Building Your Confidence When Riding a New Horse


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Fear and horseback riding sometimes go hand in hand. When you’re trying out different horses for sale and buying a horse, it can be difficult to build your confidence. Here are some tips to get you more comfortable in the saddle and more confident when riding your new horse.

Take Things Slow

Before you climb into the saddle, take some time to get to know your horse’s character. Spend time grooming, hand walking, and grazing your horse. Observe how he reacts to distractions, and teach him that you can be trusted. Be patient and calm whenever you handle him, and if he gets nervous about something, calmly work him through the situation and make sure that there is a positive outcome. Once your horse trusts you on the ground, and you trust his behavior, it will be easier for you to transition to the saddle.

Set Him Up for Success

When you do ride your new horse, be sure that he is ready and properly prepared. Just climbing into the saddle when your horse hasn’t been exercised for weeks could result in an anxious, reactive horse, leading to an unsettling ride for you. Lunge your horse before riding and ride in a quiet area during a time where there are as few distractions as possible. Avoid riding right before or after feeding times, or when your horse has not yet had the chance to spend time in his pasture that day.

Start Small

You don’t have to canter, gallop, or jump your horse during your first ride. You don’t even have to trot. Start by working on smaller, simpler behaviors which you and your horse can do well. Work on circles and turns at the walk. Perform a serpentine across the arena. Walk your horse over ground poles. As you and your horse conquer these small challenges together, you’ll enjoy success and gradually be ready to move up to larger challenges.

Remember Your Basics

The better your seat and position in the saddle, the more secure and confident you will feel. Make it a point to remember the basics of good riding. Check your position, bring your heels down, and keep your shoulders back. A proper position will make you a more effective and more secure rider.

Ask for Help

If you have serious confidence issues when riding your new horse, it’s a great idea to work with a trainer or a trusted friend. A trainer will help you get to know your new horse in a safe manner, while also reinforcing your confidence and helping you to enjoy your new partner.

Remember That You’re a Talented Rider

Every time you mount up, remind yourself that you are a good and talented rider. You are capable of riding out spooks, bucks, and fast paces. All riders fall at some point; it’s part of the sport. Remember that even if you’ve had a fall, you’re still a good rider and will have many enjoyable rides ahead of you.

After looking at horses for sale and buying a horse, it’s time to build your confidence so that you can truly enjoy riding your new horse.

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