Horses are beautiful, majestic, powerful animals that have established a lasting, inseparable relationship with human lives and destinies. Horses draw our attention and fuel our emotions. Their allure and mystery inspire us, and their strength can evoke fear that keeps us at a distance.
The good news is that being scared of horses is a natural and healthy response of a human defense mechanism. Horses are usually larger, faster and stronger than any person and they have a strong survival instinct that may be displayed in dynamic behavior, often overwhelming for most humans.
How can one overcome the fear of horses and safely enjoy all the benefits of being around these magnificent animals? The first lesson comes from how horses process their angst and trepidation.
Horses’ survival instincts prompt them to run away to create distance for safety. While such a response may be useful to save the horse’s life in that particular moment, remaining in a prolonged state of fear will drain the horse of its precious energy, affect its physical and emotional well-being, and prevent it from being effectively connected to its surroundings.
Fortunately, the same survival instincts prompt the horse to switch from fearful reactions to behavior that leads the animal back into a balanced state. As if there were a direct connection between fear and curiosity, horses take on exploration and learning about a given situation to secure their safety and spend more time thriving rather than being afraid.
A consistent fear of horses results in an individual unnecessarily experiencing anxiety many times rather than going through it only when it is essential for safety. Releasing from a pattern of unfounded fear sparks curiosity and creates an opportunity for learning about horses’ behavior and ways of keeping yourself safe while being around them. A curious and peaceful mind allows keen observation and connection to each moment, gives voice to one’s inner instincts and lets the physical body naturally respond to what’s needed to be well and safe. With time and proper support, a hindering and debilitating fear of horses can evolve into a healthy and educated respect, becoming the strong foundation for unique relationships and a lifetime of adventure with horses.
I recommend taking a closer look at how horses handle their fear and decide if you want a state of fear to block you forever or to motivate you to see what’s beyond it. Check-in with yourself from time to time to see where the blocks are, and ask, ”Where am I holding onto fear and why?” Ask more questions and hold an honest self-assessment. Let your curiosity, instincts and imagination direct you toward what’s possible and, with support, start taking little steps towards space and a feeling of safety.
Even when you feel scared, just like horses, practice presence moment by moment and connect with your true sense of well being. Awaken your awareness to the moment when living out of fear doesn’t serve you anymore and turn your attention to actions that will support your balanced and happy life. With patience and kindness for yourself, and without rushing or forcing things to happen, you will be amazed by what unfolds.
Were there times during the last year when fear affected your interaction with horses? Did you feel it as a result of a specific situation or rather an assumption/projection?
If the fear of horses didn’t block you, what would you be more open to when it comes to horses?
What kind of support could you use to start the process of stepping out of fear into curiosity and discovery? Do you know where or whom to get that support from?
What could be your first step towards the transition?