What is on the Other Side of Fear?

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  This is a quote I read last week. It got me thinking. I was heading to a competition  and I decided it would be worthwhile to examine what “fear” meant to me. What were the sources of “fear” for me?

Physical fear?  No. Despite the basic fact that riding a horse has inherent dangers I do not have any fear of getting thrown or injured while riding Biasini.

Fear of failure?  Was I fearful that I would fail at the upcoming competition?  No. I already knew that the other riders in my class were all professionals so even if I came last I would not see it as “failure”.   I might not get a good score but that is not “failure” in my books.

Fear of letting people down?  Ah! This is a fear for me. I do not want to let down my coach Belinda Trussell, or her assistant Lynsey Rowan, or my husband David who is always there to support at shows. Belinda tops this list as she puts so much energy, effort and patience into teaching an older rider who is not so quick to pick up new muscle memories.  If I do not ride well I let her down. So yes, that is a fear.

Fear of the ‘black hole’ of negativity.  Yes.  More of that later.

Having identified  my “fears” I went to the show on Thursday and was in the competition  on Friday and Saturday. How did it go?

Friday I was competing in an FEI (International Equestrian Federation) Test of Choice. This means you can choose any test at the FEI level . I would be riding the FEI Intermediare 1 test but other riders might be riding that test or another test at the FEI level. In the warm up I knew it was going to be a very tough ride. If you follow this blog you will already know Biasini can get into his ‘show horse’ mode and morph into  the Brigadier General Bully..  Usually the Brigadier Bully does not manifest himself until we are in the competition ring but on Friday he arrived in the warm up. Belinda was coaching me, reminding me of what to do. I would get it, then loose it a few strides later. This photo may look like all is well, but to those who know, this is the Brigadier Bully.

BBWrmUp1

We went into the competition ring and rode through the test. There were not any hideous mistakes but overall it was a dreadful struggle. The judge was a 5* judge and she was very fair in her marking of my test. I got 4s for the things that were really poor and 7s for all of the movements that were good. The overall score was a 60.735% I considered that to be good for that ride. Her final comment was: “Super horse. Needs consistency and more assistance balancing.”  Such a good comment. Spot on!

I was feeling quite despondent as I rode out of the ring. Later I had a talk with Belinda and we decided that for riding in the ring, I needed to recognize, in a split second, what needed to be done. Saturday Belinda would not be there to warm me up as she had an important family engagement. But her assistant Lynsey Rowan would be there to help me. We decided that even with Lynsey there I should plan and execute my own warm up and feel what I needed to do.

At home that night I fell into the ‘black hole’; the whole panoply of “I’m too old for this”, “I’m not a good enough rider”, “Biasini is too good a horse for a rider like me”, “Maybe I should take up lawn bowling,”.  However, in my life,  I have never quit . I didn’t think I should start now.

I got up on Saturday morning, went to the show and prepared to ride my test. In the warm up I knew I had a different horse that day.  Biasini was still wanting to be tough but he was also electric!  He was spooking at the horses and trailers, who were shipping in for the show, in the field next to the warm up ring.  He made me laugh. I knew if I had this sparky, sassy horse I had a better response to my leg aids. In our warm up I soon found I needed  only tiny leg aids to produce a big response and although I was riding my own warm up Lynsey was at the side of the ring and gave me some important pointers.

We went in and rode the test. I chose to be conservative as I felt the most important thing was to keep him up and in front of my aids. If I went for his  full level of expression  in  his “electric” mode, I might loose the connection and he would take over.  We had a couple of mistakes; an unfortunate mistake in the two tempis (flying change of leg every second stride) and I placed the pirouette to the right off the centerline.  But overall I was waaaaay happier than I had been the day before.

We scored a 65.441% and the comment from the judge was “Good ride. Think more uphill”.  Again another  good comment. I know I must think more uphill to produce a better frame from Biasini. But for me personally it was a triumph to have overcome all my negative thoughts….my fears… and achieve a good result.

If you follow this blog you will know my daughter Breanne got married last weekend at our house. She and her husband Tom went on honeymoon and their blended family of Toms’s two girls and Breanne’s four year old boy stayed with Tom’s parents, Craig and Theresa.  I am so grateful to them for taking care of those little energy burners as I could not have focused on a horse show if I had been looking  after them.  I was however delighted  they could come to the show to watch on Saturday. It was the first horse show they have ever been to. The youngest little girl is clearly a horse lover. She spent more than ten minutes outside Biasini’s stall patting him. If you know Biasini you will know he is not a cuddly horse and usually bats his head around or threatens to nip. But with this youngster he just stood quietly and allowed the patting to continue.

rcraaugust-

Thank you to Alexis Bradbury who, in addition to her grooming duties, was able to take some lovely photos of Biasini and me on the Friday.

Finally here is the video of my Saturday ride still lots to work on but I am happy with how it went.

42 Comments Add yours

  1. #Ringerisms says:

    I really enjoyed reading this summation of fear. My daughter is currently in gymnastics and she is really close to nailing her back tuck. I keep asking her…”Where does fear live?”… She rolls her 11 year old eyes at me and says…”In my head Dad. She may get frustrated with me but at least she knows the answer…😀. Very good insights. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. anne leueen says:

      That’s a good one. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      1. #Ringerisms says:

        You are quite welcome!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. da-AL says:

    ah, yes, fear my nemesis…

    “However, in my life, I have never quit . I didn’t think I should start now.” The antidote!

    Love, love, love this post — thanks for your candor, Anne ❤

    Like

    1. anne leueen says:

      You are most welcome Nicole. I, like you, have never quit. That is indeed the antidote!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. anne leueen says:

        I’m so sorry to call you Nicole. I just got a text from a Nicole and it stuck in my brain. I think it is time for me to go to bed!!

        Like

  3. CatMeena says:

    Well Done Anne! Lovely test, and I love how you identify your own triumphs. Never doubt that you should be doing this! You’re an inspiration.
    Funny how we’re both contemplating fear this week! I can totally relate to the fear of letting others down. I too find that I want to do well for my trainer because of the amount of time he puts into Giselle and I. But I try to keep the negative thoughts away by reminding myself that the trainer wouldn’t put the energy in if they didn’t think the rider was up to it! X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      That is a good point. I’ll remember that.

      Like

  4. Alli Farkas says:

    My unprofessional observation…in spite of being a some-time electric firecracker, Mr. Biasini is not all tense and wound up like some of those Grand Prix horses we see who violently swish their tails at every lead change or every piaffe step. He does look pretty relaxed and flowing, even though he probably doesn’t feel that way. I can see a couple of places where, as you mentioned in some previous blogs, you need to be on top of his movements and preparing him slightly before he gets there. But quickening your reaction time is a matter of practice, which I am sure you do assiduously! I would be terrified to be in even a low-level ring with professionals, but you are good enough to be where you are even if you do make me laugh (along with Emma) at your lawn bowling comment!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you Alli for taking the time to give me this detailed comment. I appreciate it. You are right Biasini is not nervous or tense. He has a tendency to get strong because that is just the way he is and at home I can make corrections or repeat a movement if necessary but in the show ring I must carry on. If I don;t stay on top of his pulling and getting strong with quick half halts and give take give then he gets the better of me he goes head down and onto the forehand and at the level we are at that spells trouble for every single movement. I will get quicker and better at it I just have to press on. And yes the threat of lawn bowling….. that is , in itself , a motivator!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done you should be so proud of yourself and your dance partner!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this nice comment. You know it is not always easy so I appreciate hearing from you!

      Like

      1. Oh I know it way to well!!
        Ah that’s so nice to hear.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post 🙂 breathe through fears and face them…that’s the way to overcome. Plus never give up :))

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      FEAR. Face Everything And Recover. I learned that one somewhere. Thanks for commenting Ray.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Emma Cownie says:

    I laughed out loud at “Maybe I should take up lawn bowling”! I don’t think so, Anne. Biasini is an intelligent chap and he knows a horse-lover!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Haha! I always threaten myself with lawn bowling because I see it outside the gym I go to. And yeah…that little girl is a horse person in the making. Biasini is always very good with little humans but this was something extra from him.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Your post about fear was very timely for me. I’ve thought about it a lot since my fall. Even after being injured my biggest fear is not being able to ride. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this comment. I understand your fear of not being able to ride. I broke my femur badly about 15 years ago in a horse related incident. When they told me at the hospital it was my femur and my pelvis was not broken the first thing I thought was: Good! I’ll still be able to ride it it’s just my leg.😀

      Liked by 2 people

  9. dprastka says:

    You are my hero Anne! Dressage is one of the hardest disciplines to ride and to accomplish what you do is so awesome. I totally understand the breakdown on your fear, such a lovely read, and touched my soul as I believe all of us horse show riders (even though it’s been many years ago for me) had or have a fear of letting down our trainers. They invest so much, but they also see reward as we try our best and we do improve as we practice and show. ❤️
    I may see if I can get back into some type of showing, not sure if my old horse can perform but I can see or try. You are so inspirational as I know how fit and in shape you must be, my core is soft and I’m out of shape! You must be so strong to be riding at this level! 😀 Just fantastic, you should be so proud of all that you accomplish. I’m so thankful I get to watch from afar, keep up the great work!! ❤️ -Diana

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you so much Diana for this comment. You took the time to cover several things in it. Competing does demand fitness and the more advanced the tests the more fit you need to be. But I am not a spring chicken so it can be done at even more advanced ages! The horse is the equalizer! I really appreciate your support and encouragement. Thank you!💕

      Liked by 1 person

  10. cagedunn says:

    Well done! One day soon, you’ll be able to take the bully energy and use it to make the strongest uphill of all, a powerful push through the test from the team.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you for this terrific comment! I aim to do just what you have descirbed!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Brilliant post Anne. Fear is such an important emotion, but as you say, vital to realise why the fear is there, and also not to let it stop us doing things we want to do. 🙂
    I’ve always had a fear of horse riding (even though I adore horses!) and have finally sent off the form to join a small group to give it a try. 🙂 I did try it when I was very little, but they just popped me on a little pony, so think I might be abit higher up this time. 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Good for you! If you are with the right group they will understand your nervousness and will give you the right horse and help you to gain confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Donna Zabukovec says:

    Lovely ride from someone else who wonders if she’s to old

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! I think we just have to keep on keeping on and not let the “old” get to entrenched in our heads.

      Like

  13. Cyranny says:

    Very interesting post, Anne! I think that fear is a useful feeling, that keeps us from running into situations that could turn ugly. But it is important, as you explain it here, to look our fear in the eyes, understand it, and not let it stop us. Fear should be a warning, not a reason not to do things 🙂 Have a great week!! xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Wise words. I think fear was given to us back in the days when our survival depended on it. It can be very useful as a warning to look twice but not to stop altogether.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cyranny says:

        I couldn’t agree more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Fear indeed is something that needs to be examined for every barrier we feel on our way. Fear of letting others down is so real often.
    It is a joy reading how your blended family comes together in support and celebration of each other.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you! I’m happy to know there were aspects of both fear and family that you enjoyed in the post.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, my pleasure 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Zoolon says:

    I like your concepts of reasons for fear. They apply to anything and everything. Neat.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. anne leueen says:

      Thank you. i often find that in the journey of riding and competing with a horse there are many things that apply to all of my life. I’m glad you found something in the post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Zoolon says:

        I just got to thinking philosophically from what you just said. The understandable human fear of things coupled with the constant/third party – the horse – has to be a poem/song in the making. Brilliant.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. anne leueen says:

          Ah….interesting! Yes the horse as third party is a real variable: another species that does not speak our language and has its own fears and survival instincts which as a prey animal are completely different from ours as predators. If this inspires something….. great! btw when my son was here from England for his sister’s wedding i got him listening to some of your work on your blog. He thenwent on to your site and bookmarked it. ” This is good stuff” was his comment. I knew he would like your musical creations.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Zoolon says:

            Thank you for even considering recommending me to your son to listen to – truly appreciated.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. anne leueen says:

            You’re welcome. I know what sort of music and soundscapes he listens to so I knew he would like your work.

            Liked by 1 person

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