A short video clip form the Intelligent Horsemanship Confidence Master-Class with Daisy Smith, Kelly Marks and Sandra Williams:
Watch the full hour webinar here:
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Horse riding is a thrilling and rewarding experience that can also bring about feelings of fear and anxiety, especially for riders who are starting their equestrian journey later in life. On our Intelligent Horsemanship Courses we see a number of students who are quite nervous about handling or riding horses. Our aim is that when they leave, they will be far more self-assured and confident… Not through ‘Gung Ho’ bravery or psyching themselves up, but by teaching them a safe approach to working with horses. This approach minimizes the risk of injuries and, as a result, instils confidence in themselves.
Regardless of whether you’re a beginner or have been riding for years, these 10 expert tips will offer practical solutions to help you become a more confident rider.
Admitting Your ‘Nervousness’ is the First Step to Becoming a Confident Rider
Various factors can contribute to horse riding anxiety, such as past accidents or witnessing others getting injured. It could also be related to unfamiliar horses, new circumstances, or seemingly irrational fears. A change of lifestyle is a well known factor in bringing about more ‘caution’ in professional jump jockeys riding. Hence the expression ‘They went at a married man’s canter’. The awareness of having something (or someone to lose) may be the first time the rider has ever even considered the consequences of falling.
If you are nervous at all in any circumstances on or around horses, first of all I would like to say a big ‘Well Done’ for admitting it in the first place. There are thousand of nervous riders in Britain. If you admit to the fact and take responsibility for it then you can start to do something positive to conquer your fears in the safest and fairest way and become a more confident rider. Much better than blaming your horse for being ‘nervy’ and prone to napping (because he very likely will be) and punishing your horse for being ‘ungenuine’ and refusing jumps. It is the way forward to a more considered, contemplative and possibly intelligent way of riding and interacting around horses.
Step 1 – Conduct a Risk Analysis
Step 2 – Establish Your Comfort Zone and Work Up From There
Step 3 – Use Proper Safety Equipment
Step 4 – Develop a Stable Riding Position
Step 5 – Find a Supportive Instructor (& Team)
Step 6 – Start with a Calm and Experienced Horse
Step 7 – Practice the “As If” Technique
Step 8 – Focus on Breathing and Relaxation
Step 9 – Explore Alternative Fear-Control Methods
Step 10 – Connect with Like-Minded Individuals