Fun With Horses & Team MG

American Horseback Riders Are Riding Scared

Hey, hey world!

Team MG recently set out to find out exactly how US riders were feeling about their horses. We know from conversations without clients that people are feeling some angst, fear, and discomfort when they ride, but we didn’t realize QUITE how much. At Gascon Horsemanship, we have – some might say – TOO much fun with our horses, as evidenced by our faces here… so we were surprised to learn that our horses are causing some serious anxious feelings for riders.

Fun With Horses & Team MG
Michael and Kelsey of Gascon Horsemanship on an evening ride. All riders should be having this much fun on their horses.

Half of US Riders Are Anxious

We recently surveyed 655 US riders and learned 54% of riders in the US are nervous, anxious, or scared to ride their horse. And 5% of all riders feel this way every ride. That’s more than half of US riders, and this data point reins (misspelling intended) true across both English and Western disciplines.

More than half of US riders feel nervous, anxious, or scared to ride their horse.

This is exactly what the Gascon Horsemanship program has set out to cure. Our training, clinics, and Team MG Members’ Club gives people the tools they need to feel confident, empowered, and free to have fun with their horses – without fear of failure or getting hurt.

Fearless 20s, Scared 30s

We found it interesting that this fear doesn’t seem to be consistent throughout our lives. When we’re juniors (under 18), we tend to have this same fear with 53% reporting they have felt anxious. Digging deeper, this is actually due to the fact that our young ones are more likely to be starting out. It’s actually the fear of getting started and learning a new sport that drives this angst.

Then, from 18 until we turn 30, our youth gives us life and – apparently – no fear! Only 40% of people in this age group report feeling anxious, nervous, or scared when they ride, compared to 54% of everyone else. I can theorize around what’s driving this – maybe it’s because we haven’t settled down yet and aren’t accountable to kids or spouses. Or maybe we’re just high on life and that carries over to our riding. It’s THIS feeling; this “I can do anything” that we want to create in our program for ALL ages.

But then… the dreaded 30s hit us. What is it about this age that makes our angst go through the roof? 60 percent (!!) of people over the age of 30 report they feel anxious, nervous, or scared when they ride. More than 6% of riders feel this way every ride.

We Need To Rebuilt Trust In our Horses

You guys!! What is happening to the US rider is NOT ok. Almost all of us got into this sport because we LOVE the horse. Because we love the barn family. Because we love the fun. We should not be feeling this anxious when we ride. So let’s change it!

Our biggest piece of advice to those who feel this way is to establish a baseline of respect. Trust is, hands down, the best way to combat these feelings. In our Team MG Members’ Club you learn the methods we use to get our horse’s respect. The same training methods which enable us to do things like play soccer, trail ride without fear, go over obstacle courses, and see scary things.

Stay tuned into Gascon Horsemanship over the next few weeks as we explore more data from US riders. This data is from a survey of 650 US Riders and is 95% confident within a margin of error of 4%.

6 thoughts on “American Horseback Riders Are Riding Scared”

  1. Deborah Henderson

    This is a very interesting post and very true! I look back on my riding as a young person and remember being fearless. In my case the fear in my 60’s came from going so many years without horses while work and family took over. As we reach older years we start seeing family and friends die which reminds us of our mortality. In our 20’s mortality was a problem in the far far distant future. I attended Michael’s clinic in Shelby NC and used my “emergency brake one rein stop” only last week. Not sure who was more surprised, me or my horse. It worked like a charm and my horse behaved perfectly the rest of the ride. My biggest regret is that I did not bring my horse to the clinic but I am so grateful to Michael and his training methods!

  2. Shannon McClelland

    Hey Team Gascon!
    I have been a fearless rider my entire life … until recent. As a child , my friend and I would ride our QH s everywhere ! Through McDonald’s drive-thus.. anywhere ! We were also rode bareback 99% of the time. We rambled neighborhoods on horseback and swam in ponds. Eventer jumps were made with boards and bars of hay … so fearless ! Fast Forward to my 50s. Still fearless. I was the one who helped other people gain confidence. I was the one who showed them what to do and made them trust their horse.
    Until… My Tennessee Walker had the biggest of all the spooks I’ve ever experienced. She slammed on brakes, teared, ,did a 180 spin, then galloped back to barn… with me half on— half off I can still hear her hooves and she ran back to the barn, while I was laying on my back with a concussion. Yes, I cussed her fiercely as I did the walk of shame back to the barn. 😬. I haven’t ridden her since late January. I guess I am stuck. Right after the accident I even suggested to my best friend that I sell my TWH and get another horse that “ wasn’t as dangerous “. Yeah. I said that. So I have gone from being the most badass rider . the person who can find a million excuses not to get on my mares back . This sucks

  3. Debbie Trojahn

    For sure, you nailed this one. I am on a couple of horsey Facebook pages, and this is the BIGGEST problem, hands down! I am new to MG, now watching the respect series, and learning so much. And I am starting to smile….Thanks for making this information affordable!

  4. I am looking forward to gaining respect from my two high energy Morabs!
    Waiting to receive my new saddle so I can ride. In the past, my horse spooked, and I landed on a small tree and fractured seven ribs! This spring, a tumbling hay bale push me off the top of the hay mound and I fractured the head of my tibia of my right leg.
    I enjoy riding, but fearful of the next spook!!
    Hope you can help us Michael!!

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