All riders have a confidence knock from time-to-time. Check out our top tips for building it back up
Whether you’ve had a scary experience or a fall, it’s easy to lose confidence and feel more nervous than you used to. People experience these nerves and fears in different ways – you may try to avoid the situation that made you worried in the first place, become anxious (that butterfly feeling in your stomach) or find yourself freezing and stiffening up as you anticipate something going wrong.
Whatever you’re feeling, it’s important to try to build your confidence back up so you can enjoy riding again. Start slowly and work at a speed that feels right for you – putting the right foundations into place will help your riding in the long run!
Slow and steady
If you haven’t felt confident enough to get back in the saddle yet, the best thing is to start on a sensible pony. Your instructor will be able to suggest a super-safe, calm pony for you to try for your first ride back.
Spend some time with your pony on the ground, grooming and chatting to him. The more you get to know him, the more comfortable you’ll feel around him, especially when you’re riding.
Back in the saddle
When you’re ready to get back on, start simple – a lunge lesson is a good idea, or even just having someone walking alongside as you ride can put you more at ease. Keep sessions short to begin with, then gradually increase the length of time you ride for, introducing trot and canter when you feel ready.
Regular lessons will really help you focus on your riding and improve your position in the saddle. The better your position, the more secure you’ll be, which will help you feel safer and more confident.
Read more about building your confidence back up in November PONY magazine – on sale now!