Tips for Gaining Confidence
Hi everyone! This month I thought I’d share some of the best ways I’ve found to gain confidence when riding, particularly after a nasty fall! My advice will mainly be specific to jumping, as that’s where I tend to get most nervous, but the core ideas should be adaptable to whatever you find most scary.
Ride with others
Having someone to reassure you if you’re nervous make such a difference! However, it’s important to make sure that you’re riding with the right people. Make sure you choose someone who knows you well enough to understand how far to push you and when you need a break, and that it’s someone you trust. It’s also a good idea to have someone more confident than you! If you’re both nervous, you could end up just amplifying each other’s fears. It’s up to you whether you choose someone you know will give you gentle reassurance, or if you do want to push yourself a bit more, someone who’s good at egging you on.
Set goals for yourself
Work out what seems achievable to you, and by when you think you can do it. For example, if the area you lack confidence in is in jumping, you could aim to gradually raise poles up from the floor, to a small cross, to an upright, over a number of weeks.
Take your time
Make sure that you don’t push yourself too far! Don’t expect to get back on and to straight away feel exactly the same as you did before a fall; your confidence is bound to be a little knocked, particularly if you’ve been injured. Try to take your time, and do things in a time that you feel comfortable with.
Consider getting lessons
Similarly to the first point, having someone on the ground can also really help reassure you. In addition, lessons with an instructor often gives you much more to focus on, which in turn gives you less brain space to worry with! Again though, make sure you choose someone that you’re comfortable with. You could also try using an instructor or a riding school’s horse, if your confidence on your own has been knocked. Once you know you are comfortable doing something on another horse and you know how to do it right, it becomes much easier to transfer the skill.
Everyone is different
Just because these tips are based on what I think has worked for me, it doesn’t mean that you have to be the same. You’re sure to hear all sorts of advice from all sorts of people about regaining your confidence, but at the end of the day, you just have to find what works for you. Give a few things a go, and decide the best way for you! The most important thing is that you enjoy your riding.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me @lucy.lewi on Instagram, or @lucybell345 on Twitter. Thanks for reading!