Horsewomen I work with list lack of confidence as the biggest barrier to achieving their dreams.
Whether your lack of confidence is caused by an accident, a change in life circumstances (like becoming a mother!), or simply the realization that you are not immortal and don't bounce like you used to, the result is the same.
Horse activities that were once your dream, your passion, are no longer fun. Instead you might experience sweaty palms, upset stomach, shortness of breath, intense fear and anxiety. For some horsewomen it becomes so terrible that they no longer want to ride.
You may have been told to just get over it, and get back on the horse. Or that all fear is caused by a lack of knowledge, so to fix it you just need to take more lessons. You may have even tried many different things to get your confidence back, but nothing seems to help.
If this is you, don't despair. It doesn't have to be this way!
So what exactly is confidence?
To put it simply, confidence is trust in yourself.
What have you given up on due to lack of confidence?
What have you missed?
What opportunities have you lost because of a lack of confidence?
I understand these thoughts and feelings! My lack of confidence started after having kids, and realizing that I was no longer immortal, and that my horses were big, powerful animals that could hurt me! So if you lack confidence and feel fear when working with your horse, you are not alone.
I too have felt afraid in the saddle.
I too have felt nervous and anxious.
I too have experienced what it feels like to not be confident.
And like you, I was frustrated by it! I was irritated that most of the information I found about how to gaining confidence in the saddle said that the cause of fear was a lack of knowledge about proper horsemanship. And in some cases I can see how that can be true.
See, the issue for me wasn’t that I didn’t have horse knowledge.
I had plenty of book knowledge about horses-as a youth I was Reserve Champion at the State 4H Expo in Hippology.
I had extensive college coursework and a minor in Animal Science-Equine.
I understood how horses think and react, and I knew what to do to with horses to ride and stay safe.
Digging deeper in my research on how to gain confidence with horses, other information said that fear is caused by a lack of experience. Again, I had experience! I had trained horses, even competed in Extreme Mustang Makeovers. I had years of riding experience and instruction from great trainers. I used to love to show and compete with my horses, I used to work cattle horseback, and I used to confidently explore new trails with my horses.
So what was wrong with me?
Why did I feel this sinking pit in my stomach, this sense of dread of what might go wrong when I rode?
And was I fixable?
Would I ever be able to lope my horse across the pasture again and feel relaxed instead of scared?
Then I discovered mental toughness and positive psychology. Because I love horses, and imagining a life where I didn't ride was not an option! So I began my own journey to rebuild my self-confidence, to overcome the negative self-talk and doubts. And I learned that most of these problems were all in my head, and that by mastering simple mental skills I could again ride without fear. I could again ride into a show pen feeling focused instead of nervous.
Along the way I discovered that horses and life are the same. I focused on learning everything I could on what positive psychology taught about building self-confidence and positivity in life, and what mental toughness taught about building confidence in sports. Then I adapted it all to building confidence in the saddle. And while my focus was to build my confidence in the saddle, I noticed a pretty awesome side effect. As a result of practicing these mental skills, I started to feel more positive with my life in general. It is a cycle-if our life is in balance, if we as a person are more positive, then our horsemanship will improve too. And if we seek to improve our horsemanship, we will improve our life-as our horses are great at letting us know when we are out of balance!
If I can overcome these struggles to regain confidence, be more positive in my life and find the fun along my horsemanship journey, so can you.
Because horses are more than a hobby. It’s a lifestyle.
Are you ready to take back control of your horsemanship journey? Are you ready to feel more confident in and out of the saddle?
You have the ability to go after your horsemanship dreams and regain your confidence. Whether you are a recreational rider, a working cowgirl, or a competitor, the mental skills I teach will help you to face your fears, live your dreams, build a stronger relationship with your horse, increase your confidence and trust in yourself, and ride with grit!
Want to learn more? Click here for a free video lesson to build Unwavering Self-Belief, learn to recognize common self-doubt mind traps, and replace self-doubt with self-belief (and self-confidence!)