Everyone who rides wants to be a confident rider, but for many this is a difficult goal. A loss of confidence has many implications as to how well and how safely you ride. Losing your confidence can happen suddenly and unexpectedly or over a long period of time.
First of all, make sure you understand this - almost every rider faces fear at one time or another and many, many riders actually lose their confidence. It is not something to be ashamed of and in most cases your confidence can be fully restored - with the right mindset and the right help.
If you lose your confidence it is important that you build it back up slowly, but surely, and that you recognise that, like a building, your confidence needs secure foundations. If you try to build too fast your confidence will crumble before it gets chance to become fully established...
If you do lose your confidence, other people may say to you ‘'why not just give up?'' But for many riders, no matter how scary riding becomes, giving up is not an option. Many riders have what I call 'the horse gene'. If you have 'the horse gene' you will not give up riding (or the wish to ride) as it is a very important part of your life. So losing your confidence is extremely stressful as you feel under pressure to ride, but you may be completely unable to, or you may still ride but no longer enjoy it.
This problem is more common than you might think! There are various situations that can lead to a loss of confidence and sometimes (many times in fact) it is a combination of several:
Whatever the reason your confidence can usually be restored with the right help and support.
Riding can be dangerous, but it is much less dangerous if you do not take unnecessary risks.
Even if you never regain the level of confidence that you might have had when younger you should still be able to enjoy riding again if that is what you want to do. In fact, I have often been amazed over the years by just how determined some people are to get back to riding despite having quite horrific incidents (and sometime injuries) in the past.
Therefore, addressing any confidence issues as soon as possible and learning how to preserve your confidence is essential for your sanity and your safety. Below are some steps that you can take to help get you back in the saddle and on your way.
For some people, reality kicks in much sooner than others and they accept that with age comes experience. They learn to value different things and so understand that the most valuable horses are not usually the ones that appear to 'breathe fire' and have looks 'to die for' but are the ones that are a pleasure to be around for other reasons.
Horses that are not working hard (and this is most of them) should be fed a low energy but high fibre diet (no grains or hard feed, lots of low energy hay if pasture is not available or is unsuitable) and only supplemented with high energy supplements if their workload warrants it. They should be turned out as much as possible (24/7 preferably) with other horses so that they can behave 'like a horse'.
Believe it or not, it is possible to be over-confident. In fact, this is how people often lose their confidence in the first place.
Remember the saying 'ignorance is bliss', many people get themselves into dangerous situations with horses simply because they have no understanding (through inexperience) of how horses really think, feel and can behave.
When you are first getting into horses it is easy to think that horses are just like humans (but bigger and hairier!) when in fact horses have their own very complex set of behaviours, needs etc. that you should take time to learn about in order to keep yourself safe and your horse healthy (physically and mentally). It is not fair to horses to disregard what is really important to them and replace this with what humans think is important to them.
Work to improve your position and balance! This is one of the fastest ways to restore your confidence, by making you feel safer and more secure as soon as possible. Learning how to ride 'more confidently' by improving how you sit actually makes a huge difference.
So, The Horse Rider’s Mechanic books and Horse Rider's Mechanic online course - are all about improving your position and your balance. Also they teach you how to address and rectify, where possible, any previous injuries that might be holding you back as a rider, why not have a look? You can read the first chapters of the books here on this website...
"What I love most about The Horse Rider's Mechanic System of riding (and teaching) is that it breaks what can be complex issues down into bite sized pieces and teaches you step by step what you really need to know."
"Jane has revolutionised my riding, plus many others that have attended clinics at my property 'The B B Ranch'. She just has such a great way of explaining to riders, both inexperienced and advanced alike. I call her my horsey hero and I cannot praise her enough."
"The Horse Rider's Mechanic System has made a huge difference to my relationship with my horse Milly. I have ridden all my life but Jane showed me how to fix some problems that were blocking our progression."