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so i fell off my lesson horse recently and a couple years ago. and then something was wrong with the horse that i felt a deep connection with but i cant ride him becuase he might be older than the owners were told. every new horse i try i get really nervous and lose all my confidence. any tips on how to keep my confidence?
 

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stay calm! horses are empaths, so this is really important. they can feel your nervousness, which could make them nervous too.
 

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I guess you need three things: a decent riding barn, a teacher who knows your confidence issues and a reliable animal. In the equation, the horse is the most variable element but you CAN find decent school horses. Also, lots of grooming and ground work to build up your confidence, literally, from the ground up.
 

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Lesson horses shouldn't respond to rider nervousness enough to be a problem. With Mia & Bandit, their fear and my fear had no correlation. They can freak out while I'm completely calm, and they can stay calm when I am nervous. And they are not lesson horses.

Lot of instructors teach equitation based on how very good riders ride very good horses for optimum performance. It would be far better to teach new riders equitation based on what works for staying on WHEN a horse spooks, or balks, or does an OMG Crouch, or stumbles, etc. Your confidence should be rooted in reality - you feel confident you can stay on because you CAN stay on.

To give you an idea of what they might look like, I recommend this video:

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I guess you need three things: a decent riding barn, a teacher who knows your confidence issues and a reliable animal. In the equation, the horse is the most variable element but you CAN find decent school horses. Also, lots of grooming and ground work to build up your confidence, literally, from the ground up.
yes I have those 3 things but for me I am unable to groom and tack up the horse because of covid my instructor just tacks up the horse before i even arrive for my lesson.
 

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Just a little odd tip I found when I was learning to ride is humming. It helped me regulate my breathing and helped me focus on what I was supposed to be doing. It also helped me relax which made my seat more stable.
 

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I'm not sure you'd have any way of knowing whether the following are true wrt your lesson mount, but the horse's saddle should fit him, it should be positioned properly on him, it should be cinched properly (it's not a one-step process), the horse's bit should fit his mouth, and the bit type should be forgiving because inexperienced riders' hands haven't learned how to send gentle signals yet, or how not to send any at all when that's appropriate.

That being said, I once had an instructor who used to give lunge-line lessons to nervous students, to improve their "balance seats." The horse would be in a halter, of course. The student's arms and hands would be in the same position they'd be if a bit were in the horse's mouth and reins were being held. It's one less thing for an inexperienced rider to have to manage, at least in the near term. Once he feels more firmly-planted in the saddle, increased confidence often goes along with that, and he can move on to a bit and bridle.

If the instructor doesn't want to use that method, then I think you should take entire lessons at the walk for at least a few weeks. No jogging/trotting, and certainly no loping/cantering. To avoid boredom for you and the horse, practice turns, circles, direction changes, ground poles, low-speed barrels, side-passing, and so on. All at the walk. This will not only build confidence and improve your seat, it'll also build confidence the horse has in you. They have very good memories of who's ridden them. And it will let you learn to send smooth (and appropriate) signals to the horse without worrying about staying on. That way, if you accidentally send a too-strong signal (hands or legs), you're a lot less likely to cause a wreck.

If you're already in a western saddle, good. It's got a lot more real estate and (to me anyway) feels a lot more-secure than an English saddle. If you're learning in an English saddle, ask the instructor if he or she will let you ride a western saddle temporarily--as long as it fits the horse (an ill-fitting saddle makes for an unhappy animal).
 
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