked. One of the clinic helpers instantly saw my distress and helped me get my horse to the mounting block so I could get off. I was really shook. How do I get past this feeling of total fear and failure?

  7. Teresa Samuels on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 3:29 pm
  8. Thank you for that wonderful reminder and will apply in all fields of a never ending developmental journey.
    Your advice is well received.

  9. Linda van den Bosch on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 4:24 pm
  10. Oh I did this yesterday!! Barb told me this on my video and I’ve been using it a lot. My fear doesn’t disappear but it helps me to get focused again and remind myself to be the leader in the partnership.. excellent!!

  11. Takamitsu Honjo on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 4:59 pm
  12. Hi-Barb,
     Thanks for useful advices up to this moment.
    I’ve understood the relation between Body,Mind &Emotion,which means that
    anxiety or unstable feeling influences the body actions.
    Then, I have a question for that mechanism.
    If the body posture or alignment is not good enough (although there is no fear), such as shoulder-forward or heels-up, are those body condition happen to cause the bad mental condition?
    Because I sometimes get instruction to make adjustment for forward-shoulder or heels-up.
    Please advice.

  13. Claire on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 9:38 pm
  14. Snigger-and I also remind myself…CLAIRE! She only has to go 1/4 mile at a blow out if necessary and she’ll calm down again! 🙂
    Great tip Barb!

  15. Carol MacGregor on Sun, 30th Aug 2020 11:37 pm
  16. Hi Barb, I do love to hear you talk as you are always calm and speak distinctly! I tried this while sitting in my chair, listening to your instructions. It’s easy while I’m here—now I need to try it while riding my horse!!! 🙂 Thank you–makes a lot of sense!!

  17. Pam medley on Mon, 31st Aug 2020 9:21 am
  18. I really enjoy these videos and the helpful advice.

  19. Carol MacGregor on Mon, 31st Aug 2020 10:50 am
  20. Hi Barb, I really like your cutting saddle. Are you ok with telling us what brand of saddle you are riding? I like that it has saddle strings as a lot of cutting saddles do not have them. Thank you!

  21. Barbra Schulte on Mon, 31st Aug 2020 11:01 am
  22. Hi, Takamitsu,

    You have a great question. The mind/body/emotion connection is always consistent in that when aligned well, they help each other.

    If your instructor says ‘shoulders forward’ perhaps that would be good for proper alignment if your shoulders are too far back.

    Without seeing you ride, I would say to go for soft and correct alignment.

    I hope that helps, Barb

  23. Barbra Schulte on Mon, 31st Aug 2020 11:04 am
  24. Cindi,

    In this venue, here is a succinct answer that I hope helps. First, you did the right thing by getting off if you were so frightened. But I would not call that a failure… only because you did what you had to do.

    Secondly, I think for another time to be sure and do something new in a more quiet environment if possible so you don’t feel distracted.

    Thirdly, I am going to do a new free workshop coming up that I think will really help you. Be sure to stay turned for that. That workshop will have my best suggestions for you in more depth than I can provide here.

  25. Barbra Schulte on Mon, 31st Aug 2020 11:06 am
  26. Carol,

    Thank you for the question. That saddle is a Sean Ryon. Yes, I like it. I also like Roohides, too… and you can get them with strings.

    Take care, (-:

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