Confidence plays a massive part in your riding, this applies to literally everyone no matter what stage or level you are at.
I am sure you as a reader have many tips, or go to rituals you do with your horse on or off the ground to get your confidence up! Have a read below of our Top 6 tips, be sure to add in your thoughts or any confidence tips you have in the comments below!
Whether you are starting back from scratch or getting back in the saddle after an extended break, everyone need reassurance. But first of all you need to reassure yourself that almost every rider of all levels get those nervous feels or gets slight anxiety when it comes to riding horses. It concurs every rider at some point in their riding journey, so you are not alone. Quite often nervous riders make themselves feel worse by believing that every other rider is full of confidence, this is defiantly NOT the case!
Dont Exaggerate The Problem
Quite simply – Don’t over exaggerate the problem. If you are having difficulties with certain aspects of riding, whether it be perfecting your rising trot, getting the correct canter lead or learning flying changes, most of the time when you sit back, relax and stop thinking of the problem they begin to fix themselves properly. Speak with your instructor, make a lesson plan based on the problems you want to fix. Aiming & working towards perfecting & fixing things will give you a new self found confidence.
Persistence is Key
Never give up. I have heard stories about instructors walking out on clients, giving up on the horses saying it is a waste of time. Well my advice, get rid of that instructor & don’t look back! To bond & get the most out of any horse, you must be persistent. And with persistence, you must have the will to practice & practice until you make perfect. If you want something you will get it, isn’t that how the saying goes! So don’t let anyone or any instructor make you feel any less of a rider, or give an excuse for not being able to teach you because your horse “isn’t suited”, any good instructor will find a way to get the best out of horse & rider no matter how difficult it may be.
Take your time
Don’t ever rush into things, take things at your own speed. This could mean walking around the arena for two weeks being led by a friend, if this is what gives you your confidence then that is what you should be doing. Don’t let anyone rush you into things if you don’t want to do them. Find yourself an instructor that understands your needs, go back to the basics if you must instead of trying to get ahead of yourself.
Sit back & relax. This may be harder said than done at times, but once you relax your trusty steed underneath you will begin to also. Riding with tension in your body not only causes your muscles to stiffen up but your horse can sense it straight away. The fear, your the lack of confidence it will ooze out of you & your horse will be the first one to pick up on it. So drop your shoulders loosen your hands and stretch those legs down, sit there & feel the movement of your horse, move with him & you will begin to see a huge difference.
Surround yourself with good people
Surround yourself with positive people. Nobody wants a “negative Nelly” constantly giving out all the time. Going to your horse, to the yard, it is a safe place for most people, you go there to unwind, relax & to spend time with your horse. You want to surround yourself with positive people, good friends, people you can watch & learn from. Sometimes watching people ride well can give you quite the confidence boost in itself as well as a learning boost!
I will let you in on one tip that I live by, one that over the years has given me confidence but has also give me a heads up on keeping my hands close to that neck strap!
I am forever looking at Dante’s ears, if anyone rides him and they ask for any advice before they get on board, the one thing I tell them, LOOK AT HIS EARS! His facial expressions give away your answers to everything! He is literally the definition of a stroppy child!
When he is relaxed & drooping his ears it is a massive confidence boost in itself, it makes me feel like I am doing something right! It lets me concentrate on focusing on getting some proper work done rather than having to deal with the strops of a grumpy horse.
Have you got any go special quirkes you live by to gain your confidence when you get up on your horse?
Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading,