Sometimes I need to step back, see things for what they are (or what they feel like) and take a mental note of where my horse is struggling.
This makes it easier for me to know what my horse is learning, doing well and is easy for him. (Celebrate this as a success in your training.)
It also gives me an idea of what my horse is struggling with, or a weakness for him.
How does this help with confidence?
When you know where your horse excels, for example – they always nail their pivot – you will be more confident in that aspect. You can confidently ask for your pivot knowing your horse is really good at it. As well as know to not over work your horse on what they are confident in and doing well.
If you know your horse is weak with a straight trot/jog off under saddle….know that is the aspect you need to work on and practice. Just expect a little better each time, each ride, and each week will make significant forward progress.
Knowing your horse’s weakness does two things;
It gives you a focus and a plan on what you need to work on a little bit each time you are at the barn with your horse. This builds your confidence in yourself as you have a plan and know what to work on.
If you show, or go out somewhere new, you know your horse. You know what they will be good at or what will not bother them out on the trail. You also know what they struggle with and since you have been working on this at home, you know the best way to approach that situation.
The best approach to building Confidence with your horse is to know your horse, understand your horse (strengths and weakness) and put the time in. With every session or ride you will be building your confidence in knowing more about your horse.
Quick note: All horses have strengths and weaknesses. Just as do we as individual humans. Do not get frustrated, disappointed or down about your horse’s weaknesses. Instead use this as useful information to learn about it each other. Small steps and small progress is the way to the greatest achievement. Do not rush, force or make your horse……just help, create and be there to help your horse in their tougher spots. You are your horse’s cheerleader…you need to show them and tell them they can do it. Make it positive and your weaknesses will become strengths in no time. That will skyrocket your confidence with your horse as well as in yourself.