New Horse...No confidence


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
I too like lunge lessons - but at the end of a lunge lesson my RI would unhitch the horse and just leave me alone to control the horse. Lunge lessons are often quite fast - and the other speciality of that school was to work in walk off the lunge.
That is how you can gain confidence - walking your horse, breathing deep to relax yourself and the horse, feeling the movement of the hind legs thro your seat, giving her something to think about by steering her - riding corners and circles and weaving through poles. But all in walk.
Breath deeply and relax. Ride halt walk transitions using as little rein and leg as possible, reducing your cues. Teach her to stand while you mount and dismount. And not to move a off till you ask. And possibly then after two or three weeks when you know each other you may be ready to ask gently for a little trot - on a 20 metre circle.
I would do some ground work too on leading and halting and then trotting up (which is part of the BHS stage One stable management). A horse that lstens to you and respects you on the ground will be more likely to listen when you ride.

And I agree, I prefer a bigger school - more space between the corners.It is harder to balance going round corners at speed. But then for years I did little in my lessons except walk and after any scare I would go back to the school and start from square one, doing all the walk exercises over again.


Well-Known Member
Aug 8, 2004
I like Skib's advice. That is what I do when I'm feeling nervous - lots of work in work but with interesting things in it - 10 metre circles, serpentines, figures of eight - stuff to keep her and my mind occupied. I am also a fan of the twenty metre circle. If you are finding the whole school scary, just start on a 20 metre circle - especially when you go up a pace. I've had many sessions where my share horse has been rushing in trot where I have only trotted her on a twenty metre circle - often spiralling in to 10 metres and then out again to 20 - and have only 'gone large' in walk. Obviously it isn't a permanent solution - but who cares about that - just take it one little step at a time.


New Member
Apr 18, 2017
Thanks for the responses. I really did put a lot of effort into looking for a horse suitable for my level. The YO and my riding instructor have both said she is a dream to ride. I think I did just get a fright that time and it's knocked my confidence a bit. I'm going to try and work on a twenty meter circle tonight and use those poles to half the's massive. I might just hand walk her around the area so she's sees the poles and understands that it's smaller.

I think I will stick to walk for a while and try and build up my confidence on her bit by bit. It's funny the time I tried her and the first time I rode her after I got her I wasn't nervous at all. I feel like I've gone incredibly backwards but hopefully it will all fall into place with a bit more work.
Likes: Trewsers


Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2006
Are you thinking of poles on the ground to mark off a smaller area, or raising them on wings or similar? My only concern if it's the latter is that she may view them as jumps & that's unlikely to help your confidence.

Is there anyone who would stand in the school with you when you ride? Not necessarily teach, just be there.

I get the feeling you're focusing too much still on what happened & that really doesn't help, try to push it out of your mind before & when you ride & instead put a positive picture there.
Likes: Kite_Rider


Tomorrow can change what happens today
Mar 15, 2008
A field
How have you got in with smaller area?

We all have wobbles with a new horse. I guess my naive self wouldn't expect a horse suited to a novice to do two laps of a huge school without being able to be stopped.
But, moving on, be light and polite and see how you go. Maybe call the old owner and ask what the voice cues are if you do not know. They might be the obvious or they might as with mine have a whistle that will mean something. It's only if you loose school her you will find out what that means if you happen to whistle. :)
Likes: Trewsers