Part 3 - At the Starting Gate

Claustrophobia is defined as an extreme or irrational fear of confined places.  Although more commonly categorized as a human disorder, it can affect horses as well.  In fact, horses are born with an instinctive fight or flight response that can be activated in response to their aversion of small spaces.  Feeling the sidewalls of the stalls pressing in on its flanks can trigger a horse to panic and in turn be scratched from the race, losing before the race even begins.  For this reason, a horse must be gate trained.


Gate training includes loading the horse into the gate and getting him to remain still until the front gate swings wide open, as well as desensitizing the horse to the noises that could potentially upset him as he waits at the starting gate.   Bells, cheers, horns, applauses, loudspeakers, trumpets and rattles are just a few of the noises that could distract the horse at the starting gate.  Assuring the horse is calm at the gate plays a big part in its success in the race. An anxious and mentally distraught horse will not perform as well as its confident opponents

Oh, what a finicky animal a racehorse can be! 

Does this sound familiar to you?

Every item in your checklist has been crossed off.  Even the smallest detail has been taken into consideration.  You are as prepared as you will ever be.  But just as you are about to break forth you begin to feel the pressure of what lies ahead.  You suddenly get a case of the “what if’s”. 

What if I can’t perform the way I thought I would?

What if I can’t meet others expectations? 

What if I’m not as talented as I thought I was?

What if

Panic wants to set in and you fight to keep your composure.   Countless hours of work, and just like a racehorse, one misstep can cause you to be scratched from the race.

Suddenly your fight or flight response overtakes you, and you are tempted to run.  The noise is consuming you.  Some chant for you, some murmur against you.  Some speak of your victory, others speak of your defeat.  There is a mixture of cheers and rattles.  Everyone is watching.

What are YOU going to do? 

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14 thoughts on “Thoroughbred

  1. Hi Rosie!
    I’m stopping by from Intentionally Pursuing linkup. I love your metaphor to give a clear picture of the fear and panic of a horse who needs gate training and what happens with us when anxious distracting thoughts seek to thwart us from even getting out of the gate and into the race ahead. Well done!!
    Blessings to you today!

    • Hi Pam, thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment. Yes, your interpretation was correct, its all about getting out of the gate and not allowing those distractions to stop us. Great having you! 🙂

  2. I love this Rosie! You are so right, when I think about the “what ifs” I totally lose confidence! I love how you said, “You are prepared as you will ever be” and just as you are ready to break forth you feel the pressure of the unknown. I hope I can break forth past the mixture of cheers and rattles without succumbing to fear.

    • Hi Valerie, yes getting past the “what if’s” can be a challenge. Being at the Starting Gate can be both exciting and scary at the same time. But we have to remember we already have what it takes we just need to move on it. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi Rosie,
    This was my first time visiting your blog and I what a treat it was! You provided such a fantastic image using the horses. I too often hear the distractions and get off course. The next time I find myself doing that, this image will come to mind and encourage me to keep up!
    Blessings and smiles,

    • Lori, you bring up a good point. Sometimes all it takes is an image to remind us of something and that puts us back on track. I am glad you found some encouragement in it. I appreciate your visit to my blog and invite you to come back. Appreciate your comment Lori. 🙂

  4. Good post! I’ve never though about how we are so much like horses. I always felt sorry for them since they are cooped up but I now know we are the same way. Joining you from #livefree

    • Welcome from #livefree. Yes, we are quite similar as a matter of fact; we like them, have that champion spirit! Thank you for stopping by and for your comment 🙂

  5. This is such a great analogy, Rosie! I must admit that I used to be one of the untrained race horses– but God has (and continues) to do a work in my heart. Appreciate your words here 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it Sharita. We all have un-trained racehorse tendencies, but like you, I am so thankful the Lord doesn’t give up on me. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Oh, my! Those “what ifs” speak to me and the pieces of me that get anxious when God tells us not to be that way. I find this ongoing comparison with the horse to be quite a good way for me to learn a thing or three.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  7. I never knew that a race horse has to be gate trained but makes sense that fight or flight response for such a small space. I think we can relate this to so many things in life. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round up and hope you have been enjoying the blog hop. #sharewithme

    • Thank you for your input Jenny. You are right we can see this in many areas of our lives. I appreciate you letting me share at Share With Me. 🙂