Horses fulfil a huge spectrum of owners needs, from much loved field ornaments right up to elite equine athlete. Wherever you fit into this scale there is absolutely nothing wrong with your level of horse ownership, unless it frustrates you as an individual. If you are feeling frustrated by your riding, stuck, held back, demotivated then something isn’t right. Owning and riding horses is a lifestyle as well as a hobby and even a professional career for many people, but if its unfulfilling then we need to ask why you’re feeling this way and how can we change this.
Giving yourself the opportunity to better your training and riding has to start with your opinion or yourself. A rider with a poor self image may have thoughts such as:
“I’m not good enough to compete.”
“I’m not experienced enough to go to a show.”
“I’m too old to start now.”
“People will laugh if I make a mistake.”
If you WANT to compete but have these debilitating beliefs then I have good news, none of these statements are facts, they are opinions that are drawn from a place of low confidence. You may have low confidence for several reasons which will need tailored individual support no blog post can provide; but, by working through these thoughts, asking yourself why you feel this way, you might be able to see that they don’t have a strong foundation and actually, if you challenge them with simple known truths you may be able to overcome them quite quickly. E.g.
“I haven’t competed for some time but I’ve trained well and feel prepared for this event and I can only do my best on the day.”
“Everyone starts somewhere and I will learn a lot by going to a show.”
“I am fit and active for my age and equestrian sport has no age limit.”
“If I make a mistake I will learn from it and it’s not the end of the world.”
These second set of statements are the sort of reassuring things we would say to a friend who is having a confidence crisis, but they come less naturally when we are dealing with ourselves. So the next time you’re losing faith in your own ability, try giving yourself the same pep talk that you would give a friend, this way you’re very likely to speak compassionate truths and forego the self limiting narrative.
We are all equestrians with a love of horses and a desire to achieve our goals, whatever level they may be. Ultimately horses are a pleasure and by reducing any feelings of anxiety or low confidence you will be have a far greater sense of fulfilment throughout your riding career.