😬 Confidence is so easy to lose and can be difficult to regain but as a veteran in losing (& regaining) confidence; follow my tips and you ll soon be feeling ready to get back in the saddle 😀
1.Take the pressure off. Both of you! Be kind ~ to yourself and your horse. Remind yourself why you love him/her and really focus on the good things. It can be as simple as loving the way their lip drops, or their dapples! Tell him/her this! They may not understand the words but they WILL understand the meaning. Then tell him you love him, with your heart. " put your hand on your horse and your heart in your hand." (Pat Parelli!)
2. If that means going back to basics for you, then do that. If it means not riding until you feel stronger, that's ok. There are plenty of ways to enjoy time with your horse, without climbing on board. Such as:
3. Go for a walk out in hand if you feel able. If you're worried, ask a friend or relative to walk with you. Make it as relaxed as possible, let him browse the hedgerows, or graze on a verge. Keep it short, so you both look forward to doing it again soon. Have no agenda and you can even allow your horse to choose the direction. If you dont feel confident leaving your yard, take a walk around the yard and let him investigate (within reason!)
Jasmine would take me to the hay barn every time if she could!
4. Play with your horse; give him new things to interact with: a big blow-up exercise ball to chase, place a kids windmill in a cone and let him learn to go near it without any force, but reward each try or move in the right direction. You can make creative obstacles, such as a large wire garden arch arch with plastic strips tied to it, or a tarpaulin to walk over. Make it even more fun by placing treats in and around the obstacles, for him to find!
5. Practice some groundwork exercises; moving his feet gives you more control, so teach him to step back out of your space, or disengagement of the hind quarters; you can then develop these exercises on board ~ one-rein turns are such a great confidence boosting tool to have in your kit-bag.
6. Give your horse a good groom and then a gentle massage ~ make it extra special by using some calming massage oil. The smell of lavender is calming for both horse and owner and your horse will soon be super chilled! This is also a fantastic way to bond.
7. Take action to restore your confidence. Depending on your individual circumstances, this might be booking a couple of lessons with your regular instructor, reading a book by, or seeking help from a confidence coach, or downloading some hypnotherapy sessions. Taking action puts you back in control and you can learn techniques that will help in all areas of life, not just riding.
🐎 All of the above will help restore your confidence and strengthen your bond with your horse, and you will soon be back enjoying riding again.
Remember that you do this for FUN! So enjoy your time together; its precious ❤