It might seem a bit weird to be nervous about riding when you love it so much, but everyone gets butterflies in their tummy at one time or another – it’s totally normal! The good news is there’s lots you can do to manage your nerves, and even get rid of them altogether!
There are loads of reasons why you might feel nervous about riding. You could get worried if you have to try something new, or maybe you feel anxious because you’ve booked a group lesson and you’re not used to riding in front of other people. Some riders can ace tricky schooling moves, yet their legs turn to jelly if they even think about jumping over a fence!
Nerves affect everyone differently, too. They might give you a swirling tummy, make you feel sick or cause you to run to the loo every five minutes! Some people’s hands feel numb, or their mouths go dry, while others will yawn loads if they’re nervous
– how weird is that?
Did you know?
Nerves can actually be a good thing because they help you become really focused on what you’re doing
Have a reboot
Not doing something for a while can make you more anxious about it. So, if you’ve had a break from riding because of the lockdown, it’s understandable to feel a little unsure about getting back in the saddle, even if you’re super-excited about seeing your fave pony again. The best way to restore your confidence is to take things super-slowly, and maybe even go back a step or return to the basics.
Talk to your instructor before your next lesson and let them know how you feel. If you go to a riding school, ask if you can ride a pony you feel super-safe on. If you have your own pony, make sure he’s been exercised regularly before you try riding again. Lungeing him for a few minutes before you get on can help him stay calm, too.
Map it out
You might know that you’re unsure about jumping, hacking or going to shows, but pinpointing exactly what’s worrying you can help you come up with the best solution. Why not create a mind map by writing down all the positive and negative words you associate with an activity, and see if you can discover more about your feelings. Then challenge yourself to come up with a few ways you can change things so you’re not so scared.
For more tips on how to give yourself a confidence boost, get your copy of July PONY Magazine now