Often times working with a horse just takes a little bit of guts and a whole lot of confidence. To me exuding confidence is an important part of making a horse feel comfortable. It really is true when people tell you horses can feel your emotions. When your nervous they get nervous. When you tense up your legs your horse will tense up and not perform like you want them to. If you get excited your horse is going to have a little extra hop in their step. It all goes back to the rider. My mom always likes to tell me, it’s never the horse it’s always the rider, which I do believe. Often times, during my many hours of practicing barrels, when I did something wrong I would blame it on my horse. “He dropped his shoulder.” “He isn’t rating when he’s supposed to.” “His pocket isn’t the size I want, I know he can make it smaller.” These are all things that I have said before after a rough run or training. The first thing out of my mom’s mouth is always, “well what did you do wrong?” and as much as I hate to say it, she was normally right about it. I wasn’t asking for him to rate when I should have. I was using to much inside leg and not enough outside leg to close in his pocket. I needed to pick up on my reins a bit more and push my horse up when he dropped his shoulder. All things that I should have done different.
Well, through all my experiences the thing that I notice the most is that when I second guess something my horse is going to second guess something. I tend to always doubt myself, which is a flaw that I know I need to work on. To me, it’s because sometimes I’m not confident in what I’m doing. I’m to worried I did it wrong, or I’m going to “ruin” the horse. So, I want to share with you all how I fix that and the mindset that I get into when I feel the most confident. If you’re going to ask a 1,000 pound beast, with it’s own brain and can think on their own, to do something for you, you have to have confidence. It’s not something that’s easy to come by. I can tell you that first hand, but I hope by me telling you my struggles maybe you can learn from my mistakes…
The Modern Equestrian