Hi there - there's lots of posts on confidence or should I say lack of it, losing it and thought I might post on the positive side. I can empathise with everyone - I didn't hack out - even down the path on the same property I graze on for AGES because I was scared to. I had a few bad experiences and got into a cycle of fear and tension and was at an all time low a year or so ago - I even got chucked off in the arena a couple of times - very embarrassing and didn't help the confidence one little bit
But somehow I've come through. I now load up the float and go to the beach alone with my horse for hours on end or take him up into the forest alone - which I know he's not all that keen on. But we now seem to have such a good relationship that I happily ride him on the buckle most of the time and would hack him pretty much anywhere.
What's changed - EVERYTHING has changed - my seat, my attitude, my partnership with Imp. But at the same time nothing big and I think that's the key - confidence is something that you can work at, not something that just appears. You can take really little (pathetic is how I saw mine) steps in your road to recovery and it WILL work out. Ideally the smaller you start the better because for me each good experience was an enormous confidence boost. I would ride to the gate (20m behind the arena) - and then if that was as much as I could handle - that's ok turn around - no incidents so a job well done.
We are so used to training our horses with positive reinforcement, desensitisation and planning a training programme but we don't give ourselves the same breaks. We just see the negatives. Things that helped me most
- getting help (lessons)
- listening to my gut\diagnosing the real problem - I am scared of riding out because I don't know how to handle it when he shies or we get into a confrontation
- ok, so don't! work on your riding skills where you feel safe, so that the real source of the fear is improved then try again in little steps.
Be prepared to ignore people, you know what's best for you. If the lessons are making you fearful - stop and reassess, spend some time working on things yourself instead.
I hope this hasn't been too long and boring
Keep going everyone - you CAN do it.