Sometimes, our worries aren’t just for ourselves – they are for our family, friends and loved ones too. It’s not uncommon for confidence issues to creep in after becoming a parent, as you now have someone depending on you being fit and well. The repercussions of an accident or injury can play on your mind, and affect how you handle or ride your horse, writes Emily Bevan.

Following the birth of her daughter, Darcy, Kate Bowyer found herself questioning whether doing such a dangerous sport was selfish. As a result, she suffered a loss of riding confidence.

“I’d never had any confidence issues before, but I started to look at cross country jumps and think, ‘What if I fall off? What if I’m not here for my daughter?’ and the fear of having an accident and the repercussions that that would have for Darcy started building,” explains Kate.

“I started questioning whether I was selfish for doing a dangerous sport and taking such a big risk when I had other responsibilities, and it really affected my confidence.”

A session with a sports psychologist and her instructor helped Kate to recognise her personality traits and anxiety triggers, and the importance for her of goal setting so she always had something to work towards and focus on.

“To keep my anxiety at bay I need to be open with myself about how I’m feeling and share my thoughts with my instructor, who then helps me put a plan in place to deal with any challenges I may be facing,” adds Kate.

“I know that if I don’t ride or jump for a while it brings my anxiety to the forefront, so I try to avoid this happening. Everyone is individual, and it’s about knowing what works for you and what triggers your anxieties.”

Main image = stock image

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