It is important to celebrate every time you accomplish something with your horse. It is also important to stay motivated by taking the time to step back from all your hard work and have fun. Here are some suggestions:
Play games with your horse. Playing games is a great way to gain confidence while putting your new skills to practical use. In our arena we participate in obstacle courses, relay races, musical rides, and our new favourite activity, equine soccer. You can play these games on the ground or in the saddle.
Go for a hike with your horse. This is a great time of year to get out on the trails and both of you can work on improving your fitness. If you are not sure how your horse will be on the trails this is a safe and more relaxed way to test him out.
Celebrate every success. Make sure everyone in your life knows when you have had a breakthrough or a great moment in your riding. Tell your family - because they are your family they have to listen even if they don't understand. Tell your horsey friends (post it on Barnmice!) - they will get it. If you are reluctant to share your accomplishments with the world at least give yourself (and your horse) some sort of treat for getting over that tough spot.
Pass on your knowledge by teaching someone else. One of the activities I enjoy most is teaching others to understand and work more successfully with their horses. The by-product of teaching is that I learn even more because I really have to think about it. As someone once said, "To teach is to learn twice." Find someone who is also lacking confidence or find a non-horsey friend who would like to learn about horses. Helping someone else and sharing your knowledge is an incredible confidence booster.
Staying motivated and having fun are important tools in building a great relationship with your horse. So take the time to build in some fun activities and don't forget to celebrate aevery achievement.
This is the last post in this Ride WIth Confidence series. I have enjoyed writing these posts and I hope you have enjoyed reading them. The information I have given you has been of a general nature. I will be putting up a Facebook Page in order to proved more specific tools and strategies on a regular basis. Readers will be encouraged to share their own experiences and ask questions. The page is called Ride With Confidence and can be found at:
Hopefully I will see some of you there!