About StressLess Riding: Questions and Answers
What is StressLess Riding?
StressLess Riding is a practical, straightforward program for managing fear and anxiety in the saddle. It is effective in recovering from a traumatic fall, coping with performance anxiety at shows or in lessons, and reducing fear in various situations such as trail riding or jumping. Trainers and riding instructors can also use it to improve focus and reduce anxiety in their students.
I’ve tried this sport psychology stuff before and it hasn’t worked. I’m still nervous when I ride, and I’m sick of people telling me to “just relax and don’t worry.” I feel like I’m never going to be free of this fear.
This is where StressLess Riding differs from many other sport psychology programs. I believe that fear is not the enemy and I’m not going to try to banish it completely from your life. It won’t work! Humans evolved the fear response because it kept us from being eaten by tigers; we’re not going to beat 2 million years of evolution. So rather than focusing on the fear and how to get rid of it, StressLess Riding helps you understand how fear affects your brain and your behavior. Then we implement strategies that allow you to work with your fear response to get it to step back out of the way so you can get on with the business of riding and enjoying yourself.
You know the person you have to invite to Thanksgiving dinner, the one you really can’t stand but he/she is married to someone else that you love and want to see, so you can’t leave them out? You have to deal with their presence, but you don’t have to let them ruin your whole evening either! StressLess Riding techniques will teach you to see your fear more like that dinner guest, and less like an overwhelming force that you can’t control.
Do I have to spend a lot of time meditating and visualizing? I always have good intentions to do this, but realistically, I’m never going to have time.
Meditation and visualization can be extremely helpful tools in dealing with fear and anxiety, and the program teaches these skills. However, we realize that many people have trouble finding the time for regular practice. We have developed simple calming and focusing exercises that you can do while in the saddle or preparing to ride. These allow you to strengthen your mental game without adding yet another activity to your busy schedule.
How can I participate in the StressLess Riding Program?
StressLess Riding Coach Andrea Waldo is available for clinics and seminars, and for private sessions in person or by phone or Skype. You may also download articles on the StressLess Riding principles to read at your own convenience. See the “SLR for Trainers” and “SLR for Riders” pages for descriptions.