My top tip for gaining confidence in the saddle!
My top tip to become a more confident horse rider is very simple. Give yourself a purpose when you ride your horse! This could be anything from riding a pattern around some bollards, completing a chosen trail or hacking route, a polework pattern, a dressage test or going through a “handy pony” or Trek obstacles course!
The point is, if you have a purpose or goal, your focus will move from the “ifs and buts” to determination to complete your goal. You will also ride your horse forward more positively, which will make your horse more confident in your leadership qualities.
You can become a more confident horse rider by create mini goals within your session to keep yourself riding forward with confidence. For example, opening and closing a gate, riding towards a certain point in the arena, or simply taking your hand off the rein and giving your horse’s neck a pat.
In this short video clip, I am teaching a young rider who wants to ride in open spaces but is worried about her pony getting too strong and taking off.
I wanted to teach her about how to steer her pony with a direct rein, to make her confident that she could turn her pony in order to slow or stop him. So, I played a game of “chasies” in order to give her a purpose. She naturally started to use a direct rein in order to follow me. She forgot about worrying about her pony cantering, and she actively rode her pony forward as she focussed on keeping up with me as I sped up. By the end of the session, she was happily trotting circles in an open field.
Of course, there are a number of other ways to become a more confident horse rider. Relaxation, visualisation and breathing techniques are fantastic. As is working with a trusted instructor, and sticking to riding schoolmaster horses for a while. I am also glad to say that members of Your Horsemanship also gain confidence from being able to follow the foundation courses within the site, and get tips and techniques on how to get over any hurdles they are having with their horses.
If you aren’t a member already, do check it out!