Recognising you have confidence issues around horses or lack of trust in your partnership with your own horse can be hard to admit, but working out what triggers your fear is the first step to dealing with it and is also essential information for any trainer who is serious about helping you.
The following questions provide food for thought. There are no right or wrong answers. However, you may be shocked at the responses that instinctively spring to mind!
1. Do you feel confident riding with your own horse or pony, but feel nervous around horses you don’t know so well? Or is your own horse the one who makes you nervous?
2. Do you prefer others to handle or ride your horse for you? Is this always, or just in certain situations?
3. Do others experience similar problems with your horse, or does he behave perfectly well for other people?
4. When your horse frightens you, what exactly does he do? How much of it is your anticipation?
5. Did you have an accident in the past and are now nervous about something similar happening again, even on a different horse?
6. Have you just bought your first horse or pony and find it very different to the riding school horse who was so familiar? Or did you buy your favourite riding school horse, only to find he’s changed personality?
7. Have you just returned to riding after a long break such as bringing up a family, and find your confidence is not what it was? Or have you started riding late in life?
8. Do you feel you’re not achieving all you and your horse are capable of, or you’ve lost your motivation to keep trying?
9. Do you find yourself making excuses for yourself and your horse about why you can’t ride at certain times or in certain places, weather or conditions?
10. What sort of support do you get from others at the yard? Do you feel they’re judging or criticising you or your horse?