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You Got This Equestrian – 10 Top Tips for Equestrian and Rider Confidence

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

To find out where the You Got This Equestrian Series started click here.

Hayley x

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.

Check out the You Got This Equestrian Clothing Range Here

Website

Instagram

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Let the team share their top tips – You Got This Equestrian – Rider Confidence Series.

Welcome to You Got This Equestrian Confidence Series by Hayley at Red Bear Equestrian.

This week we welcome some of our Brand Ambassadors.

Nadia

Lolly

Lily-May

Alice (and Charlotte)

Caleb

Winnie

Join us while we they share the best parts of being an equestrian and their top tips.

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.

Check out the You Got This Equestrian Clothing Range Here

Website

Instagram

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You Got This Equestrian – Groundwork, Trust and Bond Building.

We all know ground work is one of the key elements to building a bond and total trust with your horse or pony, but it is one of those things that we either love or hate. Plus for many of us either us or our horses have to be in the mood for it, then we have to have the ideas of what we will do, so often riding is easier as it takes less brainpower beforehand and less stuff to set up sometimes.

The last few times we have shared groundwork ideas they have proved super popular so I thought I would share a few more to inspire you for over the next couple of months.

Plus not all groundwork has to be done by adults, with the right instruction and supervision many of these can be done by children to build their bond with their ponies too.

1.Cross a bridge – Exactly as it says you just need to build a bridge, this can be from wood (although make sure its strong enough to hold you and your horse), it could be a tarpaulin, stones, bark chips, matting. Anything that is unfamiliar. This is great for trust building. However the key is to allow time and not rush. You need to allow your horse to explore, to take their confidence from you, your actions and your ques. If you can also add in a vocal aid you can then translate this confidence giving vocal aid into your riding to give confidence in those scary situations. As we all have those.

2. Go for a walk. Yes take them somewhere different in hand. Spend time allowing them to graze, sniff and see new things, to have new experiences. This is not only a good relaxation technique for you and your horse to just be together, it also creates that bond without any pressure. You can use this time to introduce them to new objects or situations. While grazing and relaxed, having a positive experience means what they are being introduced to will be more positive.

3. Water for play – find any water and just allow your horse to see what it does, try it, play in it. It could be a stream, lake, paddling pool, hose pipe. Whatever you have access to. Often they love for you to play in it to and make this into a shared experience. Water fights between my kids, horses and a hose pipe are a firm favourite here as much as it sounds crazy they all love it.

4. Worming or sedating practise – We have all been there trying to get that syringe into our horses mouth, angle it the right way, push the plunger……and our horse throws it all over us! Now is a good time to practise this. Fill an old (clean) syringe with something yummy (ours love homemade apple sauce) and show them it isn’t really so bad, or try putting it in the middle of a carrot or apple to get them used to opening their mouths .Then work on reducing whats around it or in it and adding in a vocal command until you can put the syringe in easily without any aids. Always make sure you reward their efforts.

5 Learn your horses normal vital signs – their pulse, temperature, breathing, etc and teach them that it is OK to have this checked. Often this is only checked when there is something wrong and our horses then associate it with them being hurt or unwell. Making this into a normal fun thing to do, again rewarding their efforts will make life so much easier if they do get hurt or become unwell.

6. Teach them a trick just for fun – Our horses are meant to be fun, otherwise why do we have them. There are so many tricks you can teach them all with varying difficulty, get on YouTube and find something to try out. One of ours, Tom pulls funny faces on command! A totally useless trick but very funny when the kids have friends round. We have also recently started learning about liberty and how we can use that alongside natural horsemanship, so I will keep you updated on that.

I would love to hear some of your top groundwork tips too so head to our instagram page and drop me a message, I cannot wait to hear from you.

Hayley x

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Positivity and Self Talk

One thing that has struck me through recording all of the You Got This Equestrian series so far, is how one technique appears to be used time and time again.

Affirmations. I Can Statements. Positive Statements. Capability Statements.

Whatever you want to call them, their power the power is obvious.

These statements work because our brain, our subconscious, believes what we tell it.

So when we are saying that we believe, that we are emotionally connected to our words, our subconscious has no choice but believe it.

They also work because when we speak out loud not only do we gain a deeper connection, as we are hearing the words in our own voice, but our breathing naturally regulates which takes us from panic and anxiety into a calmer more controlled state.

Couple all of this together and you can see why they work.

So what could you say?

  • -I am calm and in control.
    -I can do this.
    -I am having the most amazing the most amazing ride.
    -My horse is relaxing.
    -This is going to be awesome.
    -With every rider we get better.

However you can sometimes find that when you’re using these statements your brain automatically jumps in and undermines you.

This is our own self sabotaging at work, I will talk more about this at another time.

If you find this happening, one useful thing to try is to just use the main powerful statement.

For example: amazing, relaxing awesome, power, release, strength……

Using these words over and over again changes you’re mindset as its not a peesonalised statement its a power word.

Once you start to change the way you view your ride, you start to improve your belief within your own abilities.

You can do amazing things.

Sometimes all we need is self belief to to realise what we’re capable of.

I would love to hear some of the techniques you use, drop me a message on our Instagram or send me an email.

Hayley x

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Nikki Welch Clumsy_Eventer_Confessions talks with Hayley on You Got This Equestrian

Welcome to You Got This Equestrian Confidence Series by Hayley at Red Bear Equestrian.

This week we welcome Nikki Welch Clumsy_Eventer_Confessions

Join us while we talk equestrian and rider confidence and moving forwards..

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.

Check out the You Got This Equestrian Clothing Range Here

Instagram

Website

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Let’s Talk Distraction – You Got This Equestrian

Sometimes taking your mind off the ‘what if’s’ when it comes to riding is what you really need.

We often overthink, and get inside our own head when it comes to our riding or working our horses in general.

This doesn’t just apply to adults, children have the same issues, we just don’t always see them in the same way, as if it was an adult speaking.

So I want to share three easy activities you can set up today for you or your children, to refocus the mind onto something else.

Often when we shift our focus and stop thinking of the ‘what if’s’ we realise how amazing this experience really is.

  1. Grab a bean bag – Can you sit on it in walk, trot, ect and on both reins, maybe even over poles? Can you keep it between your lower leg and your horse? How about over a small jump?
  2. Small obstacle course – grab some poles, cones, post maybe even a flag, bucket and some balls and set up some activities. Can you move them closer together without loosing your accuracy? or can you beat your last time?
  3. Do this, do that – If there is someone on the ground while you are riding get them to shout out some ‘special words’ each word has a meaning. Eg black means trot, tree means canter, bear means over a pole. How quick can you go? This is so much fun and always distracts and causes giggles. If you are alone, choose a song you don’t know and each time you hear a certain word link that back to changing what you are doing in the same way.

Its all about the distraction.

When you refocus your mind your riding changes.

I would love to know what other games and activities you try to switch your focus.

You Got This.

Hayley x

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Winnie By Wheels talks with Hayley on You Got This Equestrian

Welcome to You Got This Equestrian Confidence Series by Hayley at Red Bear Equestrian.

This week we welcome Winnie By Wheels

Join us while we talk equestrian and rider confidence, set backs and moving forwards, Winnie is an inspiration to all horse riders.

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.

Check out the You Got This Equestrian Clothing Range Here

Instagram

Website

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We all blow it up

you got this equestrian episode 6

One thing I have learnt over my time recording interviews and chatting with a variety of equestrians for this video/blog series is we are all at the mercy of our own mindset and our own perception is usually different to the reality.

Take my daughter for instance, last weekend my (very naughty) fell pony decided that he was so excited at going in the big fields (where he had been daily all easter holidays!) that the only way to deal with it was to bounce and semi rear down one side of the field.

Being on the ground my reaction was to tell her to ride through it as he was just excited and would soon calm.

Her reaction being on his back was that she would ride him but felt he was doing huge rears and was very bouncy.

Luckily we had his excitable moment on video.

Both our perceptions were different to the video.

Videoing lessons is something I used to do a lot so I could reflect but not something I do often now.

I tried it in my riding this week. I turned my video on and headed out.

In my mind he was on edge but I couldn’t understand why. Once I watched the video back I could see why.

It was the same point on every circle he tensed up, why?

It was excitement as that’s where my daughter usually lets him canter. Its funny how they come to expect a set routine even in their ridden work.

If I didn’t have the video, I would probably have blown it up in my own mind.

We do that with so much stuff, create our own version of reality, thinking our ride was awful, hitting that pole was caused by a huge error, the buck was massive, we rode terribly.

We create our own narrative. Video combats that as it shows us the reality.

So….now I am busy looking at Pivo’s. Does anyone have one? What do you think? Do you have an alternative?

As I find that my video on my phone only captures half my ride and even then I need to zoom in.

We can be our best and worst critics but we can also be our best teachers if we just allow ourselves to change the story we tell ourselves about the rider we are.

So I challenge you this weekend, get your camera out, film your riding and see how much potential you and your horse really have and how far you have both come.

Happy Bank Holiday x

Check out the you got this hoodie and t-shirt.

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Laura from Ginger and Tonic Equestrian talks on You Got This Equestrian Confidence

You Got This Equestrian is back. Our equestrian confidence series.

Join me as I chat with Laura from Ginger and Tonic Equestrian.

Join us while we talk equestrian and rider confidence, what works for us and rider mental health..

We need to learn to train and work on ourselves the same as we do with our horses. Confident rider, confident horse.

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 as every week I share blogs and videos, hint and tips.

Plus chat with some inspirational people about their stories and make my way through an equestrian journey.

#equestrianconfidence #riderconfidence #horseridingconfidence

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Horses and Your Energy

lady in a blue hoodie on a horse

Horses are amazing, they pick up on every little change in energy. However that also means they pick up on every change in our energy and our emotions.

There is nothing wrong with deciding that today is not the day to ride and choosing to do groundwork, go for a walk in hand or groom instead.

Not only do horses pick up on emotions and energy they also mirror them.

They can show us what is going on within ourselves long before we realise.

Horses enable you to be able to see what is going on within yourself, however it can also prove to be an issue when we are nervous or unsure as we can easily show this to our horses who in turn mirror our uncertainty. This is a vicious circle and one that often only has one ending.

A ride which goes from bad to worse.

So what can you do?

  • Choose when to ride and when to not, without beating yourself up.
  • Learn to manage your emotions, yes your horse will still pick up on them, but if you can manage them the impact will be much less. There are so many mindsfulnesss and visualisation activities out there. I often use visualisation within my riding.
  • Use distractions, affirmations, singing…..whatever works for you to take your mind away from the negative you are focusing on and back to the here and now where everything is ok.
  • Look for your horses signs, for example during a ride if they start to get frustrated and you get cross and frustrated,they will start to associate that action with frustration. Rather than getting to that point, switch what you are doing, lower the energy levels then go back to it.
  • The more you can remain calm and in control the more your horse will see you as a safe space which shows what is safe and what is not. As soon as your horse starts to feel like this and relaxes, you will relax more. This is the emotional circle that you really want.

BUT most of all remember having a horse is meant to be fun! We forget that sometimes. Take time out to play, to groom, to just spend time with them. It doesn’t always have to be about the ride and often it is trough this time that we learn the most from each other and the biggest bonds are formed.

I would love to hear what you do to manage your emotions around your horses and within your riding.