Building confidence to overcome fear is building yourself as a rider.
The more confident you become in your ability as a rider to handle anything that comes up or work through any problem is what truly overcoming your riding fear looks like.
This takes miles in the saddle, putting in the time, and getting stronger and more balanced as a rider.
Here is one of my favorite balance exercises to get you started.
This will help you build balance, core strength and a deeper understanding of your body and the muscle groups you will need as you ride.
STANDING IN YOUR STIRRUPS
As with all exercises you will start at a halt, then progress to the walk, then trot and then move up to the lope/canter. This exercise can be done regardless of discipline.
You are going to begin at a halt, and for the first couple times you do this exercise you can use a little help from your horse’s mane or saddle horn.
The goal of this exercise is to stay tall and straight, up and down from the top of your head, down through your back, hip, leg and exiting out the bottom of your heel.
So you are imagining a straight line or a broom stick that is straight all the way through your body.
Keeping your chin level, look straight up ahead of you and stand straight up in your stirrups, stretching tall, and tightening through your abdominal (core) and holding your chest up and shoulders back. Make sure to keep a deep stretch down into your heel and softly close your legs around your horse.
For the first couple times, you may reach out and grab mane or saddle horn, but do not allow yourself to round forward!! The key is to hold this position as long as you can, using your core and shoulders to help adjust your balance and creating a deep stretch into your heel.
This is a great exercise in building confidence in yourself as a rider as you are working on balance, correctly adjusting your body and feeling where you need to be to stay tall and aligned.
Having a spotter or friend on the ground to help make sure you are staying straight and aligned is great to have for this exercise.