One of the biggest parts of being an equestrian is confidence… but how do we obtain it? In this post, I’ll be talking about how to boost your confidence as an equestrian!
It was the summer of 2018… my horse, Legend, and I were riding out in the arena. We had been working specifically on his right lead to the jumps, and while it was getting so much better, there was definitely still room for improvement.
We circled before the jump, making sure to pick up the correct canter lead, when all of sudden… Legend went down. I remember being tossed and my first thought being: “I have to move or he might land on me” so I scrambled away as quickly as I could. When the dust cleared, I found that Legend fell forward and had actually flipped.
My trainer at the time had been passing by when it all happened, so she ran out to our aid. When all of the nerves calmed, I climbed back into the saddle for one last jump… making sure I didn’t entirely lose my confidence. While it was definitely scary and effected my confidence for quite awhile afterwards… we bounced back.
This story isn’t to scare you, rather to let you know that I understand your fear. I could’ve been crushed that day and I’m very thankful we were both alright!
So without further ado… here’s how to boost your confidence as an equestrian!
Boost your confidence and ride a schoolmaster!
This one might seem obvious, but it really is helpful! Given that all horses are unpredictable, some are more so than others haha! Having a steady horse to ride (who won’t freak out at any moment) will help bring your paranoia down a notch.
This might not be the fanciest horse out there, but it should be a horse that you would put your grandmother on ; -) By riding a schoolmaster, it’ll help you strengthen your seat and balance, so you’ll be ready to get back on your own horse or work with greener horses.
You’re not sure what a “Schoolmaster” means? In most cases, it’ll be an older, more experienced horse who’ll be patient with you, slow down if you become unbalanced (rather than speed up like a green horse might), and just take extra good care of you!
Communicate with your coach!
Though your coach is there to train you, they’re also there to guide you. If you’re not communicating your lack of confidence, them pushing you might do more harm than good.
Sit down with your trainer before a lesson and ask if you can go back to the basics to re-establish that once held confidence. If you have a good, understanding coach, they’ll be happen to oblige to the request! Maybe you’re all set with cantering, but might need to lower the jumps a bit… or you need to do some lunge/no stirrups work to feel sturdier in your seat.
No matter the case, always be sure to let your coach know when you’re struggling with confidence!
Spend more time on the ground!
This might not seem practical when trying to gain confidence IN the saddle, however, how will you trust your horse in the saddle if you don’t trust them on the ground?
This has happened to me many times… I don’t necessarily trust the horse I’m handling and then feel nervous while riding. After all, a horse that is disrespectful on the ground isn’t going out of his/her way to keep you safe while you’re on their back.
Spend more time on ground work and grooming to really start understanding your horse’s behavior. Once you start to feel like partners on the ground, it’ll be easier to have faith in the saddle.
Boosting your confidence
is no walk in the park. Nevertheless, there are plenty of ways to grow as an equestrian and start working WITH your horse rather than against. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of patience to see it through to the end!
Tell me, are there any ways that you boost your confidence as an equestrian?
All the best,
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