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Marissa Raymo will discuss everything about horses, including horse health care tips, training tips, equestrian friendly trails, horse buying info and much more.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Regaining Confidence in the Saddle

I'm confident, right?
After a rough winter full of horse fiascoes (including a short stint with the horse that "never bucked, kicked, reared, or spooked"), I found myself in quite a predicament. Just months after spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to build my barn, I was faced with an unexpected (and untimely) fear of riding.   

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.

Check out this video for tips on building confidence:

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who has gone from being a fearless rider as a kid to a knee-knocking, gut lurching trembling rider at 50 something, I appreciate your candor and vulnerability.

March 21, 2011 at 7:09 PM 
Anonymous Christine Gauthier said...

Now that it's warming up I'm going to get my 3 kids back to the Equestrian Center and begin lessons again. They love it and it's a wonderful facility with a wonderful trainer (Gaylord Equestrian Center in Gaylord, MI). You're right about being with a trainer you trust and for us, we love Liz K. and how great she is instructing kids to ride. Enjoy your lessons, Marissa!

March 21, 2011 at 10:19 PM 
Blogger Karen Workman said...

Quotable: "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."

Funny and so true. I hope Tex helps!

April 13, 2011 at 4:42 PM 
Blogger joe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM 

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