Regaining Confidence in the Saddle
|I'm confident, right?|
In my younger years I was fearless. Back then, a broken arm was a symbol of what a bad ass I was; now it's all co-pays and time off work and wardrobe considerations.
So last month I finally committed myself to going back for riding lessons to rebuild my confidence. Together with Liz Snoblen of Equinox Farm in Highland, I'm taking it one week at a time. And so far, it's going pretty well. Liz puts me on her "confidence builders" and throws a few challenges my way, and I'm slowly getting back to where I was just months before.
But the horse giveth and the horse taketh away, and confidence is not something that can be bought or bestowed upon. It's a constant work in progress. A couple of weeks into lessons I overestimated my progress and hopped back onto our 3 year old mare. A few minutes into our "ride", she and I both recognized my fear and after a few crow-hops and a bucking spree that left my inner thighs looking like ground beef, I took a small step back.
For those of you in a similar position, give this a try: Find a drama-free, low key riding stable in your area, "interview" trainers until you find one you trust, and start from scratch.
When I started out at Equinox, I asked Liz to treat me as an absolute beginner; to make no assumptions about what I may or may not know and to advance me as fast or as slow as my skills and confidence would allow. And so far it's been working out alright.