Whether you’re an experienced horse rider or a complete beginner, nerves will affect everyone at some point during your horse-riding career.
Perhaps you’ve just purchased a pony to learn to ride, or maybe your confidence has been knocked by an incident out on the road.
Whatever your circumstances, we’ve rounded up some top tips to help you overcome the jitters and become a more confident horse rider.
Being confident means a better riding experience, for both you and your horse.
Your pony will perform better when it knows who’s in charge – and that means you!
In the same way it’s important to protect your horse from unexpected injury, it’s also a good idea to make sure you’re covered if you do have an accident.
No one knows what awaits us out on the roads, but by having good horse rider insurance, you can relax knowing that you’re protected – and that should give you an extra boost to your confidence, too!
Let’s take a look at five easy ways to improve your horse riding confidence and get you galloping again in no time!
1 Get the basics right
No one can improve their horse riding confidence if they’re lacking in technique. Mastering the basics will let your riding naturally progress on to a more proficient level and your confidence will follow suit.
As The Spruce Pets points out, some of the most common beginner mistakes include things like not wearing a helmet or riding hat, choosing the wrong footwear or letting go of the reins.
Your posture and your position in the saddle are also key to making you feel stable and secure.
As WikiHow explains, your ears, shoulders, hips and heels should be kept in a straight line.
Pull in your core muscles and keep your back straight but relaxed.
This centres you over the horse’s centre of gravity, which will make communication between you and your equine companion much more effective.
Also make sure that you listen effectively.
By tuning in to your riding instructor and your horse you can help banish those confidence-sapping thoughts in your head and concentrate on the task at hand.
2 Mind over matter
When it comes to riding a horse, mental skill is as important as technical skill.
Your attention should be 100% on your riding and your animal, so that means you should leave your worries and distractions at the door.
Don’t overthink your riding.
Constantly worrying that you’re not doing it right will make you tense and impact your confidence.
Try to find the positives after every ride and training session – don’t just dwell on the bits that went wrong.
Even the greatest riders have room for improvement – and even Championship-winning jumpers have the odd bad day!
3 Make a plan
If you’re just getting over a horse riding accident or injury, it’s understandable that your confidence might be low.
But as the saying goes, you need to get straight back on the horse – both literally and metaphorically.
Speaking on Your Horse, equine confidence coach Helen Rennie had these top tips for getting back in the saddle:
- Make sure you’re physically fit to ride again before anything else
- Start slow and work in your comfort zone
- Write down your goals
Helen says that writing a success plan for the short term will help keep you focused on the task at hand and your confidence levels high.
She suggests that you include things like: what success will look like for you in the next month or so; what activities you want to do with your horse; and what would be the best thing about that achievement.
Having horse rider insurance in place can help you after an accident.
For instance, here at Equesure, some of the benefits could include things like personal dental treatment up to £2,000.
4 Work on your personal fitness
Any horse rider will tell you that good health and fitness is key to being a proficient, confident rider.
You don’t want to feel out of breath within a few minutes – you won’t enjoy your riding and your horse will feel it if you’re struggling, too!
Fitness training improves stamina and balance and having faith in your own physical abilities can help to boost your confidence, too.
As Your Horse explains, you shouldn’t get out of breath too quickly when you ride. Build up your fitness levels with cardio activity like running, swimming or cycling.
A strong core is also crucial for good riding fitness, keeping you balanced in the saddle, so work on your abdominal muscles with a mixture of sit-ups and dorsal raises.
5 Build the bond with your horse
A large part of riding confidence comes from the special bond that you build up with your horse orpony.
If your horse trusts and respects you, controlling them and keeping their attention when you’re out and about with lots of distractions will be much easier.
There are many different ways you can bond with your horse but I Heart Horses lists some of the best:
- Do some groundwork every day to build your confidence and control
- Build communication and trust through agility training
- Groom and turn out your horse every day – by spending time with your equine, you’ll learn their habits and personality
Protecting yourself with horse rider insurance
Here at Equesure, we have over 60 years of combined experience in the insurance market, helping riders find a great deal on their horse rider insurance.
We offer three different types of policy – Junior, Adult and AdultPlus – and our experienced team can talk you through the quotes so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Benefits of horse rider insurance arranged through us can include:
- Public liability
- Personal accident cover
- Personal dental treatment cover
- Cover for saddlery and tack
- Permanent total disablement
Give the Equesure team a call on 0161 425 7015 and get a quick quote for horse rider insurance today.
Remember that you will need separate horse insurance to protect your equine friend and we can help you compare deals for that, too.