Whether you’ve taken a fall that has bruised your confidence, or you’ve just been away from riding because of other commitments, sometimes we all need a little confidence boost. Here are 5 ways that you can help ease the transition to get yourself back in the saddle.
USDF and its Group Member Organizations (GMOs) offer educational opportunities for everyone. These include, among many others, the annual Sport Horse Prospect Development Forum, Sport Horse Breeding Seminars and Handler Clinics, Instructor/Trainer Workshops, L Education Sessions, and various clinics through the GMO Education Initiative. To find a clinic near you to audit, visit the USDF National Education Calendar.
Working with your horse on the ground builds trust and improves communication between the two of you. This offers you an opportunity to become better at reading your horse’s body language that may otherwise be missed when you are in the saddle.
Lunge line lessons
Working on a lunge line can boost your confidence because it gives you an opportunity to be able to focus on yourself and your position, without having to simultaneously focus on where the horse is going, and what he is doing. If you can’t afford to have lunge lessons, or don’t have a trainer or friend to help you out, lungeing your horse yourself can also have many benefits. Like groundwork, lungeing your horse can improve your communication with him, as he becomes more in tune to your cues and your voice commands.
When you feel more confident in your own ability to control your body, this translates to more confidence in the saddle. When you know that you can move your leg the way you need to give a leg yield cue without losing your balance, you and your horse will both be much happier and more self-assured. Many fitness classes focus on functional fitness, which includes components such as balance and flexibility, which are very important in the saddle!
Find more time to spend at the barn or in the saddle
The more time you spend around your horse, even if it’s not riding, the more confidence you’ll gain around him – just like the more time you spend in the saddle, even working on the basics of a correct seat, the more confidence you’ll gain in yourself and your horse.