Welcome to this blog about Confidence for Horse And Human!
I thought a good place to start was by sharing one of the most common questions I am asked: What is “unconfidence”?
The easiest way to answer this is by using a question as an example:
“Hi there. I am an experienced horse rider, and have finally got my OWN horse again after ten years of riding other peoples. And I am scared of riding him! I have no reason to be scared — I haven’t had a fall, he has never been nasty to me — but I am really scared of getting on him. WHY is this? What IS unconfidence?”
What a great question — and one a LOT of people ask.
A LOT more people than you might think go through periods when they are unconfident — and that includes a master of the hounds who led the hunt for years!
Interestingly, we spend a lot of time trying to find the logical reasons for our dips in confidence – -the challenge is that there often isn’t a logical reason at all!
It helps if we understand a bit more about unconfidence.
One thing to know about feeling unconfident, or even afraid – is that it is just our brain’s way of trying to keep us safe. When you feel nervous, worried, frightened about something – this is the way your unconscious mind has of telling you “Don’t do this!” or “you’re not safe doing this!”.
If you think about it, this is a very useful mechanism to have. When you sprain an ankle, your brain quickly realises that relying on that foot is not sensible, and so kicks in with its “safety management” plan – and makes sure you don’t put weight on it while it is healing up. Even without thinking, you will find yourself doing most things with the other, healthy foot. When you are a child, and put a hand in the fire, you learn that it hurts – and from then on you don’t even really have to think about it, you don’t put your hand in flames again!
Sometimes, however, this wonderful survival mechanism gets in the way. I remember when I sprained my ankle, and discovered over a YEAR later, that I was still favouring my other leg and not putting my full weight on the “injured” one! My brain had developed a habit of protecting my sprained leg, and I had never corrected it.
Our unconscious mind acts very instinctively and often without any connection with our conscious mind.
So when you feel unconfident — it is your unconscious mind communicating with you, telling you something. And if you don’t pay attention — what happens? it gets worse.
Why do you feel unconfident? I can’t give you the logical answer you are looking for, but I CAN tell you that you feel unconfident because your unconscious does not think you are safe riding your horse.
This could be because your unconscious knows it is ten years since you had your own horse, that it is very different owning your OWN horse vs riding other people’s, or a part of you has just realised you have made a huge commitment…it could be because of things going on in your life that have nothing to do with your horse…
The fact you are AWARE of your unconfidence is a great thing — I have known people who will say to my face that they have no fear, that they are confident — and yet it is easy to see from how they ride and work with their horses that fear is a key factor in their relationship with their horse.
Once you are AWARE you are unconfident, then you have the option of doing something about it. And you can be SURE about that – – confidence can be built and developed, however worried you are right now. I worked with someone who had actually given up riding — and she is now doing fun rides with friends and riding out alone as many days as she can because she loves it so much!
Of course, you are probably going to ask me HOW you can rebuild your confidence — that is a MUCH longer answer — its the subject of the 5 day Hacking with Confidence course — so lets wait and see what other blog posts come up over the next few days!
yours in confidence,