How To Build Your Rider Confidence
Whether you’re at a competition or just training your horse at home our confidence can hold us back. When I first got lucy as a 3 year old she couldn’t canter and every time I asked her to canter I would get myself worked up about it for no reason. She was a big unstable wobbly girl and we hadn’t been together very long, so I didn’t know if she had a buck in her or what her little tricks may be.
This is such a common scenario and all horses have their quirks. It may be something that you face every day or just when you head out to competition and one of the biggest things I learned was awareness and building confidence daily together. So here are some of the things I did to help build our confidence together and what got me through those early days when my confidence was lacking on a new young BIG horse.
As soon as you hop in the saddle take a moment to breathe. Shift yourself from your sympathetic nervous system (shallow breathing) to your parasympathetic system with deep belly breaths. Just in halt, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and breathe out for 4 seconds. Stay there and do that for 10 breaths. This is going to help relax you and your horse and set you up for a relaxed ride ahead.
Find Your Neutral Spine
Tipping forward, leaning back and being generally unbalanced in the saddle affects every movement of the horse and also our reactions. So ensure you know how to set up your good riding posture each and every day with a stable neutral spine. With this well-balanced core strength you will feel much more stable and balanced, so therefore giving you much more confidence.
Smile, it helps release endorphins and get you in a better frame of mind. Even if you don’t feel like it, smile and feel the smile across your face. Exaggerate it and before you now it you will be doing it naturally. Watch how this can change your confidence.
Start just at walk and build your confidence by taking yourself just out of that comfort zone for a few moments. By doing this exercise you will start to develop a deeper seat, more stable legs and a more secure seat. This will help give you more confidence.
Hacking is such a great way to expose your horse to new environments. Stay at walk and begin in places that aren’t to scary. Hack out with company first, then gradually move towards more hacks alone. The more you both as a combination experience new environments together the more confidence you will have together.
Build Your Rider Fitness And Strength
The more confident you feel in your own health and fitness the more confident you will feel on the horse. When we doubt our own ability this can play havoc once upon the horse. So put the time into your own health, fitness and core strength so that you can feel more stable, balanced and in control on the horse.
Surround yourself with support
Get guidance from instructors to help you, join a local club and build confidence by being around people who support and encourage you.
What you don’t know you don’t know. So start learning. Success is a direct measure of your personal development. This doesn’t just apply to horses, but business and life. So never stop learning, read books, watch videos and gain confidence by learning and developing your skills as a rider.
The more fitter, stable and strong you are the more confident you will be on your horse. Download our free guide here to get started.