Spooky horses can erode our confidence as riders. We get nervous, the horse gets tense and it can derail the most well-planned de-spooking program.
By: Karin Apfel | July 12, 2012
Spooky horses can erode our confidence as riders, especially after a bad experience. We get nervous, the horse gets tense and it can derail the most well-planned de-spooking program. Don’t we all wish we were as cool under pressure as Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who carefully landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River in 2009, saving 155 passengers from a sure crash when the engines failed? What was his secret? What made him able to function so effectively in an emergency? Was he simply not frightened?
In a CBS 60 Minutes interview, Sullenberger was quoted as saying that in the moments before the crash he experienced “the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling.” So, he certainly experienced fear. How did he manage to overcome it? Speaking with news anchor Katie Couric, he said, “One way of looking at this might be that for 42 years, I’ve been making small, regular deposits in this bank of experience: education and training. And on January 15th, the balance was sufficient so that I could make a very large withdrawal.” In other words, his competence was a combination of his rigorous Air Force training, his familiarity with safety procedures as an accident investigator, and his many hours of flight experience.
As riders, we must also educate ourselves and gain experience in order to be mentally flexible under duress. We must also have our safety procedures in place and a plan to deal with surprises...