How can you be more confident around horses? - Page 3

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How can you be more confident around horses?

This is a discussion on How can you be more confident around horses? within the New to Horses forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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        10-02-2013, 07:49 AM
    Originally Posted by Doodlesweaver    
    Oh, and PS - everybody says I'm not firm enough with the horses. :) Watch Clinton Anderson videos on YouTube. Those have helped me.
    I've seen some! My brother and I watched some of those when he first got Wildfire! They are really good!

    P.S. Thanks for your advice!
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        10-02-2013, 07:56 AM
    Originally Posted by Northern    
    Be careful asking senior citizens how long they've been around horses, or just plain been around.
    Thanks Northern! Do you know of a website, horse fourm link, youtube video, that talks about horse body language?
        10-02-2013, 07:58 AM
    Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
    Fake it till you make it.

    Meaning.. this mare was known for being a bully. I was petrified of her but I pretended to be all high and mighty despite being terrorized. I had so much gall when I picked up a tumbleweed as a makeshift whip when she decided to ignore my leg or lunge and bite at someone, that it was as scary to her as say a rattlesnake.

    Just.. act confident and soon it will come to pass!
    Ok, thanks!
        10-02-2013, 11:53 AM
    A lot of good advice has been given, and I will reiterate... Just take things slow. The more you expose yourself to horses (and things remain positive!), the less scary things will become! This has built my confidence more than anything.

    As far as body language, I would try googling good book titles. Sorry, I'm not that much help! XD
        10-02-2013, 01:52 PM
    Originally Posted by Zexious    
    A lot of good advice has been given, and I will reiterate... Just take things slow. The more you expose yourself to horses (and things remain positive!), the less scary things will become! This has built my confidence more than anything.

    As far as body language, I would try googling good book titles. Sorry, I'm not that much help! XD
    Thanks Z! It is really encouraging to know I'm not the only one out there! And you did help!
        10-02-2013, 02:32 PM
    I never was afraid of horses. Started riding ponies at the age of 4 or 5. Keep in mind most horses are gentle creatures. I've met a few that were for their own reasons bitters, jittery nervous and might accidentally step on you or move you out of the way when they jumped sideways. I wish I had a good link to set you up with on horse body language.

    I have one barn friend that thinks everytime a horse puts its ears back in a resting position the horse is mad. Not so, they just do that while resting. If they have their ears pinned back flat to their head they might be signaling another horse they are wanting them to "move or else". 2 seconds later they will be totally over it. Saying all that to say if a horse pins it's ears back flat to its head its best to just stay away.

    I hope you find a great place to hang out and a great horse to bond with. They are out there for sure. I love my Arabians. They are considered the nut cases of the horse by some folks of the horse world but, they can be the smartest, kindest, creatures out there.

    One more little story about kids coming to the barn then I'll get off here.: My daughters mare was always a fiery little alpha mare. Some kids about 5yo were here. One of them escaped from out watchful eyes and ran up to my daughters horse and threw his arms around her neck. I was expecting spook, run and her to run backwards away from him. She lowered her head and let him hug her and hang on her neck. She then gave him a rub on his head with her lips. Not a bite just a little affectionate nugey. I was surprised and stood in awe of the ability of horses to connect with people.
        10-02-2013, 07:59 PM
    I've always had confidence/assertiveness issues with horses. I'm a very non-confrontational person, so being around horses has really forced me to leave my comfort zone sometimes.

    To build up your confidence, be around quiet, safe horses as much as you can. Spend as much time grooming and leading (handling from the ground) as you can. Find out where your problem areas are (picking up feet, leading into stall or pastures, etc.) and slowly work on them until you feel really comfortable.

    Have horsey people around you when you work with them, and don't be afraid to ask question after question :-D "What makes him do that?" "When he stomps his foot like that, what does that mean?" "What's the best way to...?" You'll get lots of answers if you ask lots of questions.

    If at any point you feel really uncomfortable then let a more experienced person know, let them handle the situation, and ask them what you should do if the situation arises again.

    A big thing that helps my confidence is knowing what to do and have a plan going into a situation where a horse doesn't behave perfectly. Learn how to handle spooking, bucking, rearing, learn how to do an emergency dismount and emergency stop. If someday you walk by a terrifying plastic bag blown by the wind you'll have tools in your toolbox to handle it.

    A lot of people had said this but fake it until you feel it. Ask the horse nicely but firmly for what you want, but be prepared to TELL them what you want if you don't get it right away. Never rationalize, "That's good enough." If you want the horse to move over two steps, don't only go one, don't go three.

    So top four things - spend as much time with horses as possible, learn how to handle emergency situations, and fake confidence until it's real, and don't settle for less than you asked for! hope this helps
    SamBadger and SammysMom like this.
        10-03-2013, 01:03 AM
    I only skimmed the thread, so sorry if this has been suggested, but I really recommend volunteering at a farm. I got back into horses after a long break by volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, and that made me MICH more confident around horses than I was when I rode as a kid (different situation...I don't mean that it's better than riding, just did more for me than the kind of riding I did).
        10-03-2013, 01:09 AM
    Oh, and I had to come back to say that no matter how scared you are, try not to hold back because experiences that prove you can handle something are a million times more valuable than trying to work up the courage beforehand. The more you ride, the more "surprises" you'll come across, and you'll grow exponentially with every one. For me, it took a few bolts and a few falls off the horse I was leasing before it clicked for me that the things I was afraid of aren't the end of the world. There was this moment where I was just like, "Well, I did fall. So what?"

    As important as it is to be comfortable with horses on the ground, you could spend 12 hours a day grooming a horse and it won't make you any less nervous if you're afraid he'll buck under saddle. But riding through one buck can undo years of fear.
    ErinaStars likes this.
        10-03-2013, 01:12 AM
    This is a great question. I would look for someone in your area who is an excellent rider (of course this may be easier said than done ;). I would then either spend time watching them from the fence, or take lessons with them. Someone who is experienced should be able to talk to you about horse body language, training, and horse psychology. They should give you enough information and "know how" that your feelings of nervousness become more manageable and start to dissolve. Feeling nervous around horses if you are "new-ish" to the sport is smart, there is a lot of hazard potential when working with horses. Getting with people that are good and then spending as much time with them, from my experience is always a good step. Best of luck!

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