I Need Confidence
I've worked through a lot of issues with my horse...most of which were actually my fault and my fault alone. Actually, I'd say ALL our issues were my fault. I've progressed a lot in the last couple years, and we're finally at a good point.
On the ground, I'm calm, confident, in control, and my mare would follow me to the ends of the earth if I asked her. We have trust, respect, and an overall good relationship on the ground.
However, when I get on her...I seem to lose confidence. There are days when she's totally laid back and chill, and those days are great, but she's young and full of pep and spunk (not to mention she feels good and energetic in cold weather) and when she starts getting fast and outward-focused, I seem to shrivel up and become...for lack of a better word, the underdog.
I know that's the WRONG thing to do, and that I should always remain cool, calm and confident, but it's hard for me to do. I'm not a naturally dominant/aggressive person, and my first instinct is to stay quiet and unnoticed to get out of trouble...obviously, this doesn't work with horses.
What can I do to become more confident? I know it's a pretty broad question, but I hope there will be some answers out there.
The biggest difference between a confident rider and a non-confident rider is the first one manages a situation while the second one reacts to it when the horse does something silly. Use your non-confrontational personality to your advantage. You don't want to be loud and reactive up there. You do however want to be very clear and consistent. A lot of times when horse's act up, they are just looking for more direction.
Since your confidence seems to stem from control issues when she is spunky, I highly suggest learning the one rein stop. Teach it to both yourself and your horse within the safety of a ring. Start at the walk and do it until you can do it in your sleep and get the same result each time. Then move onto trot and finally canter. I cannot speak for others, but what this did for me is give me the tools to stop my horse in any situation. The sheer knowledge that I can bring my horse to a complete stop no matter what, over time boosted my confidence 100%. What you should find is, that once you know how to manage a situation, you will be able to do just that, calmly and clearly and not react or panic. It will take time to come, but I can vouch for it's effectiveness. My horse decided to take off last week in the woods. I simply managed the bolt and we were walking again 30 seconds later. It's gold!
You'll get there! Good luck.
I think a lot of it has to do with her being young and relatively unsure of herself, and when I get unsure I tend to just sit back and let her be a brat, and that's not what she needs. I always care way too much about what she's thinking, and how she's feeling, and that's always been a huge part of the problem. The more I want her to settle down and be happy and comfortable, the brattier she is, and the days that I have the mentality "I don't give a rat's @ss what you think/want", she's really good. I need to focus on...not being so focused on her.
I just got a new horse a week ago (been out of horses for 2 years for college) and she was perfect when I went to see her and now she jerks when I brush her and seems antsy. I almost feel like i'm more confident on her then on the ground... so pretty much the oposite of you... I have been dwelling on this thinking maybe she just needs time and we just need to get to know eachother more. The bad thing is I cant really spend time with her during the week because of work.
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