Episode 109: Fear around training your own horse

How do you separate fear from danger? In this podcast I discuss the importance of recognizing fear and what it could be pointing to. I also explain why it is important for riders to increase their understanding. I’m also celebrating the two year anniversary of the podcast…and discussing the challenge of doing something you’re uncomfortable with.


  1. Rachel Plambeck on December 23, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Stacy,
    So I haven’t listened to your podcast for a little while just because I have a 3 year old running around and I just haven’t been making the time! Then I saw your ad to win a prize for commenting on your post about your podcast and it was a reminder I hadn’t listened in a while! That being said, I just listened to episode 109 and wow… it is SO fitting for what I’m going through right now! I have been starting some colts for a friend the last 2 years and then recently got my own 2 young mares that needed started. But I didn’t want to start them! And it wasn’t a danger fear I had… it was definitely a fear of failure for me. I love these little pony mares so much I just don’t want to mess them up. So after I finally did get the saddle breaking done, then I took a break because I knew the real scary part came next- finessing them! Not just one reining them around. It’s just so interesting that you covered this type of fear. It’s a huge reality!! Thank you- I’m going to keep listening now and just making the time because like you said, knowledge will help with that type of fear. So again, thank you!

  2. Katarina on December 23, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Thank you Stacy, that is exactly how I feel. I do have a professional trainer for my horse but still listening to you have helped me so much. All the fear is inside me and I struggle and struggle. Love to ride my horse against fear I am hurting him by doing things wrong ag getting hurt myself. I started riding when I was 42 and I bought my horse 5 years ago. I am 55 and I will not give up. It is such a thrill every time and such a wonderful feeling when get it right.

  3. Lisa Vogel on December 21, 2020 at 7:37 pm

    As a four year old (meaning almost 4 years since my first lesson ever) I needed to hear “It’s not all training”. I’ve heard that so much that I became fearful of doing anything with my horse. Oh, I bought a horse 2 1/2 years ago. On the other hand my trainer encouraged me to keep going. I finally said ” I’m afraid I am going to mess everything up, confuse my horse. Her response was we will fix it. So I still struggle thinking I’m going to ruin her. And the fear vs danger. I fear the canter because it doesn’t feel perfect. She doesn’t make feel in danger. So even though we feel a little broken (not perfect) we need to work through it. All that being said, I know I have my trainer for support, or to help me fix what I broke. Thanks Stacy!

  4. Gina Terry on December 21, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Hi Stacy! I have so enjoyed listening to your podcast the last few months. I grew up on horses and then stopped riding about 20 years ago when my kids got married. Now I have grand kids to ride with and have started back! I so appreciate your honesty in having fears yourself! Your comment on fear of not being good enough to train and fear of being in danger is so insightful! You’re being so transparent about your feelings and thoughts are truly inspirational!

  5. Maryjane Poulin on December 20, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    I’m a new listener and new to podcasting in general. Your “pod-what” email intrigued me! And what a fantastic resource! The non-horsey example in this episode was useful and made me think of my struggle with getting the podcasting set up on my iPad. LOL, a simple thing for many I’m sure. It also reminded me of the dilemma of discovering I couldn’t send my “problematic” horse to a professional trainer this spring because of COVID. So I’m working with him myself… so far so good.. small steps…. greatly looking forward to listening to more episodes.

  6. Leslie Roden on December 20, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Stacy, You are quite literally a God send. I grew up on a horse. After several bad horse relationships, I gave up on them back in my 30’s. I’m now in my 50’s and felt that longing for them again. I found a video of you riding Roxie on you tube. It both blew me away and filled me with an excitement I hadn’t felt since childhood!! I had NO IDEA a person could have that kind of relationship with a horse! You inspired me to try again. I was terrified that I would fail with horses again, but jumped back in the pool. I added two Missouri Fox Trotters to my family with my goal being to have them trained well enough for my grandchildren to ride. The kids are still toddlers, so I gave myself plenty of time to get it right. I got your groundwork video which I watched over and over picking up on new subtle tips each time I viewed it. It was absolutely the most helpful instructional video I have EVER watched. I added your whole library to my arsenals and am now watching the series on Jack. I think the reason I find your teaching style so effective is because you are as outstanding as a life coach/therapist as you are a horse trainer. I hope that some day I can meet you in person and give you a huge THANK YOU hug!!!

  7. Christie on December 20, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    I love this episode because I have those thoughts pop up with my filly wondering if I am good enough to train her on my own. You give me the encouragement I need to continue on our path rather than sending her to a trainer. THANK YOU!!

  8. Joanne on December 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    I love the 4-square model!!! It’s really useful when deciding what the main contributing factor to a current issue is and where to focus first for improvement!
    Good luck with the transition! It will be fine……..oh wait it’s 2020……maybe wait until January 1st to hit that button? 😉
    I have listened to all the podcast episodes and will definitely find it again!!!
    Merry Christmas!!

  9. Linda Turner on December 19, 2020 at 12:49 am

    Stacy, I can’t wait ? to find/hear your next/new podcast. I always learn something from all of your Podcast. Thank you so much for helping us understand our horses and to keep following our dreams!!!

  10. Valorie Sevelin on December 18, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you again Stacy. I listen to your podcasts on my way to see my mare and when i drive to my sister’s cabin. They give me motivation and confidence. When i found out about these ( and free yet) i was thrilled and passed the info on.
    I listened to the interview with Scott McGregor the other night. I have a TWH mare and have followed him for the last year. Thank you again!

  11. Rebecca Bowers-Call on December 18, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    I could leave a comment on every episode I have listened to, but I will start here. This episode hits home right now as I am dealing exactly with this issue. I had an issue early this year with my 6 year old gelding and his fear which led to a pretty significant wreck for us and now fear that I still face whenever I ride him. AND a new fear with my 10 year old mare who really struggles when we ride out alone at our farm. Thank you for ALWAYS sharing important tips and lessons that I can use on a daily basis!

  12. Suzanne on December 18, 2020 at 1:15 am

    Your timing is impeccable (again). I am currently working with a rescue (trying to fix what is damaged) and lining up a weanling project for next fall and this fear is something I wrestle with non-stop. What if I’m not good enough? What if I don’t have the answers? What if I’m missing something? What if I fail?

    I love that you address fear vs danger, because the rescue puts me in that frame of mind. He’s damaged, so I’m constantly assessing and listening, and not pushing boundaries that aren’t safe yet.

    The weanling prospect is entirely different, and has more to do with being good enough.

    I’m just grateful for the nuggets you have shared, and I’m grateful for the journey. It’s not all carefree beach rides. It’s hard work, it makes me push myself, and it’s been so rewarding 🙂

  13. Galina Benek on December 17, 2020 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing and creating this podcast on fear. It is so helpful to know I am not the only one who has fear issues around horses and it is nice to have a way to deal with it and realize if it is just mental fear that once you get past it or do what you were afraid to do it can be so rewarding.
    Thank you Stacy!

  14. Philomena on December 17, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    Good content, Stacy. Thanks for the podcasts you do; all the time you put into these podcasts is not underappreciated; Merry Christmas!

  15. Debbie Peterson Bagan on December 17, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    I loved episode 109
    I have trained 2 mares
    Mother then foal and wow did I have a lot of anxiety about making a mistake and messing up.
    I sold my mare when she was 9 and she’s still doing well at the age of 20.
    Does my heart good.
    I kept Jinx who is now 13. We go everywhere bareback and saddle.
    When I get on my horse’s back I feel so at home and happy!!
    Thanks for all your training advice. I try to soak it up.

  16. Teresa Collins on December 17, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you Stacy! I listen to all of your podcasts. What I appreciate most is your vulnerability and skill in communicating sometimes complex thinking/feeling into very understandable language. I do trail riding, so enjoyed those episodes. I also appreciated #105 on euthanasia.

  17. Nina Halvorson on December 17, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Stacy I love listening to your podcast! Most recently when you shared about Scrapper, it brought a tear to my eye. Because of the touching experiences you shared but also in reflecting on my own aging horse. Thanks so much for being so heartfelt!

  18. Pam Schnake on December 17, 2020 at 7:34 am

    Hi Stacy, if it blows up…I WILL find you again! Found your podcast about a year ago after a terrible crash on one of my horses.

    Realized I needed to improve my horsemanship and understanding of my horses instead of solely concentrating on riding cues, skills.

    I listen to some of them over and over while I mow or string trim. I hear new things – helpful ideas each time I listen again.

    So happy for YOUR success with your showing in Western Dressage-love hearing your talk about them!

    Have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year! Can’t wait to hear/see the podcast’s new name/look! Take care, Pam

  19. Melanie Gosch on December 16, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Stacy, thank you for your question to ourselves about wanting to do something yourself. I have always wanted to train my mare myself and have done so for the most part. I certainly have and continue to read articles and books, listen to podcasts and have gone to clinics to further my training skills.
    I realize the unique relationship I have with my mare, her trusting me and seeking my attention and me just loving and enjoying being with her.
    I also can relate to the physical fear as I have sometimes been too lax with certain behaviors that I now need to address. Because of my familiarity with her, just like our children, it easy to overlook certain behaviors that are not good.
    I also understand the fear of not being good enough to train her when I receive criticism from others and that makes me feel I have done my mare wrong and the “what if’s” take over!
    Thank you so much for your honesty about your feelings with horses. We all need to know there are others who love horses out there who are willing to relate to us and offer help.

  20. Pamela L Laurence on December 16, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for all your Podcasts!

  21. Evon Kirtz on December 16, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you Stacy. I’ve been struggling too with the same issues of Podcasting and websites etc. liked your 4 quadrants the best in how you use them in your coaching. You explained the fear perfectly in your situation. Love your transparency. I think this is why you are approachable as a commercial trainer. Your humanness and how you deliver in your podcasts. Looking forward to your new format!

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