There are several mental strategies you can use to build or restore your horse riding confidence. The following ten are particularly effective.
"Horsemanship is not merely a matter of bodily skills, but is based on scholarship and, therefore, is a matter of the mind and intellect. Good horsemanship is based on proper character development and, therefore, is also a matter of mentality and spirit. Without the correct attitudes and insights, there cannot be the right sport." - Charles de Knuffy
1. Be flexible
Always be prepared to change your viewpoint, even radically so if you encounter evidence that prove that you may have been wrong in you assumptions, whether it is about horses, riding or training. It sounds so obvious, but in reality very few riders are prepared to admit that their way of doing may be wrong. We are much more likely to take any advice as criticism, whether it is coming from our horse our, bodies or other people.
2. Stay positive
A lot has been said, and even more written about the power of positive thinking. Most riders have become immune to the call for a positive attitude. However, just because we have heard enough about it does not mean it is any less valid. Cultivate a positive outlook on a daily basis. It is one of the crucial foundation stones that support equestrian confidence
3. Be patient
It doesn't matter how experienced or inexperienced you are as a rider, somewhere along your horse riding career you must have come across one or all of these paramount characteristics : patience, perseverance and the ability to overcome procrastination
4. Get organised
Not always easy if you are trying to juggle all the conflicting demands on your time that is part of modern living. Good organisation and time management do make things so much easier and safer.
5. Resuscitate your sense of humour
Set aside some time to spend on anything that makes you laugh: a good movie, book, stand-up comic, friends...some riders even have horses that can make them laugh!
6. Be prepared
Being prepared is a bit like being organised, except being prepared involves you in actively planning and preparing for a challenging event. Much better to be over-prepare, that to risk your or your horses safety.
Deeply, consciously and regularly. There are even different types of breathing exercises that you can do. Breathing gets oxygen to your brain so that you can think clearly, but it also calms you down, relaxes you and maximises your riding confidence.
8. Be curious and eager to learn
We have all encountered the dressage diva or show-jumping superstar who thinks they know everything. Arrogance can be very detrimental to a horseback rider's health. Always be open to new learning experiences.
9. Accept yourself as you are
And accept your horse as he is. No one is perfect, so don't be a perfectionist. It's a waste of precious riding energy.
10. Aim for balance
In life as well as in the saddle.
Putting your mind through its paces is as important as training your body as a horse rider. Regular mental work outs will not only increase your horse back riding confidence, but will also enhance your ability to master new riding skills and improve your riding performance.