Regaining Confidence in the Saddle
Having confidence in yourself and your horse on any given day is an ongoing struggle for equestrians. After several bad rides, you start to doubt yourself and your capabilities. You question whether you are the only person feeling this way when in reality, you’re not. Social media can be deceiving, many equestrians choose to only share their highs but never their lows. All over Instagram you see big smiles and blue ribbons, but rarely do you see the struggles that they had to overcome to get to that point of victory. I myself have felt hopeless in the past to the point where I was almost tempted to give up on riding in general. Today, I will share some tricks that I used to overcome this struggle and get back in the saddle.
Remember Why You Ride: Sometimes the solutions to these problems faced by equestrians can be as simple as remembering why we started riding in the first place. Personally, I started because of my love for horses from a very young age. In the fall when I was lacking confidence and wanting to give up, I thought back to what I love about riding: the relationship you build with your horse. I soon realized that if I quit riding, I would have no connection to horses anymore which, of course, I was not willing to get rid of.
Go Into Every Ride With a Can-do Attitude: If you start out the ride with a good attitude, chances are you’ll have a positive ride. Believe it or not, horses can sense their riders fear and if the rider is fearful, they feed off of that negative energy. Sit up tall- imagining that a string is attached to your head pulling you up. As soon as you start to tense up, you 1) won’t have a strong position in the saddle 2) will cause your horse to tense up. Fake it till you make it on this one!
Be Patient!: Your horse spooks at something stupid, keep going and act like nothing ever happened. Overreacting and becoming upset will only worsen the situation and make things more tense. If you don’t nail that perfect canter transition, be willing to retry and get it right. Try until you get it right, but don’t get worked up in the process- be willing to go with the flow. Lastly, know that in the end, finishing on a good note is the most important goal to reach. After all, who likes ending on a bad note? Not me!
Written by Owner/Founder Peyton Meinhardt