Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Confidence for the Rider...

Building confidence as a rider is very important.  Confidence is created when a rider is able to perform on a horse with positive results.  A confident rider is able to train and work with his/her horse more effectively than a rider with little or no confidence.  I will tell some ways to build confidence in yourself and horses.

The first way to build confidence in a rider is to have them perform on a well trained horse (if available).  What this does is creates a mindset that a horse is able to do what is asked with the cues used.  If there is a well trained horse available have the rider practice on that horse.  Act as if the well trained horse is not knowledgeable and is just learning.  Practicing in the same way you will treat your colt this will build confidence in the rider's abilities. 

The second way to build confidence in a rider is to confirm a level of comfort.  Make sure that the rider is comfortable while on the horse.  Check to make sure that the saddle is on the horse correctly and securely.  Once the rider is on make sure the stirrups or irons are at the proper length.  Finally check the rein length is correct.  Having the rider know that everything is comfortable and at the proper length eases his/her mind and lets him/her think about other things.

The third way is to work in an area that is controlled.  A round pen, small arena, or an indoor arena.  This limits the horse's ability to run off.  In a small pen the rider should work the horse on the ground.  This will create a connection between the horse and rider.  Do the same things on the ground as you will be doing while riding.  This will mean using different cues but the horse's actions need to be the same.  The rider on the ground should be able to move the horse in all directions.  This builds confidence in the rider because they see the horse doing the correct tasks.

Finally have someone with you while you are riding and learning new things.  This way you can get feedback on what is going on with the horse and yourself.  If things are not going the way you want then start from the beginning or move back a few steps.  It is not wrong to stop and get off a horse and work them on the ground again if the results are not being seen while on the horse.  Spend some time with horses and have fun.

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