I only started horseback riding at the age of 26. Although I was very passionate about horses, even before I started horseback riding, I was a very nervous rider. Unlike a lot of people around me I didn’t grow up with horses. I also have existing injuries which I knew could be aggravated by a bad fall.
Here are some tips that helped me – and still do – overcome being a nervous horseback rider.
1. Take horseback riding lessons
A good instructor will increase your confidence with horses. (See our post on tips for finding an instructor.) Horseback riding lessons will teach you many things about horses, including:
- how to ride horses properly
- proper balance, to avoid falling off and causing an injury
- the correct way to get on and off your horse
- the correct way to approach your horse
- the correct way to tack up your horse
A good horseback riding school will make sure you are taught on a horse or pony that is suited to your ability. A good instructor will push you out of your comfort zone and challenge you without scaring you.
2. Get to know your horse or pony
As you bond with your horse or pony over time you will learn what scares them and how they react. Knowing your horse well can make you more confident. There are various horse training skills you can use to make your horse more confident (see our post for making your horse more confident). A brave and confident horse makes a confident rider.
3. Time in the saddle
The best way become more confident with horses is to ride, ride and ride some more. The more time you spend in the saddle the more your skills will improve. As your skills improve so will your confidence.
4. Ride as many horses as you possibly can
Once again, an equestrian riding school will be a great help with this. At a school you will have access to various horses and ponies. Different horses and ponies react differently to situations; they move differently; they have different personalities; they are afraid of different things. Different horses will teach you different things. Learn from them and improve your confidence.
5. Setbacks are learning experiences
Horseback riding, like any sport, is largely a mental game. You will experience setbacks. Take these experiences and learn from them. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Start again slowly, you can always go back to basics and build up again.
The best way to overcome your fears is to face them. Once you’ve experienced a fearful situation you will be able to handle it more confidently the next time it happens. Horseback riding takes bravery. No matter what, be brave, be safe and always keep riding.
“The blog is the personal opinion and views of the author. It contains general information and may contain inaccuracies. You should always seek the advice of a professional horse riding instructor on your own specific situation and circumstances.”