How to Become a More Confident Rider?
Confidence plays a big role in one’s riding performance. Like in any sport or, actually, just anything in life - the more confident you feel about yourself the better you perform. Mindset is one of the key success factors.
But how to actually find that inner confidence when it’s not there?
1) Fake it Till you Make it :D
It might sound funny to you, but there is a science behind it:
Amy Cuddy from Harvard Business School found that standing in a more confident
“power pose” actually makes you feel more confident. While the research community is still debating over her results, I think that the most important thing is this: It works.
Just try it out for a few seconds: Stand (or sit) up tall and make yourself as big as possible. Chances are, you won’t need a psychologist to explain to you that you feel better.
This posture technic can be easily implified in horseback riding. Just sit straight, pull your shoulders back, make sure your heels are down and legs are in correct position as well as your arms. Imagine you are a professional dressage rider/professional showjumper and this is just another training for you. You will notice that now you are feeling much more confident!
2) Let the horse move
Even if your horse is acting a little anxious, just let him move and be more assertive in what you are asking. Don’t do a thousand things at a time trying to fix the problem. This will most likely just confuse your horse and it certainly doesn't look good from the outside.
3) Be patient
Your horse is not a robot - he will have his bad days and it’s totally fine. Just wait a little longer for his response if needed. Do a longer warm up if necessary too. Don’t forget that it’s a learning process for your horse as well, so don’t expect perfection from him!
4) Don’t worry about mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes. Even olympic riders do and it’s totally fine! Don’t be ashamed of your mistakes - it’s part of the learning process! Don’t forget that it will take time for your muscle memory to “remember” all the correct moves, in other words, create a new neural pathway.
5) Think Less!
Horse Riding is like a dance! You have to feel the rhythm of your “partner”. Don’t think too much about what to do next, just see how it feels.