I'm lacking confidence... I left my lesson shaking like a leaf!

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I'm lacking confidence... I left my lesson shaking like a leaf!

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  • My horse isn't listening to my aids
  • I am feeling like lack of confidence

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    02-18-2011, 04:38 PM
I'm lacking confidence... I left my lesson shaking like a leaf!

I feel like I lose all sense of balance and control when my horse canters (i don't own a horse, this is just the last horse I rode during a lesson.) although I feel very comfortable at the trot. I don't think my horse is particularly fast or really misbehaved but I felt like I was going at ridiculous speeds!

I think my lack of confidence is causing other problems like my horse not listening to my aids (or maybe my aids are the problem? Not strong enough?). For example, I can tell my horse to go left, but because he sees another horse to the right, he will go right. The thing that makes me the most nervous about this is that if he is walking or trotting (under my direction) and he sees another horse cantering (it doesn't really even need to be really near him :/) he will take off and I panic. And when I panic, my first instinct is to lean forward and grab the mane, which obviously leaves me worse off.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?
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    02-18-2011, 05:08 PM
Green Broke
Sorry this isn't really any help but aren't lesson horses supposed to be well behaved? Especially ones that are supposed to be boosting confidence of someone learning
    02-18-2011, 05:14 PM
I don't think the horse was the problem, i'm pretty sure the problem was my nervousness and i'm looking for advice to get over it!
    02-18-2011, 05:23 PM
Green Broke
Well I still don't think he should taking off because he sees another horse cantering. I personally talk or sing to myself when I get nervous (which happens quite a bit) and I find that helps me. My horse also takes off so I really have to hold him back sometimes. Maybe you need to be stronger with you aids. I'm not saying yank is head and kick him like mad but if he doesnt listen to you asking then be firmer and tell him no this is where I want to go. Are you confident with him on the ground? Hope this makes sense, maybe someone with more experience can help.
    02-18-2011, 05:41 PM
I think you should walk in there with a burst of confidence and immediatley let him know that this is a team effort and you have to work together. Don't be menacing but important. Try and get confident with him, on the ground first. Groom and tack him up and get to know him. This will lessen your nervousness. At the walk and trot itself, work on your aids. Make them clear and use your hands, seat, and legs, not just one of the three-Sometimes voice can help as well. If he doesn't listen, do the exercise again until he DOES listen, this way he knows he is not bossing you around, you are working together. When you see another person pick up the canter, tighten the pressure on the reins a little and let him know you are not even changing the pace until YOU say so. If he does break into a canter, don't get nervous. Stay calm and turn a circle to bring him back. Don't let him go until you say too. At the canter....RELAX and breathe. You know the horse, so trust him. Lean back a little and follow the horses movement. Sometimes humming a tune helps.
    02-18-2011, 06:03 PM
The same thing happend to me when I had my lesson last night on my mare, I was rly nervous cause my lesson before when I cantered I fell off and hit the gate >.< well anywho my trainer said to take a deep breathe and have your
Mind set on cantering and not falling and like you said when he sees another horse and wants to go over there turn him in a circle and then go where you want to go and if he keeps wanting to go over there do it again and again intill he goes where you want him to go, and make sure his attention is ALWAYS on you if he looks to the outside at another horse kinda squeeze your inside rein where his attention is on you, I hoped this helped :)
    02-18-2011, 06:05 PM
And also when you get nervous I always sing a song in my mind or out loud and that calms me down lol
    02-18-2011, 06:30 PM
I so feel for you, I to am struggling to start really cantering again, I used to be fine, and now I'm not, go figure.

The most repeated word my trainer yells at me...........BREATHE, every time I get tense I forget to breathe, which makes me more tense, and if I'm tense I can't sit in the horse, I end up perched ON the horse and bouncing...sound familiar?

I have asked at my next lesson if we can either go into the round pen or if she will lunge me, in that way I don't have to worry about controlling my horse only about the actual movement and feeling of the canter. It also means that I can have a neck strap and hang on, so I can concentrate on that wonderful feeling.

I KNOW that cantering is so much more comfortable than trotting, I know that there is no where for G Man to go, if we are in the arena or round pen, he can't run away, so my fears are really unfounded.

Being so often a nervous rider I can share that others have said works...

BREATHE........breathe out lots, your body will breathe in on it's own, it kind of wants to stop you suffocating, so concentrate on out, before asking for anything from your horse, breathe out.

SINGING, is a great idea, I don't do it so often in lessons but when I'm riding my horse at home, I sing out loud, helps me breathe and relax.

POSITIVE THOUGHTS, I know I should do this in all areas of my life, but I can't, I am though getting much much better at doing it when I ride, first the thought, then the action. I 'see' myself doing perfect canter departures, I 'see' myself doing perfect downward transitions, I know I cam do them, and I can see them in my head, that is the model I'm aiming at in practice.

Right you and me both, I have a show in two weeks, it will be my last walk trot test with Mr G, after that we move up to training level, and I WILL have to canter. So lunge line here I come
    02-19-2011, 02:03 PM
Poor thing, I feel for you!

To get more confidence I think you need to be able to predict what the canter feels like, so you can do a lot of "riding in your mind". To that end, is there any way you can get practice on the lunge line? Also, I think you should be encouraged to hold the pommel, or saddle strap, until you really feel safe. It will-- and should-- be fun. And when you do get in some good canter sessions, hold that thought, and keep thinking it. I also practice virtual riding---it helps!
    02-19-2011, 02:26 PM
What you're experiencing, everyone experiences when they start riding. It's very normal to feel uneasy cantering, to find that you go right when you want to go left, and everything else.

The 'cure' is riding and lots of riding lessons. That strengthens your legs and helps you relax so you can move with the horse when he moves.

You should be riding a pretty laid back, easy horse right now.

But it's inevitable that once in a while, something will make you nervous.

That makes you like everyone else! You have to just relax and let things develop over time.. The more often you ride, the better it will get.

You might want to watch 'The Black Stallion', watch the part where Alec rides on the beach and puts up his arms and just enjoys riding. Just get that image in your mind and keep thinking of it when you ride, it will help you to relax and sit up straight and feel the rhythm of the canter.

beginner, canter, confidence, trot

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