Regaining Confidence: Strategies to Overcome Fear in Horse Riding

A confidence-breaking accident can wipe out the relationship you have with your horse.

When dealing with horses, though, you really have only two choices. One is to give up, and the other is to get over it.

Many riders set impossible goals in their riding, often attempting to do too much before they are ready or sufficiently experienced – this often causes fear.

Many of us know friends or family that are petrified of horses after a ride in their youth went wrong, but it can be more uncomfortable as an accomplished horseperson to admit your horse scares you.

Sometimes fear is because we have over-horsed ourselves. Many novice horse owners have come home with an inexperienced, green horse and later regretted the decision.

Difficult horses and inexperienced riders make a dangerous combination.

If you have taken on a horse that is beyond your skill and confidence level you’ll probably make the horse’s behavior worse, in a worst-case scenario, you could finish up critically injured and never ride again.

If you’re struggling with confidence, it is important to figure out the things you’re comfortable doing, and work on these to gain confidence again.

You need to be honest with yourself, as pride can be a tough pill to swallow. Recognizing that you may suffer from confidence or fear issues is not easy.

Many horse owners unintentionally blame their horses or avoid riding them through excuses rather than acknowledge that their relationship needs some help.

There are many approaches to bounce back after a fear or traumatic experience, and these could include going back to groundwork with your horse, spending more time getting to know your horse after a fall, or just taking things slow for a while.

A good instructor or trainer can make the world of difference. And as hard as it may be to accept, sometimes a different horse is sometimes an answer too.

Many a nervous rider has rediscovered the simple delights of horse ownership when they sold their highly strung horse and took on a more suitable mount.

Realize what makes you happy—and work towards achieving that. It doesn’t need to be jumping a huge fence or galloping a fit horse over challenging terrain. You can have just as much fun enjoying the simple moments of feeding and grooming your horse or quietly lunging a horse that needs to be rehabilitated.

Riding should be a positive experience for both parties. Will 2021 be the year you face your fears and level-up the realtionship you have with your horse?

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