first lesson/confidence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 01:23 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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first lesson/confidence

I had my first lesson today and it went well. All except for my confidence. I am great until the first time he tries to test me. I am so afraid he is gonna try and throw me off. He has yet to buck or rear with me and they asure me he has not one mean bone in his body. I guess I am just comparing him to Macie. I just wish this scared feeling would go away!!
I feel like a wimp!
Will I ever feel confident again on a horse? Will he always try to test me to make sure I know what I want? These are the reasons I am taking lessons. I have decided to keep him there another month and do more lessons. It will be a little expensive but definately worth it!! I refuse to give up.

When the world says "give up"....Hope whispers "try it one more time"
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post #2 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Confidence when in the presence of a horse is the MOST important tool any horseperson can possess. You need to take a deep breath, let all the butterflies in your tummy escape, and tell yourself you are in control and will remain calm no matter what happens. A horse will not listen to you if you are afraid. Horses do not follow fear, they follow confidence. So start by doing things you already feel confident in and then baby step your way up, and your confidence will naturally grow.

I think that people spend so much money on horse "stuff" to better control thier animals when the thing they need most is confidence. You take a confident rider and they can do some pretty amazing stuff on almost any type of horse. You take an unconfident rider and put them on a bombproof horse and they may still have issues. Horses spend thier lives responding to confidence/dominance. It is as much of a natural instinct as the flight drive in a horse. It will respond to confidence and it will follow it. It will look for it instinctively.

My daughters pony is a very cocky little brat with my daughter because she knows my daughter is afraid. I have instructed her to not be a passenger in the saddle, she must believe she is the one in control, to be the one in control. The pony will go through a few minutes of stupidity whenever she gets on her, she trys everything bucking, running back to the gate, rubbing her off, she has even gone so far as to get down on her front knees. BUT if you stick it out and show her she can not scare you away she shapes up and acts proper. When I get on her she is just fine, only with my daughter who is afraid, does this pony try this crap. It is the same when you send a horse off to the trainer because you are afraid of your horse. The trainer who has lots of confidence from all of the experience they have with horses usually has less issues with certain behavior, ITS ALL ABOUT CONFIDENCE.

When dealing with horses things do happen. A horse can rear up, it can buck, it can kick, bite and do all sorts of nasty behavior and you need to educate yourself to understand what to do if it does happen and how to predict when it is about too happen so that you can find assurance in being prepared. It will help to calm your nerves a bit if you better understand what is going on and how to deal with it. It gives you a sense of control when you educate yourself.

I know this is sort of long, but you need to build up that confidence, but stay relaxed too. Always be relaxed and confident when dealing with horses. Take a deep breath and tell yourself "I Can" instead of "I Can't"
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post #3 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 03:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: MD
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It'll take several lessons before you'll relax and feel confident again. Building a confidence is NOT easy and NOT always very quick. Just keep riding (a nice quiet horse :) ) and it'll come.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 07:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I m sure it will come I just get disgusted with myself.
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 07:19 PM
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Confidence IS important but then once you realize that and feel unsure you get even MORE unsure remembering how confident you wish you were and get nervous because you aren't and it just circles forever!

I've been struggling with my confidence lately too. I'm not worried about coming off but I am worried my horse is going to spontaneously collapse and hurt himself some how - lol! My trainer thinks I'm nuts.

What has really really helped me is having someone video tape me riding. Not only can this help you nit-pick your own eq and riding so that you can improve it ALSO helps you see that no... your horse wasn't going as fast as it felt and no, the little crow up wasn't a big rodeo buck and no... the horse doesn't look out of control or or on the verge of falling over around corners.

What also works for me is focusing on the pattern or shape that you are riding. I have a bad habit of reading every little vibe that comes off my horse but when I'm focusing on a task at hand I'm less likely to obsess that he feels tense or coiled up and if I'm not obsessing then he isn't either and we can both focus on what we are actually doing instead of what isn't even happening.

I cannot tell you how much that has helped me! I hope it helps you too :) It all takes time and patience. The more miles you have under your belt the easier it will come and the less you will be worried.

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 08:09 PM
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Oh man do I ever understand - that was all of April for me. I had to get back on after taking two years off (after breaking my forearm from a canter/trip/fall incident). All I can say is YES it absolutely does get better. You just have to put some time in, and slowly but surely you will find that you forget about being nervous/having confidence issues and are focusing on new issues/problems that are related to your riding (could be anything - position, nailing a lead, outside rein issues, etc.).

I can assure you though, that I felt exactly the same way. I just bought my horse about 6 weeks ago, and every time she tested me in the beginning I had major difficulties setting her back in line. Now that I've built up some trust and put some time in I feel MUCH better about it, and can now ask her with confidence for things that she is quite capable of doing.

Don't feel like a wimp! Good for you for doing what you're doing! No worries - we all go through it at one time or another!
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
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I seriously can't tell you what it means to have you all to talk to and get advice from. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know that with the support of you and my instructors I will get through this!
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 10:46 PM
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OP- your last post is awesome. Glad you have the determination to make it thru this. I have had some serious confidence issues too, after taking some bad spills (both me and my horse) in an arena with bad footing.

I love the suggestions of video taping, it really helps! Also, focusing on a task is good. Lunge lessons can help majorly as well. And one last suggestion- try subscribing to Jane Savoie's news letter. She writes them from her horse's perspective and they're fun and playful and a lot of them focus on confidence/fear issues. One recently suggested that focusing on positive points of your ride will increase confidence and help solidify those things. It suggested that after each ride, you keep a little note book and write down 3 things that went really well. It can be as simple as "my horse didn't walk off on me when I mounted" or we finally got that flying lead change perfectly! I have been doing this for about a week and today 3 people at my barn commented on how nicely we were going today and what I was doing differently. Outlook really does make a difference and your post above makes me believe you have the right one! Good luck!

oh also, love your screen name- my TB's dam was called Visiting Nurse and it reminds me of that!
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post #9 of 9 Old 08-31-2010, 10:57 PM
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^^ Love the idea of a positive journal. I actually use this in my 'real' life to help fight depression. At the end of the day...instead of laying there dwelling on past issues and current problems...I come up with a list of things that went really well. You have to give yourself credit! It certainly helps!

I love the idea of focusing on something other than your confidence. It will come. Don't set too many deadlines for yourself. Take things as slow as you can. If you aren't comfortable, tell your trainer. They will understand and they may just have a hint that could help.

Here is my little trick. We all have that one ride...the on that tops all the others. For me, it was on my first horse and we were on a trail ride alone...bareback. I was young but I can still remember every detail of that ride. Before I get on a horse that I am unsure of...I take a few minutes to myself and replay that ride in my head. What was so good about that ride and how did I get there. What do I need to learn today to get BACK there.

Take deep breaths and know that you are in the hands of a professional. Good luck to you! Glad to hear things are coming along!
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