One of the trainers I rode with always said that being a good rider is 90% confidence. I'm sure that training, talent, and dedication comes into play also. Yet, I believe that confidence is the most important due to the fact that the other three attributes can be masked by a lack of it. A rider can't completely relax and focus if they are self-conscious and/or scared.
I still struggle with my confidence every time I ride. In fact, it gets worse as I get older. It's not even necessarily that I'm scared of falling off or getting hurt. Honestly, I'm not really sure why. For some reason I am just not as comfortable in the saddle as I used to be.
Definitely not perfect....
In my own struggles, I've found things to focus on that seem to help me remember that I don't completely suck. So here they are and maybe they can help anyone else out there with the same problem.
Don't compare yourself to other riders
Watching a rider and horse that look "perfect" makes it easy to tear your own skills apart. There are too many factors in riding to compare yourself to someone else. Instead of focusing on how much better you think a person might be, try to learn from them. Pay attention to what is creating that "perfect" look. Aspire to ride like them, but don't get down on yourself because you aren't at the same level yet.
Find the right trainer
A trainer can make a huge difference in how you view yourself as a rider. Make sure you are comfortable with them. Keep in mind that their job is to make you better, not to say what you want to hear. They are going to push and correct you. Mistakes have to be pointed out to be fixed. Constructive criticism along with the acknowledgement of improvement should be expected. If you come away from a lesson feeling like one of those areas is lacking, then it's probably time to find a new trainer.
Make sure your saddle fits you and your horse correctly
There is nothing worse than fighting your position due to an unbalanced, ill-fit saddle. It is nearly impossible to sit and ride correctly. You need to be physically comfortable to be confident, as does your horse. Investing money into having a well-fit saddle is well worth it.
Remember how hard you've worked
You have probably worked your butt off to get where you are, be proud of yourself! Riding isn't always an easy sport to stick with. Don't forget how far you've already come.
Be happy with the smallest of improvements
No one gets good overnight. Make sure you pay attention to even the slightest of improvements and reward your horse and yourself. These small steps are building the foundation of your training and they all add up eventually.
Make realistic goals
When it comes to horses, things rarely go as planned. It's fine to have an ultimate goal, but set small ones to help you get to that point. Don't put yourself on a fixed time schedule as it increases the feeling of failure if you don't meet it. Have a general idea of where you want to be at what point in the future, but be flexible.
Enjoy the ride and be grateful
Have fun! You don't have to be perfect and neither does your horse. Get out of the arena sometimes. Go for a trail ride, take off on a gallop, or do anything else that reminds you why you wanted to ride in the first place.
Most of all, never forget how fortunate you are to be able to do what you love.
If anyone else has tips on this subject, I would love to hear them!
Posted via Blogaway Pro