"Confidence is a feeling, that comes from with in, and we all have it"
"Confidence is a feeling, that comes from with in, and we all have it"
Now what do you do?? You have been seeing your horses every day, but it’s time to ride, how do you get there with out those feelings coming up again.
You start slow………there is a saying in the horse world and it goes something like this:
Beginner riders want to learn advanced maneuvers
Advanced riders want to practice beginner maneuvers
(It’s something like that)
When you see this, you might think well that is crazy, why would an advanced rider want to do beginner stuff. The answer is because EVERYTHING is based off of the foundation. Every single maneuver a horse will do is based off of the basic steps, forward ~ back ~ right and left!! It doesn’t matter what discipline or event you and your horse do, if they don’t know how to do those basic steps, they will never learn a “spin” or a “half halt” …. They need to learn to carry themselves and stay balanced in the movements.
You are trying to gain some confidence back that has been lost, correct?? Now, take a moment and think about your confidence as a maneuver that you want to do with your horse. What are you going to do with your horse? Most times we will just go and give the new challenge a try. I am going to use the example of my mare Pearl and I trying an obstacle course for the first time.
We went into the arena and tried every obstacle, this showed me exactly where we were having troubles. The next step was to then go back to each obstacle and break it down into little goals/accomplishments. She was most scared of the hanging streamers, and at first sight she was having NOTHING to do with it, so inside she was feeling fear and she believed that this “thing” was going to attack her.
The first step for us was to just be close to the obstacle, I didn’t put any pressure on her to go through the obstacle, all I asked was she was ok to just stand beside it. Once she released and I could feel that she was feeling safe and comfortable to stand beside it without issue, I gave her the reward of a couple strokes down her neck. We then walked away and completed an obstacle that she was comfortable doing and would do without any hesitation.
Before I took Pearl back to the streamers I went to the obstacle and made sure that the streamers were parted as wide as they would go so, she could clearly see through them. Then I went to get Pearl and bring her through, she still had a lot of trouble thinking about going through, so instead of letting her stress to much about it I got Mike (my husband) to bring his horse over and go through first so she could follow. This worked great, and again once this was done, we left and went and done something different for a few moments so she could feel confident doing something else.
This went on for a couple hours of opening the streamers more, letting some down, walking away from the obstacle, coming back to the obstacle and every time the obstacle was made a little more difficult for her, but with doing it by little tiny steps by the end of the session she would walk right through. The next day when it was time to go through the full course, she walked through those streamers like she had done it a thousand times.
This is what happens when we take things back to the basics! It is no different for us and gaining our confidence back. If we go back to the absolute basics with our horses, taking it one tiny step at a time it will all come together.
Let’s think about what we have covered so far for the basics, because all this time while you were going out everyday spending time with your horses you were actually going back to the basics.
Here is a list of some of the things that you should be able to do WITH your horse AND with full confidence.
Catching ~ you are showing yourself that you can be the leader in a relationship. Yes! YOU can be a LEADER!
Brushing/Combing ~ if you have been brushing and combing your horse from nose to tail this means that you can touch them ALL over the place. (yes, even in their genital area and under their tail). This also means that you can walk around your horse, in front, beside and behind them safely and confidently.
Hooves ~ cleaning their hooves means that you are comfortable and confident with picking up and cleaning their hooves. You are confident that you are doing it in a safe manner where you are not going to get injured.
Heartbeat ~ Being able to take and record your horses heart beat means that you have the ability change your energy from anxiety, anger, panic to calmly breathing and focusing on your horses’ pulse. Don’t discredit this, it can be such a great way to calm yourself. If you didn’t try it before I dare you to just try it.
Walking/Leading ~ This is something that will directly impact your riding and your horse knowing the basics of riding. Think about it, you getting your horse to lead really well in all directions and all speeds and giving to the pressure of the halter will help them under stand those same pressures when you are in the saddle.
I think you have the idea now, EVERYTHING and EVERY moment that we spend with our horses we are “training” them. We are ALL horse trainers in one sense, because we are either teaching our horses that we are the leader or we are teaching them that we are a follower. Horses need LEADERS!!! CONFIDENT leaders……………AND THAT IS YOU!!
If you don’t feel confident spending time with your horse on the ground doing all of the ground work you need to really look at what is going on inside of you before you will be able to move forward with confidence. If this is you, I strongly suggest you contacting me to talk about essential oils. I didn’t think that oils could impact my confidence around horses but it has truly helped. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain. If you don’t believe me think about how you feel when you walk outside after a soft spring rain….how fresh it smells and we all take a deep breathe. Oils (good quality oils) do the same thing! (this is not a sales pitch, this is just a part of my journey)
If you are confidently doing all of the basics with your horse its time to “bring the streamers” closer together so to speak.
Time to saddle & bridle your horse………. This is something that you want to do while being very aware of how you are feeling. Remember, all your intention is for today is to saddle and bridle your horse……that’s it!! The reason that you should make the goal to only saddle and bridle your horse and not think about riding is because we know that when we are riding, we are not feeling confident so we need to take it little by little so we know exactly where the anxiety starts and what is causing us to feel this way.
Exercises you can do while your horse is saddled:
Lunging – If you are going to lunge your horse make sure that you are lunging for a purpose not just running your horse around a circle.
Checking Their Give ~ this is not an official title but I don’t know what else to call it. When I am checking a horse for “give” I will pull their head around to each side to see if they will “give” to the bit. If they are good here, then I will stand beside them and put one hand on each side of the horn placed as if I was riding. I will then pull their head again to each side. Things you want to remember while doing this is that you want their feet to be still, and that your “pull” is soft you don’t want to be holding them there. You also want to check that they will drop their head when you pull on both reins, so a vertical give.
If you don’t know how to do either of these exercises contact me and I will send you a video of myself doing it.
Setting up some obstacles, going through gates, going through some bushes, walking through your yard around all the “scary” things, setting up poles to walk over, barrels to go around etc etc… finding anything new to do with your horse at this point is a great idea. You are still in your CONFIDENT zone!!
I will leave you with this thought today.
Take the time it takes……and it will take less time!