How to know when you DON’T need a Confidence Coach!
Sometimes, when you have a confidence blip, or feel anxious about being around or riding your horse, the first question is – do I need help?
The second question is – how do I KNOW I need help?
And that is what this blog is about.
Because sometimes, you don’t. Sometimes you have ALL the resources you need already to work your way through the issue and rebuild your OWN confidence.
And sometimes that isn’t enough…and you DO need help!
How can we tell the difference?
Most of us have confidence blips – those times when our horse spooks, does something unpredictable so we feel a bit anxious; or maybe there is so much going on in the rest of our lives that we find we can’t really focus enough with our horses, and that causes us to feel a bit insecure….
Or maybe we haven’t ridden for a while and can feel the butterflies starting to move around a bit…
Or maybe it’s just one of those days and don’t feel “up to it” without a friend to support you.
Some of you may remember the first ever article on this blog – What IS unconfidence? (https://effectivehorsemanship.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/hello-world/)
In that article I talked about how unconfidence is just our unconscious mind working hard to keep us safe. And, just as we don’t have to think consciously about avoiding fire, or not putting weight on a sore ankle, we often don’t think consciously about how we are really feeling about riding our horse.
In that article I shared the idea of having a SCALE or SCORE of unconfidence: where 1 is “I am fine” and 10 is “not in a million years!”.
1-5 represents your “comfort zone”
6,7,8 is the “stretch zone”
And 9,10 and beyond is the panic zone
To stay safe, and to reassure your unconscious that you can be TRUSTED – you need to only do things that are below a 5.
Every time you go above 5 – you make it WORSE
This doesn’t mean you never do anything in the stretch zone – it just means instead of “gritting your teeth and getting on with it” – you work out a PLAN to bring that score of 6, 7,or 8 BELOW a 5
Here’s an example of someone I met recently to see if she needed me. Let’s call her Hannah.
We did her confidence scoring on all the things Hannah does and wants to do with her horse and she decided that hacking out put her at an 8.
We talked a bit, and worked out that the real issue was that she didn’t feel able to ask her fellow hackers to slow down, or not canter – she didn’t want to spoil their ride – and that was making HER feel unsafe.
When we came up with a plan of working with one particular friend Hannah believed WOULD go on hacks with her at her pace, her speed and not comment when she needed to get off – she heaved a massive sigh of relief and said that just THINKING about hacking had previously put her at an 8, but now when she thought of it – she was at a 3 or 4.
Hannah is now confidently hacking out with others, and is taking good care of her confidence.
So – if you think about the issue you are unconfident about – and score it..and it is 7,8 or 9 –
Think about “What would have to be true for this to come down below a 5”
Another client of mine, Sarah, is scared of jumping. When she asked herself this question she came up with a few answers:
“I would have to be on an experienced jumping horse”
“I would have to know I was balanced!”
“I would have to trust that the instructor would respect my confidence”
With this, we were able to use the IDEAS strategy:
I = Identify the Issue: “I want to be able to jump and I am at an 8!”
D = Develop your DESIRED OUTCOME : “I want to jump a 2 ft jump while below a 5”
E = Explore Options: come up with 20 ideas that get you CLOSER to achieving that desired outcome
For Sarah this was where thinking of “what would have to true for me to be below a 5” really helped her and she came up with her options which included:
– Have some seat lessons to improve her balance
– Set up some trotting poles and ride over those a LOT until she felt secure
– Find a friend she trusted to lunge her horse while she could focus on her seat
– Be lunged over trotting poles until her balance was natural
– Set up a “jumping lane” so she would know 100% her horse would not “run out”
– Set up a series of trotting poles and small crosspoles in the jumping lane and watch her horse do them without a rider
– See someone else do it!
– Ride the jumping lane with 6 inch crosspoles until it felt natural
You can see how each option, while not a complete answer in itself, is a step that moves her CLOSER to her desired outcome.
You can also see how important it is to have MANY options….and it often helps to have a friend to brainstorm with at this stage too….
By learning how to do this, Sarah is becoming her OWN confidence coach….
Oh yes, the A stands for Actions – you choose which of the 20 options you turn into actions
And the S stands for SUPPORT – what support do you need to implement your plan of actions….
So here’s your answer:
If you can score your confidence accurately, AND you can identify your DESIRED OUTCOME, and your OPTIONS – then you can create your OWN confidence plan, and don’t need a confidence coach.
Or, more accurately, you are becoming your OWN confidence coach!
IF you struggle with these steps, then it just means you don’t have the resources to solve this one yet, and so getting help from a friend or confidence coach would be a good idea.
I hope this article helps you realise that there are MANY situations where you can be your own best confidence coach – and help yourself to have more fun with your horse
Yours, in Confidence