Cure Fear of Cantering with the Emotional Freedom Technique

Dear Jane,

Thank you for the information about the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). I have only been practicing for about 10 days, with the most remarkable results!!!

I am bringing along a lovely 5-year-old Dutch/Qt filly. Starting one from the beginning is a first for me. And at 58 years I don’t know how I missed the math 5 years ago. We are ready to address the canter work, and I have been making every excuse in the book to avoid cantering in my arena. I re-read It’s Not About the Ribbons, visualizing a perfect depart and 20 meter circle, but I just could not put my leg on and ask. After only 10 days of practicing the Emotional Freedom Technique, we canter on a loose rein, trail ride without a bit tension or fear. What a gift for us both.

My first question is that I have been using a positive affirmation instead of a negative one. I say, “I am a brave, confident rider”. I say this 3 times out loud, tap (on the acupressure points), and away we go. Is it okay to use a positive phrase?

My second question, if we were to “tap” on our horses, where would the spots be? Is anyone experimenting with the Emotional Freedom Technique for horses?

Geraldine Davidson

Dear Geraldine,

You can use a positive affirmation if you want. It’s all about your intention. Some people alternate positive phrases with negative phrases. You can get as playful with the process as you like.

Such as:
For the set-up: Even though I have this canter fear, I deeply and completely accept myself. (Say that 3x as you tap on the karate chop point.)

Then you can use reminder phrases like the following as you tap on each of the points:
“This canter fear”
“This irritating canter fear”
“Oh…I feel my fear dissolving”
“No, I don’t”
“Actually, I do.”
“Who do I think I’m kidding?”
“Actually, I’m feeling quite brave and confident”
“I’m definitely becoming a brave and confident rider!”

To tap for your horse, put your hand on him, and tap on yourself as if you’re the horse.
For example, for the set-up, you could say:
Even though I get nervous at shows, I’m a really good horse (say this 3x)

Then your reminder phrases could be something like:

“These show nerves”
“I’m well prepared and feel less nervous”
“I trust my rider completely ”
“I feel relaxed and confident.”
“I love horse shows!”


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