We've all been there, struggling to find our brave pants the night before a competition. It all went OK at home, but will it on the day? Horses can be unpredictable and it takes time to build our relationship and trust with them. It sometimes doesn't matter how much training you do, or how well you know your horse - the jitters just set in. Losing your nerve is no laughing matter and it can be really frustrating. Read on for our 6 tips to build your confidence riding.
1) Make sure you are physically fit out of the saddle. Yoga and pilates are great for both core strength and relaxation. Feeling stronger and more flexible will give you a natural confidence boost.
2) When selecting a trainer/instructor don't just pick the person with the most accolades. They might be great, but they might not be great for YOU. Try to pick someone who you gel with, who understands your goals and shares your humour. It's really important to look forward to those lessons and trust the person's ability to bring you and your horse on.
3) Break the problem down into smaller chunks - for example if you are worried about hacking out, take a few steps out after a schooling session with someone on foot. The next day, take a few steps alone. Take the heat off the situation and go at your pace.
4) Really channel those nerves into positive energy. Before getting on, remember all the things you love about riding. How far you've come and how great it feels when you achieve your goals. Be sure to have someone help film and take photographs, it feels great to look back and think 'I did that'!
5) Approach your confidence issues with humour, chat problems through with fellow equestrians. You can guarantee someone at the yard will have been through what you're going through at some point.
6) Last of all - always try to have some fun! You do this for enjoyment and that should never be forgotten.