What do I mean by the confidence conundrum? Well, I think confidence is a balance, not enough and it can hold you back, too much and you can take risks and end up in trouble. I think it is important to feel confident in whatever you are doing and yet still be aware of any risks so that you can make an informed decision whether to proceed or not and what safety measures you need if you do. Let me give you an example.
You want to enter a cross country competition at 3’6” but you have never even jumped before. Do you saddle up and head out to the nearest jump and make that 3’6” your first one? Of course not! First thing you do is find an expert that can teach and coach you. You find someone who will support and encourage you, allowing you to go at your own pace, who doesn’t push you too hard. We only make progress when stretching the limits of our comfort zone so it’s important you do this together. You know where those limits are and your body will tell you when you are just beyond them or blasting through them!
Then, you start off with poles on the ground or a little cross pole jump just a few inches high. You learn how to ride into a jump, count strides, balance, communicate with your horse, ride a canter correctly and change leads (I am not a jumping expert so making it up). At each point once you feel confident you move on to the next by, say, increasing the height of the jump or the pace you are jumping in. You ensure you have the skill and the confidence at each level to keep yourself and your horse as safe as possible.
It is important with confidence to build a solid foundation to prevent the house falling down later on. Master the basics, take small steps and look after your confidence along the way, as the saying goes ‘don’t run before you can walk’. If your foundation is strong enough a small knock won’t make any difference, it will be a learning experience on what to do or not to do next time.
To you and your confidence,
Caroline Andrews - Horse Rider Confidence Specialist