I am so excited to be compiling some of the top tips that our followers shared with us as well as the tips that we use ourselves.
- Think of your confidence like a muscle. When you first start a new sport or take up exercise, your muscles are still, sore, they ache. However with small steps it improves and gets easier. Some days are better than others, some days you will over do it. Your confidence is the same. It requires small steps, time, patience and the acceptance that there will be good days and not so good days.
- Keep a diary. We often do not see our own success and progress. Simply as we focus on the negative. Keeping a note of our rides means you can look back and see how far you have come, celebrate the wins, no matter how small. When we see progress we are spurred on to do more.
- Keeping on the topic of seeing progress, so many of those featured in the You Got This series so far have talked about the power of video. Filming your rides and lessons means you can watch them back and not only learn from them but see what went well. Again we often focus on the negative, rather than all the positives, when you watch it back often you see it wasn’t as bad as you thought, and again celebrate that, celebrate your wins.
- Take the pressure away. Sometimes a week off either riding, in hand work, hacking, schooling, whatever it might be is just what you both need to reset. Then restart slowly. There is nothing wrong with a week of grooming and bond building.
- Breath! Honestly its the first thing to go wrong when you are worried or panicked. Practice taking slow deep breaths, when you regulate your breathing it also has a calming effect on your horse. If you find this really hard, try singing or talking or telling your horse a story. This forces you to regulate your breathing. It really does work. i have many times been seen riding around singing away or talking about what has happened in my day (yes to my horse).
- Phone a friend. Is there someone who could walk out with you, just be there, be on the end of a lunge line? Often just the reassurance of someone there (the right kind of person) helps us calm and also gives us someone to talk to, regulating our breathing.
- Remember the sayings you always heard when you first started. “Heels Down”, “Back Straight”, Boobs Out”, Don’t Look Down”, “Shoulders” “Point your hips where you are turning”…. all of those and more. Position does help. Easier said than done sometimes, but the right position helps us feel more in control and our horses to feel calmer.
- Try some ground work. It is a great way to build a bond, learn new skills, try out seeing scary things and teach you to relax. We wrote a blog on this previously here.
- Rides or any work with your horses do not have to last an hour! They can be 10 mins. Small, tiny steps, break it down and take it slowly. Ending each time on a high for you both. If that means riding to the end of the road and back, once around the arena and working up from there. Do it. There are no rules.
- Don’t rule out additional support. No matter if that is an instructor (and try a few until you connect with the right one), a trainer or a course that specialise in confidence building, hypnotherapy, mindset work, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). There are so many options out there. Asking for help is not a weakness it is a strength.
Horse rider confidence and equestrian confidence needs to be spoken about more, I am excited to bring you, You Got This Equestrian where we discuss real topics and give real tips that work for real riders.
Join me every week for more inspirational stories, hints and tips to support your equestrian confidence journey.
Confident rider, confident horse.