Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. John Wayne
It's no secret bud is my equine soul mate. We have been through all the good times and not so good times along the humbling horsey road over the years. As a partnership we've smashed personal goals together, brought home the reds and developed that best friend bond I used to dream about as a little girl so why the confidence crisis?
Admittedly ive never been an overly gutsy rider and have suffered with nerves over the years as we all do but something about 'growing up' really chips away at your confidence. I think that I wasn't nesassery braver being younger but maybe ignorant to a lot of 'what ifs'. Personally These 'what ifs' have definitely multiply since having children. I hate how much control nerves really do have over you. This happened to me the other day I was simply by collecting my tack together all of a sudden In the back of my mind id replaced that happy buzz of riding off into the sunset with a horrid sinking feeling that came from no where catching me by surprise.
After completely annoying myself with random irrational fears like 'better not ride, definitely going to get struck by lightning' and 'I'll give it a miss today I just know im going to fall victim to giant sink hole today' I thought about little things I would do before this blip. Things that just used to naturally come to me telling myself to chill out. So here's what has worked for me:
1. Admitting you are worried. if your like me, this makes you super frustrated! It's perfectly normal, just Be honest with yourself. it happens to everyone. Once that's out in the open, talking about it really helps you to understand what's worried you to begin with and lift that weight that can accumulate once you start putting unnecessary pressure yourself. Remember to follow up your negative thoughts with a positive such as 'I'm going to fall off' with 'I'm not going to fall off but if I do I have done before and got back on' or riding out 'a speeding Lorry is going to come round that corner, on fire and full of pigs' turn it around, '…breath! Wow why dont you write a book with that imagination?' In all seriousness I'm never one to invite bad luck by saying 'what's the worst that can happen'. Take a breath and clear your mind.
2.incentive. Something that gets you excited to get on board again. Right now a great one for me is buying a new piece of tack. horse shopping is Always great even if it's for An elephant sized girth for my shameless rolly polly horse. Get those new brushing boots, test them out! Treat yourself to some new jodhpur boots, put some miles on them!
3. Photos and videos are another good one. i love taking pictures. Not only are you making gorgeous memories but There is no better way to document success then actually looking back at yourself achieving what you thought was scary no matter if it's a hack around the block or clearing 1.20m there is No arguing with Hard proof that you can do it. Then post them all on Instagram so we can like it please!
4. Distraction. Sometimes you need to get out of your own head and stop over thinking. I was unaware I did this out loud till recently but I sing to myself once on board. Competing I'd do this every time in the warm up without fail My sound track used to be mumbling some Beyoncé around the area but nowadays it's more like theme to Justin's house or the wiggles. Schooling with friends or in my case my boyfriend a lot of the time is great to give you a boost and inject some good vibes and humour. once you see past the scary its easy to find enjoyment without trying
There are only two emotions that belong in the saddle; one is a sense of humor and the other is patience. – John Lyons
5 Inspiration. There are so many ways to enjoy the equestrian sector nowadays and get inspired! visiting events no matter how big or small make me want to jump on and have a go…bit to ambitious from standing on the side lines at badminton but no doubt it fills you with wonderful ambitions and getting that itch to be back on board as soon as you get down the yard. with social media Nearly everything is accessible such as forums, live streaming shows and favourite riders personal accounts they are super visuals for positivity and show you that its ok to have a set back. horse are hard work and nothing comes over night, let others inspire you with watching each other's journeys. get back on and Go from 'I wish I could do that' to 'look at me doing that!'
6 Time. Be patient with yourself and remember Time out of the saddle doesn't have to mean time out from horses. team work makes dream work and Simply spending days grooming and faffing around your horse really allows you to reconnect and strengthen your bond. I pester bud all the time like a clingy puppy but it gives me such a calming confidence boost to just be poo picking or sorting rugs out….Haven't horses evolved well to have all us as personal slaves! also don't be worried that feeling will go away, unfortunately for our partners and non horsey family members, once horses are under your skin they are there for life. so taking a break no matter how long it is only strengthen that urge we all have. Most importantly don't give up, let yourself fall in love with riding all over again.
These are my personal tried and tested methods and I really hope they can work for anyone. Losing confidence sucks so please feel free to share or add on anything that works for you. Happy pony partying!