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How To Regain Your Horseback Riding Confidence

Jan 9, 2008
Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action. ~Walter Anderson

If you have lost your riding confidence for some reason or another, if thinking of riding, jumping, competing, loading your horse fills you with dread, think about Mr Anderson's words.

You need to do something about it.

And not just try to do something about it. "Try" is a word that should be used with great care. If you're like most people, when you "try" to do something, that means you are giving less than your full effort to it. If you're going to do something, just do it.

When you try to do shoulder-in, or attempt a jump, or try to load, it gets very confusing for your horse. Are we going to jump over this thing...or not? Does she want me to do shoulder-in... or not? Is she seriously expecting me to get onto this trailer?

That's not to say that you shouldn't proceed with caution or take the time to plan and prepare properly. This isn't about throwing all caution to the winds; it's about the intensity of energy you put forth when you decide to take action. Make up your mind. Merely trying is pointless. You either do, or you do not.

Regretfully, just because you put your full effort into something doesn't always mean that you will be successful. Do not allow this to put you off. Do not regard mistakes as failures, embrace them as learning opportunities. Sometimes you may need to do something dozens of times before you'll get the result you want. To succeed, you need to give everything you have got, every time. If you can't, take a break.

"Trying" is for those people who doubt their ability to do something. It means they would like a successful outcome but sincerely doubt they'll get one. When you start something with such a negative focus, it's no surprise it doesn't work out very well. Instead, make it your mission to simply do it - and do your best - whatever you are planning to do. If the outcome is less than you hoped for, do it again. Or do it differently. Don't waste time "trying" to do anything. It's a complete waste of your horse's attention span and energy.

Talking about taking action...most of us are great learners. We love to read, watch, listen to, and absorb new ideas like a sponge. We love exploring new techniques and ideas to better our riding, improve our relationship with our horse, master new riding skills, and so on. However, when we spend all of our time searching for that "latest, greatest" book or instructor or talented horse, nothing gets done. What we forget is that the most helpful material out there is only as valuable as our ability to put it into practice.

If we take even the most moderately helpful ideas and put them into action, we immediately reap the rewards. Rather than having a vague wisp of knowledge rattling around in our minds, we now have a solid addition to our riding progress. With each new book or video we buy, we can increase the value we receive from it by taking time to work with the techniques or ideas before moving on to something else.

Do yourself a favour: take action now. Don't wait until tomorrow. Don't fool yourself into believing that you have all the time in the world. Don't waste time trying. Don't waste time reading yet another book or watching yet another video.

Don't let another day go by without taking positive action. If you begin by taking even small but determined steps forward, you will gain confidence. Your horse will gain confidence. Your understanding of each other will deepen. Before long, you'll both grow to love the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction you get from moving forward.

Action reduces anxiety. If you want to regain your riding confidence, be active.

So don't just sit there Go clean the tack.
About the Author
Dr de Clermont is a medical doctor, NLP practitioner, equine-assisted counselor and hypnotherapist. Her coaching/counseling practice focuses on equestrians exclusively. More information, equestrian e-books and FREE e-courses at Equestrian Life Coaching. Subscribe to her e-zine, Equestrian Inspiration and get 5 FREE inspirational e-books instantly.
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