Overcoming Shaken Confidence about your riding – 5 Steps

Overcoming Shaken Confidence about your riding – 5 Steps

by Dr. Mike Guerini, Ph.D. (www.dunmovinranch.com)

It has happened to each of us at one time in our riding career.  Sometimes a well-meaning friend offers advice about our riding and we lose confidence.  Sometimes it is an instructor or clinician or horse trainer that says something and we feel all alone and confused and upset about our present skill level.  I think back many years ago to the first horsemanship clinic I attended… the clinician told me that I was not a good rider, my horse was not good, and my saddle was awful — and I was banished to a corner of the arena for the rest of the day. Needless to say, I was crushed and messed up in the head as I thought about what he said.  I called home and shared the news with my folks and they asked me what my plan was for the following day.  I told them — “I came to learn and that is what I will do.”

I am sharing this with you all to let you know that ALL of us have times when our riding confidence has been shaken or absolutely crushed. I look back on that clinic and clinician and I am thankful for the experience…because of what he said, I sought to improve and get better.

Here are the five steps I suggest to help you overcome times when your confidence is shaken.

1) Write down the comments and advice that you received — especially those key points that shook your confidence.  Put the list away and then come back and read it a few days later.  In the moment we are not always able to look at the criticism or comment and find where it may help us….a few days later we can look it over once again and set up our homework.

2) Go for a ride on your horse.  Sometimes the best way to regroup is to get back in the saddle and go for a ride.  Do not worry about all the advice, just spend some time reconnecting with your horse and the love you have of riding and learning with your horse.

3) Share the experience and your notes with a trusted friend. Ask them to listen to what you are thinking and feeling.  Sometimes just talking things through makes all the difference in you getting past the mental issue that has your confidence at rock bottom.

4) Go for a ride on your horse. This bears repeating.  Get back in the saddle and get back to riding.

5) Schedule your next riding lesson or clinic.  Continue to learn and seek improvement. The clinician who told me I was not good was right (on most aspects).  I needed a better saddle, I needed to ride better, I needed to plan my riding better.  The clinician was wrong in one aspect — my horse was good (she still is good) — I just needed to get better.

The big take away message for you is that you are not alone.  We all have days when our confidence is shaken or seriously damaged.  You have the power to move forward and get your confidence back — I believe in each of YOU.

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Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at www.dunmovinranch.com.  Dr. Mike is also part of Coach’s Corral (http://www.coachscorral.com/), an online Horsemanship Coaching program that specializes in video coaching and the 5 Ride Program.  Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (http://www.hydrot.com/).

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How does your Horsemanship Measure Up?

How Does your Horsemanship Measure Up?

by Dr. Mike Guerini, Ph.D. (www.dunmovinranch.com)

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2015 is here and it is time to start a new year of horsemanship.  How did you do last year? Did you meet all your goals? Do you recall what your goals were for 2014? How did you measure your progress throughout the year and from ride to ride?

Here are five ideas that will help you keep track of your 2015 Horsemanship successes and measurements.

1) Keep a Journal.   Keep track of your daily rides and look back each month and see where you have been and where you are going.  Here is a great resource from the team at Equine Hydro-T for tracking your horsemanship throughout the year.  Click HERE.

2) Use Video to check your progress.  Take videos at the beginning and end of each month.  Sit down and watch the videos and review your progress.  In addition to your own personal review, submit a video to Coach’s Corral www.coachscorral.com and get a coaching review of your riding.  Once you have learned how to video yourself and work on areas you want to improve upon, check in with me and I promise to share with you some of the options available for Virtual showing.

3) Measure your horse’s stride.  Are you working on extensions or rhythm, balance, timing, and cadence.  Rake off a clean area where you ride then walk, trot and lope and measure the length of stride.  Make sure you know how long a stride is normal for your horse.  Maybe your horse has not stretched out…measure and keep track and see if your current plan is helping your horse improve.

4) Time your circles. Are you working on that perfect 20m circle.  Take a stopwatch and time how long it takes you to ride each 20m circle (helps if a friend does the timing).  A consistently sized and shaped circle where the horse is moving with the same timing — will always have the same time show up on the stopwatch.

5) Chart your show progress.  If you are involved in Dressage, keep track of your scores and look for trends of improvement on certain aspects of your ride.  Pay close attention to the comments section of the tests and see if you are getting dinged for the same errors or problems.  If you are into reining, cowhorse, or trail — take the time to get your score sheets (if available) and review them after each show and each month.

Welcome to 2015 and make sure that you set yourself up for success by measuring how well you and your horse are doing.

Thank you for Reading this blog.  Share this Information!

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Dr. Mike Guerini is a clinician, author of multiple Horsemanship books, co-inventor of the Equine Hydro-T and specializes in western performance based instruction and you can learn more about Dr. Mike and his 6 C’s of Horsemanship at www.dunmovinranch.com.  Dr. Mike is also part of Coach’s Corral (http://www.coachscorral.com/), an online Horsemanship Coaching program that specializes in video coaching and the 5 Ride Program.  Dun Movin Ranch is also home to the Equine Hydro-T (http://www.hydrot.com/).