We’ve been talking to Jemma Whitlam who is an equine expert and coach. Jemma has a wealth of experience helping people overcome confidence issues in their riding, as well as having to deal with his/her own. Whether it’s finding the confidence to just get on your horse, leaving the floor, jumping a certain type of fence, or dealing with the pressure of competitions, [name] has hints and tips to help you overcome your issues. Here’s Jemma’s 6 step guide to overcoming confidence issues in your riding.
Take things slowly, one step at a time. Don’t worry about what other people may think and don’t rush. Give yourself time to overcome your issues so you can work through things productively. This may mean giving yourself small, attainable goals that help you on your way.
A coach may encourage you to stay in your comfort zone to begin with. This way, you can train yourself to enjoy riding and being around horses whether this is for the first time or following a period of absence. Focusing on perfecting certain areas will make it easier to battle your demons when they do arise.
This could be a coach, a friend, or a family member depending what it is you’re having issues with. Having someone that you trust on the floor or simply close by can help you to overcome your fears. If you trust this person, it is more likely that you will respond positively when they do start to nudge you out of your comfort zone. When you’re not mid-ride, it’s important to have a good support network of non-judgemental people to talk things through with – you’ll often find that other riders have had experience with similar issues.
This could be because of some sort of an accident, a horse who has misbehaved and put you off or maybe just because you’ve had some time out from riding. If you know where your lack of confidence stems from it will make it easier to get the help you need to get back on track.
While social media and online forums can be great sources of encouragement, you must be careful about taking advice from them. You can’t be sure of the credentials of the people offering the advice and they won’t know the specifics of you and your horse in enough detail to offer advice. Finding a coach who understands you and your horse would be much more beneficial. You may also want to consider other professionals such as sports psychologists to provide you with the confidence boost you need.
It’s generally the things we don’t do that cause us our biggest regrets. Bravery is not about feeling no fear, it’s about fearing something and doing it anyway. Reward yourself for every tiny step you take no matter how insignificant you think it might seem to other people.
Good luck everyone! Working to regain lost confidence is tough – but worth it. Remember, riding and being around horses is something to enjoy whether you’re a professional rider, an amateur who enjoys hacking out, or anything in between.
Have you overcome confidence issues in your riding? Do you have any hints or tips for someone getting back in the saddle after some time off? Leave a comment below and share your experiences with the pet-loving community over on the Lintbells Facebook and Instagram pages.
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