Episode 3: How do I stop being a nervous rider

About This Episode

A lot of us don't want to benervous riders. Why not? What is nervousness, fear, and anxiety anyway? And what if rejecting these feelings holding us back from progressing?

This episode dives into why embracing nervousness can propel us forward and why avoiding these feelings feels good but doesn't help us improve our lives. 


Transcript of this weeks episode:

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of The Horsemanship Journey podcast. I'm Shane Jacob, your host. I appreciate you taking your time to be with us today. And I hope that it's worthwhile for you, that you'll find something of value here today. And I believe you will.

Today, I wanted to talk about nervousness. You know, we get the question a lot at The Horsemanship Journey. And I've heard a lot over the years, and I've thought about it quite a bit. And that is the question of, "How do I stop being a nervous rider?" You know, people don't want to be nervous. And so we hear the question a lot.

Then the question I have back is, well, before the question, I can see why you would have some nervousness. You know you are crawling onto an average of a thousand pound creature that has a mind and a will of its own. And so nervousness seems like a reasonable response to me, but my, now my question is, is why would you want to do that? Why would you want to stop being a nervous rider?

And I think it's a question worth, let's just go into that just a little bit. It's, it's a question worth contemplating. Next question is, is, as we go into that is what is nervous? What does that even mean? When you say, "How do I stop being a nervous rider?"

What exactly are trying to say? So let's define, let's talk a little bit about nervousness. Nervousness can also be called fear. It can be called anxiety, uncertainty, nerves, right? It's the sensation we get. It's a feeling. These kinds of things are kind of synonymous. I'm gonna talk about nervousness like they're all kind of the same today in this discussion.

And you know, when we think about avoiding these things, I think we all know it's not a good idea. When we try to avoid these, and brace against them and fight to not have them or feel them, it just doesn't seem like a good idea because usually what we turn to, to try to get away from fear and nervousness and anxiety and all of it is drugs, alcohol, food, porn, depression. Sometimes it can be, come out if we're trying to stuff it down and ignore it and basically fight against it and reject it so much that we can get depression. I said that panic attacks. You know, and then it comes out in other physical ways, physical sicknesses and conditions and all kinds of physical expressions.

So let's just come back to what is nervousness, what is fear? And what it is, is it's a feeling. It's a feeling, okay? And they say that, and so really how bad can it be if it's a feeling? Okay. They, you know, we, they, they define a lot of times fear as rational or irrational. So we have rational fear, which means that our life and our, you know,  our life is in danger. Okay. And then we have fear that you might call irrational where our brain has the same response. They tell us that our body and our brain does not distinguish a difference between rational and irrational fear.

So we have the same response, the same feeling, the same physical condition is going on if we are asked to stand up in front of a crowd and give a talk or as if someone has a knife to our throat. So that's an interesting thing to know as we go through this that our brain and our body responds in the same way unconsciously, unless we make a conscious decision todo something different about it.

You know, we've heard, we hear a lot, you know, people say, "Hey, we've heard this for a long time, feel the fear and do it anyway." You know, and, and, you know, and maybe they had it right, you know, "feel the fear and do it anyway." But that it, when I hear that, what I think of is I think that, um, you know, that fear is a bad thing, but just do it anyway. I mean, do the bad thing. It's kind of what I hear when I do that.

Which you know, maybe, that's better than the reverse of what we were saying and having all the bad effects of not doing it and trying to avoid fear. I talked to a different perspective. I talked to, I interviewed for the Horsemanship Journey show in Episode One, I think it was like Episode Two or something like that, Ashlee Bond. Ashlee is an International Show Jumper.

Professional International Show Jumper. I think she's an Olympic Show Jumper, and she's one of the top Show Competition Jumpers in the world. And she described her nervousness. I asked her in that interview if she still got nervous when she's out there, you know, jumping over these fences, five, six plus feet and competing in the, in the top competitions. And she said, something to the effect of, she still feels nervous when she goes out there.

And then she said to me something interesting. She said, "But isn't that why we do it?" You know,  just to, to feel the rush, to have the, to have that feeling go on inside of us. And she said, then she went on to explain that she, she uses this nervousness and tries to direct it and to a, kind of like a heightened state of awareness. A heightened, so that she can have a heightened performance. So she believes that it helps her focus and it helps her perform better when she feels this, when she feels this emotion of nervousness or even fear, even for her at her level.

So let me ask you a question. What if being nervous, what if, what if feeling fearful was a sign? What if it was a sign? What if it was a sign of an opportunity to grow? A sign of an opportunity to expand, to get out of our comfort zone?

You know, they say that our comfort zone, you know, we hear comfort zone, it's like, oh, that doesn't sound good. You're not supposed to bein your comfort zone, right? Cause that's, you're lazy and you're just over there relaxing and you're never, you know, nothing good is going to happen in the long term because you're living in your comfort zone. So that's a bad thing. So if living in your comfort zones, bad, and feeling fear is bad, I mean, then what? Right? You ever think about courage? I mean, think about courage.

What does courage feel? Courage has a positive, you know, when I say courage, that sounds good. I want to have me some courage. I'm courageous. I want to be courageous and feel like I'm courageous. But you know, it sounds good and it has a positive, you know, a lot of positives surrounding it. But the truth is, is that when we're doing courage, it doesn't feel good. You know, they say courage is not the absence of fear, and truly it's not.

They say it's feeling fear and doing it anyway kind of what we talked about a minute ago. But courage sounds positive, but it feels bad. So what then? What are the, what about some of the things that, that are, that  most of us are petrified of like public speaking I mentioned that. So what about public speaking?

You know many years ago I was at the Clark County, County Commission Chambers for a meeting now in Clark County, Nevada. The Clark County building has where the County Commission meets, and it's a pretty big colosseum. Now to me that day, I was speaking on behalf of a horse owner, that was on behalf of what I thought was the, you know, on behalf of horses in our community and so on.

 So anyway, that day for me, that was like the biggest colosseum. I might as well been inside a Raider Stadium here in Las Vegas instead of that little old, little old building room, Clark County Commission. But I thought it was in front of the whole world. And I stood up there and boy, let me tell you, could I feel it. I thought my heart was going to just go right, you know, like, boom, boom, but it was going to, you know, I thought you could see my heart pumping through my shirt, through my coat. I think it was in the winter and I think you could still see it.

Cause I could sure feel it and it felt like it was going to burst through my skin. My breathing was off and you know, I got up there and it was terrible. I mean, my, my little comment was, uh, it was terrible. It sounded terrible. My voice was shaking. You know, everybody was embarrassed for me if I wasn't embarrassed enough. And so when, when we have that feeling, um, you know, what is it telling us and what should we do about it? I guess is the question.  

Because today when I stand up in front of audiences, I don't have the same response. So what does all that mean? We've all been through stuff like that, the same or similar. My question is this, back to nervousness. What if nervousness, you know, we think about it and it's like, don't be nervous, don't be nervous. Like it just, it sounds bad. Like you say it and it's like, you're not supposed to be nervous for some reason.

 And my question is, why not? What if nervousness is a good thing? What if fear? What if fear is a good thing? You know, what if these feelings that we're having are notifications that we actually have a growth opportunity, a chance to expand, a chance to grow, a chance to feel life, a chance to be better, a chance to improve. What if these feelings were better off if we felt them rather than rejected them?

What if we could really take in fear take in nervousness and really feel it. I like the example of the founder of The Life Coach, Brooke Castillo, tells a story and she says, I've heard this multiple times and I always it makes me pondered she says, "What if an alien came down right now out of space from another world and came and was in front of you?  

And just showed up here on earth and like, and you were, and they said, you know, I've heard a lot about this fear, but I just got here. I'm new to this world. Tell me what is fear?" And you would say, well, how would you describe that? It's a feeling. Um, it sort of feels like a vibration. Sometimes your, your breathing can change. Certainly your heart rate can change, can go up. Your breathing can go up. And it feels like a vibration.

And they would be going like, okay. And so what's like the big deal with that? I mean, why is this a problem? You know what I'm saying? Because we make it be such a problem. We do everything to avoid it. And then to avoid the feeling, you know, we do all these buffering bad activities that can ruin our lives and our relationships.

And then when we feel it, we just try to avoid it. We don't want to do the things just like the question that I'm talking about. How do I not be a nervous rider? I don't know if that's a bad thing. I mean, I don't know being a nervous rider is necessarily something that you want to not be. You see what I'm saying? Why are we avoiding this? Why do we think that it's bad and what does it mean? And maybe contemplate the idea of actually moving towards it.

You know, and I'm not taking away the idea. I don't want to take away your relaxing ride out through the country on your favorite steed with your favorite trail mate. You know, I don't want to take away your recreation and your relaxation and or anything like that. But what I am saying is, maybe it would do us well to consider if we're expanding ourselves, and to consider what nervousness really is and what it means to us.

You know, I myself, I'm working on. I'm working on feeling it, leaning into it. And that's part of what we teach in our ultra confidence for horse riders to learn confidence and rider confidence is to feel the feeling and have it be okay, and process it and move through it and develop confidence. And I encourage you to contemplate the idea of what nervousness is. Contemplate leaning into it. Contemplate embracing it. I'd encourage you to do the same. I appreciate you taking your time to join us today for this episode.

Until next time, remember, Don't Ever Stop Chasing It.

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