I have had several questions asking me whether a particular horsemanship approach is better or worse for confidence – some were concerned that the only way to confidence was to “join a rope wiggling brigade” while others were wondering if the only way to stay safe was to “tie my horse down and never let him express an opinion”
The thing is, that confidence is not about what horsemanship path you are on — confidence is YOUR journey.
Every person chooses the way of being with horses that works for them. And, to be honest, a good horseperson is a good horseperson and can be found in traditional, BHS, Classical, Natural, english, eventing, hacking, dressage — you get the point.
And you know what — whichever path you follow, you can have confidence blips.
What matters more than WHICH path you follow, is HOW you follow it.
Confidence is about many things. It can be about:
Reading my horse: do I know what my horse is thinking and feeling well enough to feel safe?
Knowledge: do I know what to do if my horse tenses up? looks worried? spooks? Do I know WHY what I do with my horse works or am I just riding “mechanically”? Do I know how to help my horse relax?
Skills: do I have the physical capability to do what I believe I need to do to be safe?
Experience: I have done this so many times before I don’t even think about how I feel so of course I am confident!
And of course these can be gained in ANY school of horsemanship!
However, confidence can also be about:
My friends: do I have friends who I can trust to support me? To be there for me? To be positive and who I can talk to when I have a wobble?
My family: do I feel supported and cared about by my family, so that whatever stretching I have to do to improve my horsemanship, I have somewhere safe to go home too?
My work: am I happy at work? Is work a source of positive self esteem for me, where I feel valued and respected, giving me a foundation of confidence that is so useful when I am with my horse
My Self: do I have the resources I need to be confident? If I have a wobble, do I have strategies for helping myself? Do I have the knowledge, skills and resources to manage my own confidence effectively?
And these have very little to do with what type or riding or horsemanship you do – -they are more about you and your world.
It doesn’t matter what style of riding you do, or what school of horsemanship you follow – you can experience unconfidence. The good news is that it also doesn’t matter what style of riding you do or what school of horsemanship you follow – you can rebuild your own confidence.
Confidence is about what is inside you. How you think, what you feel, how you handle things.
So when you are working with a confidence coach or instructor the thing to make sure of is not about what THEY do, how they choose to ride and train their horses – it is about how they will support YOU in YOUR journey to confidence in YOUR world.
Those of you that know me will know that I grew up in the traditional world, having lessons at traditional, BHS riding schools, and when I came back to horses after a long break, I decided to learn natural horsemanship. And in the past few years I am also studying Classical riding and horsemanship.
The more different areas I study, the more I realise that when it comes to good horsemanship, the underlying principles are the same. Good riding is about understanding the nature of the horse, working WITH the nature of the horse rather than against it – and understanding yourself well enough to be able to do that.
So to me, it doesn’t matter what your approach to horsemanship is. That is your journey.
My job as a confidence coach is to support you, and help you build your confidence for your journey –
After all, if it’s your confidence, its your journey –
Yours, in confidence