A confidence-breaking accident can be so destructive to the relationship you have with your horse.
Do you find reasons why you can’t ride your horse today? Perhaps you only have time to lunge your horse, or maybe the weather’s bad, or the horse doesn’t quite seem himself.
If you find that you are regularly making excuses not to ride your horse, you have a big problem.
When dealing with horses though, you really have only two choices. One is to give up and the other is to get over it.
Many riders set unrealistic goals when it comes to their riding, often attempting to do too much before they are ready or adequately experienced – this is oftentimes the cause of fear.
Many of us know friends or family that are petrified of horses after an organized ride in their youth went wrong (often due to a lack of knowledge that was not adequately noticed by the instructor or trail guide).
Sometimes fear is due to over-horsing ourselves. Many novice horse owners have come home with a young, green horse that they were not really experienced enough to take on. You’re seduced by a horses flashy movement, great breeding, or perhaps the challenge of a problematic animal that clearly has the talent to go far, especially for a low price. And you go ahead and buy the horse without really thinking things through.
Difficult horses and inexperienced riders make a dangerous combination.
If you have taken on a horse that’s beyond your skill and confidence level at best, you’ll make the horse’s behavior worse, but at worst, you could finish up injured and never ride again,
If you’re struggling with confidence, it is important to understand the things you’re comfortable doing, and work on these to gain confidence again. You also need to be honest with yourself. Pride can be a difficult pill to swallow and recognizing that we are actually suffering from confidence or fear issues is not always easy.
Many horse owners unintentionally blame their horses or avoid riding their horses rather than acknowledge that their relationship needs some help.
There are many ways to bounce back after a fear or traumatic experience, these could include going back to groundwork with your horse, spending more time getting to know your horse after a fall, or it may mean just riding a bit slower for a while, taking easy trail rides or slow schooling sessions until you feel ready for more.
A good instructor or trainer can make the world of difference. And as hard as it may be to accept, sometimes a different horse is the answer too.
Many a nervous rider has rediscovered simple delights of horse ownership when they sold their highly strung horse and took on a more suitable mount.
Realize what makes you happy – and work towards achieving that. It doesn’t need to be jumping a huge fence or galloping a fit horse over challenging terrain. You can have just as much fun enjoying the simple moments of feeding and grooming your horse, or quietly lunging a horse that needs to be rehabilitated.
Riding should be a positive experience for both parties.
If you feel at all anxious or worried about riding then perhaps 2020 is the year you face those fears and level-up your equestrian goals.