My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Everybody gets them. Champions use them"

Overcoming Fear Article

A friend of mine shared this LINK with me. It is to a blog named "Horse Junkies United". They have some wonderful articles on their site, one of which I want to share with you.

It's a  great article about overcoming rider fear.

I have made great strides in overcoming my AOF, (Adult Onset Fear) but it still rears it's ugly head once in a while. I have such compassion for other people who struggle with this. I keep thinking I will write some sort of a mini series of my own articles about the things that have helped me gain my confidence back. I may get around to it... someday! Until then, I hope this helps somebody out!

I have copied this article in it's entirety and included all of the links in the original article. I hope that's kosher! I want to spread the word about Sommer and Horse Junkies United.

Sommer Christie is a certified Mental Performance Consultant from Ottawa, currently finishing her PhD in Sport Psychology. She will contributing to HJU in the following weeks to help you on the Journey to Improve Your Performance. Her article today is about rider fear and it was inspired by a thread on The Chronicle of the Horse. Thankyou Sommer for sharing these great tips and techniques!

From Sommer:
Before digging into this topic I want you know that one of the most common issues that I deal with when working with riders is fear – so take a deep breath and know that you are NOT alone!
Equestrian sport is extremely high risk and offers plenty of opportunities for fear to develop, in riders of all ages and abilities. Although injury tends to be one of the greatest factors leading to fear in riders; fear of competition, fear of failure or even the fear other people watching can be just as debilitating to performance.
Fear can be paralyzing, both physically and mentally. In fact, fear of injury or re-injury may elicit a cycle of psychological (e.g., decreased self-confidence and concentration) and physiological (e.g., increased muscle tension and over-activation) effects that can result in decreased perform-ance (Nideffer, 1993). Although fear can be a major factor in your performance, it does not have to be.
Listed below are a few tips that should help you reflect on your fear and set goals in place to overcome it.
Tips for working with fear:
  • Accept your anxieties as normal – it is normal to experience fear.
  •  Talk to your coach. Often, we are fearful of what the coach might think, yet, they can actually help us overcome the fear if they know about it.
  • Coaches should try to be open with riders. Riders may not talk about fear (hide it) because they are afraid it may be interpreted as a weakness, or feel that they are the only one’s experiencing it.
  • What are you fearful of? Be as specific as possible (e.g., what exact skill or action causes my fear). For example, are you afraid of falling all of the time or are you afraid of falling when the jump is at a specific height.
  • What does this fear make you do (e.g., tense up, lose focus, stop training)?
  • Does this fear help your performance or hurt it? What is this fear preventing you from doing?
  • Should you be this fearful?
3.    ADJUST
  • Adjust your goals to target specifically what you are afraid of.
  • Accept that you may have to slow down and take a few steps back.
  • Set small goals that are achievable.
  • Be specific and define clear actions that you will take.
  •  Make sure that your goals are progressive and ensure successful attempts.
  • Build confidence by mastering the small steps before you move on.
  •   Be proud of your accomplishments, even if they are small.
   If you are injured
  •  Talk to your therapist – educate yourself on the nature of the injury, treatment options, phases of treatment and the expected challenges along the way.
  •   Become an active member in your rehabilitation – set goals and work towards achieving them.
  • Find support – seek out other riders who have gone through similar experiences and ask them how they coped with and came back from injury or fear.
  • Maintain your athletic identity throughout process – Coaches can support this process by giving injured riders roles and keeping them involved.
4.    PRACTICE mental skills techniques
  • Relaxed breathing – Use slow abdominal breathing to relax yourself and your horse.
  • Body scan – While you are breathing slowly, do a quick scan of the important muscles in your body (e.g., legs, arms, neck, jaw) to see if you are tense. If you are holding tension anywhere, try to let it go with a few deep breaths.
  •   Thought stopping – If you are thinking negative thoughts (i.e., If you are anticipating falling), stop! Say “stop” out loud or to yourself and then change your thought to something more positive.
  • Positive self-affirmations and self-talk – Stay positive with yourself and your horse. Negative self-talk should be stopped and then replaced with positive self-talk (i.e., “We are ready, and we can do this”), as well as positive, relaxed confident actions.
  • Imagery – Use imagery to visualize yourself successfully accomplishing what you are afraid of. If you see yourself making a mistake or failing, stop and start again with a more positive focus.
  • Simulation – Simulation training involves putting yourself and your horse gradually into more and more challenging situations until you are doing exactly what you are afraid of.
  • Focus on the process (the small steps)
  • Stay positive
  • Have confidence in your plan
  • Be patient
  • Do not focus on obstacles, focus on solutions
  • Believe in yourself
  • Enjoy yourself
I sincerely hope that these tips help you on your path to eliminating fear and bringing back the joy in your riding once again.
Good luck implementing these skills and feel free to ask more questions in the comments!!

If you wish to work with Sommer Christie on an individual basis, you can send her email or phone             613-407-7669      .

To learn more about Sommer, visit her website.



Chardoney's sire is named Jonker - pronounced "Yon - kur." He is a Dutch Harness Horse.

He was born in the Netherlands in March 1991.

In 1999 he was the Dutch National Champion Harness Horse. In 2000 he was the Reserve National Champion.

He is KWPN approved. Here is a LINK to his current records, and to the records of his get.

He was imported in 2000 and lives in the US now. He is in Ohio. I would love to visit him the next time I am there visiting my family!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Out and About

Char had her first turnout in the 20 acre field on the hill today. I had my camera ready as I expected some serious running and galavanting in the wide open spaces.

She acts like she belongs here already.

Well, she and her buddies took a long draught of water and set about eating sagebrush and sunflowers.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Ride

Here's the first picture of my first ride on Chardoney.
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Selling Star

I have decided to sell my Star.

It has been a hard decision, and one I made a while ago, even before Chardoney came into the picture. But I am just now writing about it. There were lots of factors involved in this decision. I don't want to share them just yet. All of the unknowns are very scary, but I do have peace in my heart about it.

Star was my dream foal. On they day she was born I felt God smiling as he gave me my heart's desire: a black filly out of my beloved Delight. I doubt I will ever have the experience of foaling out my own mare again. I won't be breeding anytime in the foreseeable future.

I am sad. In a perfect world I would keep every horse that has come into my life. Each one of them has been a gift of God, come into my life to show me His love and to teach me life lessons. But it's not a perfect world.

And, I do believe that sometimes we must hold onto things loosely so that new things may be placed into our hands.

I have a vision that I will find an owner who's dreaming of a beautiful black Morgan mare, much like I dreamed of Delight and now of Chardoney. She's out there... now to wait and have the honor of being on the other side of Adoption.



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Friday, September 16, 2011

Feed Buckets

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Chardoney's Day Yesterday

Chardoney's day yesterday: Had her breakfast in her quarantine stall. Went to the pasture for 30 whole minutes (2x her regular time - woo!), then into the big paddock which shares a fence line with the pasture.

Makes her very first friend (Tia) over the fenceline and they spend the whole day winking and peeing at each other (Regumate has worn off) eeew.

Walked up to the barn that evening and Char whinnies - her first acknowledgement that there are other horses here! (yay!)

Put her into her very own stall in the barn (out of quarantine now - yay!) and she commences to buck and snort and pace calling out for her new girlfriend Tia, who is racing up and down the one acre paddock snorting and whinnying.

Proceeds to flood her new stall. Buries her whole nose in the automatic waterer in order to pull out the plug - which is flush with the bottom. I put plug back in and watch. Walks straight over and pulls it out again. Evidently she has experience with this.

Different stall with no drain plug. More whinnying for new girlfriend.

So much ruckus that Tia gets to come in and spend the night in the barn for a sleepover.  More, well if you have mares, you know. Two stalls are now flooded, this time with urine (eew). 

I wonder "Could they dehydrate themselves this way?"

Appropriate screaming at each other about how h*rny they are before they settle down.

Yep, she is feeling more at home.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Delight and Star 9.1.11

After all this hubbub about Chardoney I thought I would share a picture of my other lovely girls Delight and Star. I am the luckiest girl in the world!
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I am still amazed that this amazing, beautiful, talented dream horse belongs to me. I can't believe how lucky I am to have her. She is so beautiful.  This page has precious pictures to me - many are from the day I picked Chardoney up.


I am so happy that I have a great relationship with Char's former owner Lynette. Chardoney officially has her Very Own Fan Club. We are the co-Presidents. Purchasing Chardoney feels much more like an adoption from one loving owner to the next. It's really nice to have one other person out there who is willing to talk about this horse with me and never tire of the conversation.


Lynette and I 


I had only admired Chardoney from afar up until this point. I had never actually met her.

Very first touch

Char and Char

Chardoney was bred, raised and trained by Terie Ellis at Ellis Supreme Arabians . She has her own fan club there too. It is wonderful to have a horse that is loved and cared for by so many.

 Terie and Char

Welcome to my home Chardoney! This is  a new chapter just waiting to be written for both of us.


Canadian Arabian Nationals

 Char with one of her riders

Chardoney recently traveled to Canada to compete in the Canadian Arabian nationals. She brought home two top tens in Sporthorse In Hand. SHIH is a class where the horses are judged for conformation, quality of movement, temperament, and overall suitability as a sport horse.

 Here she is with the whole team in Canada

She traveled with her owner Lynette and Ellis Supreme Arabians. It was a long drive, but well worth it for everyone who worked so hard to get there. All of the horses came home with ribbons.

Smiles all around!


Lynette, Chardoney and Kayla