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CantStopRiding 04-22-2011 10:32 AM

How to get my confidence up?
Hi, Im riding a rather difficult type horse. She's a hunter horse and kinda hard to ride. I get quite worried when we canter and jump, and Im sure she can tell. Its really annoying! I ride weekly and recently I feel like shes getting annoyed with me, any advice? Thanks x

Ali M 04-22-2011 04:40 PM

I'm kind of in the same position. I'm riding a new horse, and don't know her habits/cues/movements very well yet. But she's a horse that needs a confident rider to tell her what to do, so my best advice? Fake it!! :) If you fake it long enough, the confidence will come. Also, practice something until you're both bored with it and THEN move on. You can't be confident with jumping if you're not confident with the canter yet.

CantStopRiding 04-22-2011 05:25 PM

Thanks for the advice :) I know what shes like Ive been riding her for months she's just so incredibly strong but all the 'below' horses are too easy for me apparently lol x

AllThePrettyHorses 04-22-2011 05:43 PM

What exactly do you fear with her, CSR? What is it that makes you nervous? My suggestion to you, and something that helped me exponentially with my poor confidence, was make a list of everything that makes you nervous while riding, then find out how to handle those problems.

I spent several days searching this and other forums, and some other resources besides and made a long list of how to deal with bucking, rearing, bolting, a horse getting strong/fast on you, the horse trying to run back to the barn etc. The thing is, my horse doesn't do any of that stuff and really never has-it was just pointless fears I had because I didn't know what to do if that ever did happen. I still have my share of confidence issues (mostly on the trails), but for regular everyday riding around the property, I can get on her bareback with no fear now, because I'm prepared and can handle anything she decides to throw at me.

Knowledge is what really, really helped me with my confidence.

Northern 04-22-2011 06:01 PM

I'm not being contrary or bashing, but "fake it" doesn't work with horses, & is also risky for your safety. Horses are tuned into your emotions (you're right that she can tell you're nervous), so bluffing doesn't fool them, in the first place.

What you should do depends upon the horse. If she's a nervous horse who requires the rider to have the confidence, then she's the wrong horse for you at this time. You'd need a horse with the confidence to teach you, like a good schoolmaster.

I don't want to say that it's impossible for you to gain the skills to partner this horse, doing all that you can to improve, but you can cross "faking it" off of your list. She knows when you're faking confidence, & will do as her "horsenality" dictates to take care of herself.

CantStopRiding 04-23-2011 12:00 PM

AllThePrettyHorses : Im not sure, just when I head towards a jump I feel that II might fall off.
Northern : She's no nervous horse, she's very confident and shes a 'knows what she wants and how to get it' type of horse.
Thanks for the advice everyone, x

Heatherloveslottie 04-23-2011 12:11 PM

I used to be in a similar situation with Lottie, I've been riding her for 2 years, and she is a hot headed, confident, energetic warmblood that always used to test me. I went straight from riding school horses to her, and I used to be worried to even trot her, but all I can say is just to stick at it. Try and relax, because getting nervous will only make you stiffen up which will just make her worse. Just carry on doing the things you feel confident with her, and once you feel more confident then try a little more canter.

But as for the jumping, on a hot horse you will always feel slightly vulnerable due to the nature of having to completely trust them to get you over the jump safely. I'd do a lot of trot poles and canter poles to get used to the feeling and to boost your confidence that you can do it.

Just practice, you'll get there without even realising. Then one day you'll look back and say "How did I feel nervous doing that before?". You'll find this horse teaches you a lot more about riding than the ones you are too advanced for, just make sure you stay safe and tell your instructor if you ever feel completely out of your depth.

Northern 04-23-2011 02:15 PM


Originally Posted by CantStopRiding (Post 1008882)
Northern : She's no nervous horse, she's very confident and shes a 'knows what she wants and how to get it' type of horse.

Ok, then what you can do is try & let her teach you. The caveat is that she's been getting annoyed with you for being nervous, as per your words. If that continues, things'll get worse. So, I'd watch/feel for that.

It's up to the mare: she's either going to help you, like a schoolmaster would, or she's going to take over.

Good luck with developing your skills!

Kitty74 04-23-2011 09:41 PM

Also, if you're really nervous, i would recommend going back and riding a horse that may be a bit "easy" for you, but will give you your confidence back. Just getting on a horse easy for you might remind you of the fact that you're a good rider after all and bring up your confidence level.

Lis 04-23-2011 09:55 PM

Have you spoken to your instructor about it?
Mine is very helpful and I had a sort of similar fear. I love jumping, jumping is my passion but at my old riding school we were lucky to do a cross pole, two if we were lucky and never anything over 2 ft. Since I have been at my new riding school I have done more jumping than I did in two years at the last place. However suddenly I've been confronted with all kinds of new jumps and new heights and I said to my instructor at the end of a lesson that I was nervous about these new jumps and she listened, put me on a horse that made you work but listened then the next week put me on a school mistress and worked over a new type of jump. We reintroduced courses after a nasty fall while doing one and she put me on a horse who loves to bomb round a course but who comes back to you after a fence and we spent a lesson just playing around over fences. I'm now perfectly happy to work over a course of fences that are 2 ft 9-3ft with all types of fences thrown in except for stiles, got to work on them so more, nasty little fences, really don't like them but my instructor knows that so we know what we need to work on. Small novel there really but I hoped it helped in some way.

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