Have Brain – Will Cower


It’s amazing how much our brains, filled with whatever silly fears we decide to fill them up with, can alter our reality. And I don’t state this in some Nag Champa-induced fog, listening to my chakras realign. I saw it in action today with crystal clarity. And it blew me away.

My daughter, Luba,  takes riding lessons and loves to jump – which, to be honest, does kinda scare the crap out of me sometimes because she’s only 8-years old and damn, those horses are big (working on my fear but a mom’s protective nature is hard to circumvent). She is training for a competition this weekend, the first time she is to compete jumping 60 centimeters. Which is a big step for a slip of a thing who still sleeps with a teddy bear and believes wholeheartedly in the Tooth Fairy.

Her coach had told her she’d be riding Shakira (not the hip-shakin’ Columbian singer), which is a horse Luba has had some trouble with. Shakira is just s head-strong as her fellow Latina namesake and it takes some work to bring her to heel. Although Luba hasn’t had any real problems with her, she is nonetheless fixated on how difficult it is going to be for her to compete on Shakira.

Today, she thought she was riding Shakira and her class was, frankly, a mess. She missed most of her jumps, was fighting to keep control of the horse and was at times, getting panicky and messy. Smartly, her coach decided to put her in the lower category of cross-bars rather than risk a tumble or an elimination in the 60 cm tourney. She was devastated with the downgrade but we all agreed it was for the best. There would be other shows, other tourneys and other opportunities when she was more confident.

At the end of class, we discovered she wasn’t riding the dreaded Shakira but Pavo, one of her favorite horses. A horse she has won competitions riding. A horse she never has any problems with.

And that’s when the realization hit me.

My girl had worked herself into such a tizzy thinking she was riding the horse she dreaded, she caused the horse she adores to feel her fear and act accordingly. She had created her own fear-based reality.


Had she gone into class knowing she was on Pavo, I’m positive it would have been a completely different experience. But by letting her mind trick her into believing she was on a difficult horse, she had exactly that experience because the mind is just that powerful.

So Luba and I had a long chat about not letting our mind freak us out into believing something that’s not really happening (which was probably the same kind of convo one would have with Timothy Leary, but I digress). Being the astute child she is (yay for good genes), she got it.

Fast forward to the competition…she rode Shakira to a flawless performance.  And the week after to jumps of 60cm AND 70cm with an aplomb that belied her young years.

Because she changed her head game. Because she changed her fear of Shakira to the unique kind of love a rider can have with a horse who proves to be true and steadfast.

In order to fear-less, we need to ride Pavo in our minds, even if  the beast below is really a Shakira.

Ride on.





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