International polo phenomenon, Sunny Hale, takes us through a few steps to build confidence.
As a rider, there are a few key things you need to know when it comes to having and building confidence. For me it boils down to a process of steps that you will want to learn to master over time. You may already have mastered one or more of them in your current riding ability, but if you are missing any one of these steps, that may be where you are running into issues and your confidence is draining out. My goal is to give you new tools to apply to your situation so you can fix the leaks!
This process I am going to explain takes time and it takes a willingness to realize … you hold the answers to your own success. How much you gain is completely in your own hands once you have the knowledge I am going to give you.
Gaining confidence starts with one decision.
You have to be ready to make a commitment that you are going to solve your fears or doubts. This one decision is the catalyst that will put everything else in motion. Make this decision. Say, “I am going to solve my doubts and fears, this is it. I am going to do it.” That’s your new personal anthem. Repeat it to yourself often. Spend a few minutes each ride with that thought in your mind. Let it sit there. Let it own some space in your mind and thoughts and watch it grow. It is up to you to plant the seed. Plant it and then water it by giving it time to exist in your mind. Keep it handy when you go to the barn and when you start to feel any reminder of the old messaging pop into your mind. This is step one and needs to be repeated until it becomes your new internal message. Especially if you are just starting out in the process to solving your confidence issue, pay attention to this one decision and message. It will begin to drive everything forward in the right direction. Once you decide to make this commitment and take this step, you will be firmly headed in the right direction to becoming a more confident rider.
In this part of the process, expect that you are going to have days that challenge you . Each new experience or old one that pops up that questions you, is nothing more than a test to see how you are doing in your new commitment. Don’t fall for the old message anymore, that was before you were armed with this info and plan. Get ready to whip out your new anthem at the first sign of trouble and keep repeating it until it is your first response to all scary situations and becomes your new habit. Expect to be challenged and, remember, this is a necessary step you will need to take and keep retaking until all of the old messaging that was causing you trouble is gone for good.
A horse speaks a language … you need to learn it.
This is the next greatest element and step you need to know when it comes to gaining confidence as a rider. This is a fact you may not be aware of or never realized played such an important role in your confidence. Understanding that horses truly have a way of communicating and it is through their actions, all of them, will help you become a much more confident rider over time.
A huge portion of self confidence in a rider, comes from knowing how to interpret the message the horse is sending you by their movements and actions, both on their back and on the ground leading up to the ride. Not knowing this language is the root of where most doubts live, because you are not sure or may be completely unaware of what is coming next in their movements.
Everything a horse does is an indication of their mood, their comfort level, their fears, their soundness, or lack of, their trust, their doubts, their previous experiences, their awareness of their surroundings, their confidence, the potential dangers they are sensing, their level of like or dislike for you. All of it is rolled up into a language they speak.
Everything a horse does is for a reason. Stuff doesn’t just happen without any cause and they always announce what’s about to happen by their actions. Sometimes the actions are loud, with abrupt and obvious movements, and sometimes they are barely noticeable, but they all mean something. Something is about to happen next. This is the language you need to start studying each time you interact with a horse.
They will teach you the language if you are willing to listen and let the conversation have two sides.
Once you start to pick up on this language you will have a much better chance of reading the situations you are in with a horse and being able to predict what is next. That is one of the largest keys to confidence as a rider.
For much more check out How to Gain Confidence as a Rider today!