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Are you at a boarding barn? Make friends and ride with them. If there's a group of people, talking, laughing just walking around the ring your tension will melt and you will "forget" about the scariness of riding and just enjoy it. When you ride alone you can easily mentally psyche yourself out and your horse is more likely to react to your tension. If there are other horses around your horse that are calm and happy, even if you're tense they probably will ignore you for the most part and just follow along with the "herd". Also, just getting on and riding once or twice around the ring and getting off will help you build confidence. If you ride for 5 mins one day you will say, well that wasn't too bad and kinda fun. And then the next time you might ride for 6mins, etc etc etc. Also, give yourself a goal and stick with it. Say, I'm going to ride once around the ring. Or I'm going to go over to that post and back to the mounting block, etc. If you give yourself a goal to think about other than staying on the horse you start to focus on that and you relax. Good luck and keep us posted!!
 

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As far as relaxation the best thing to do is belt out your favorite song. Even if you just keep going through the chorus. I had a horse that I was jumping and he was a scary horse to jump as he flung himself over fences and I had a hard time rating his speed. So I found a song that matched the canter that I wanted and I sang it the WHOLE way around jump courses. At schooling shows my best friend and trainer at the time made me belt it out so the rest of her students could hear me. To show them that it works. The judge ate it up because I was jumping 3'9" on a little chestnut QH(15.2) and belting out the star spangled banner. I was like ok...what the heck right? And it worked magically because I was concentrating on the singing and just riding unconciously and my relaxed and sure aids were making him pay attention to me. I think quite a few of my friends have it on tape somewhere...but it is not allowed on youtube!! haha
 
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