From Endurance to Dressage
Yesterday, while driving to work, I heard something on a podcast that resonated really strongly with me. The speaker - forgive me as I didn't catch his name, said that there are three main types of fear:
I know that all three types of fear are something I struggle with, but fortunately, my fear of failure isn't that strong. I don't like looking inept, but it doesn't stop me from trying. A real fear of failure, according to the interviewee, will prevent one from even trying. The fear can be so overwhelming that a person would rather not even try rather risk failing. That would be very frustrating.
Fear of success is also something that hovers around my peripheral vision. I didn't know it was there until I earned my USDF Bronze Medal. When I heard that I had earned my final score, I burst into tears of relief. Within a half an hour though, I became anxious. I didn't even take an hour to celebrate my success. Earning that medal made me feel as though things had just gotten real. As a medalist, I felt that there was an expectation to continue succeeding, and I worried that I wouldn't be able to do any better. I still worry about that. The fear doesn't stop me from trying, but for some people, being a one hit wonder is terrifying.
The third fear, fear of judgement, does color my thinking. I wish that it didn't, but if I am being truly honest, it does. I very much worry about what people think. I do what I am going to do despite rail birds or critics, but negative feedback hurts. That makes me wonder if writing in this space has been my subconscious's way of forcing me to confront that fear. Because really, who would deliberately share their opinions, failures, and innermost thoughts in such a public way if she didn't seek out judgement? Me, apparently.
The speaker pointed out, specifically in reference to fear of judgement, that it is important to be one's authentic self because we can't please our critics. They don't like us anyway, and they don't want to like us. So why waste time worrying about appeasing their sensibilities?
Which brings me to the interviewee's suggestion for dealing with fear. First, he said, make a list of every single fear you have. Then, work hard to check them off. Confront the fear, take steps to eradicate it, and then, once overcome, strike it off the list. With enough work, we can all become fear-less. We all know it's not that easy, but it is certainly something worth doing. So, here I am confronting my fear of judgement.
I am an awkward rider who loses her balance frequently. I am tight through my elbows and struggle with following my horse's movement. My sitting trot is more about bouncing than sitting. And sometimes, I am afraid of losing my seat and hitting the ground. Speedy made things look easy, Izzy makes me look like the rider I am. Despite all of these marks against me, I am still going to be my authentic self because those who judge me harshly, don't like me anyway, so why should I care?
Face you fear, cross it off your list, become fear-less.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: