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Confidence Boosters
I was giving some advice for a friend and thought that all beginners could profit from what I had to say. So here goes[Big Grin][Wink]:

Once you're in the saddle for a ride or a workout, sit on on your horse with him standing still. Try not to pull the reins tight and let him stand. Then take in a deep breath through your nose, hold it for a second or two, and then let it out through your mouth in a relaxed manner. This should help the tension flow out of your body, and you should feel a bit more relaxed. You may want to do this several times slow and easy. I've done this with my riding students, and it does help.

Another exercise to try while sitting on your horse at a standstill is to pick an object somewhere ahead of you and stare hard at it. You will immediately feel your body tense up. Most horses will tense up, too, when you do this. Then broaden your view and take in as much of your surroundings as you can without looking to the sides and relax your focus. You should feel yourself sink into your saddle, your body should relax, and you should be able to feel your horse relax right along with you.

Hopefully, these simple exercises will help you release your tension and relax more in the saddle.

One other thing to keep in mind when it comes to horses: Horses are relaxed and comfortable when their head is down. Not clean down to the ground, but even with or slightly lower than the withers. If the head is up, the horse is usually tense about something or interested in something they see. It doesn't always mean they are going to do something balistic, but it is a good indicator of their mood. So, if you can learn to relax a bit, you may be surprised to see your horse's head drop down a bit and feel him unwind through your seat in the saddle.

The hardest part about learning to ride is to trust your horse. Riding consists of once you have cued the horse to do something, then you must relax and not interfere with the horse so that they can do what you have requested them to do. That trust has to be there.

The thing is to try and stay relaxed and act like nothing is wrong. This will put confidence in your horse quicker than anything. BUT if you feel your horse may do something stupid, just keep your hand near that saddle horn or be prepared to gather up your reins and take control of the horse. The trick is not to tense up until there is a reason for it. Most of the time, you'll discover you won't have to do a thing but ride along on your horse in a relaxed manner, and the more you do this, the more it will become a habit, and the more confidence you'll achieve in your ability to ride.


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