“The Soul of Confidence”
I bet you crave that elusive ‘thing’ called confidence. Sure! We all do. Highly likely sometimes you feel it and you could move mountains … and other times you don’t want to come out from under the covers. Confidence can be an enigma. It’s here today and totally evaporated by tomorrow.
And then there comes the challenges? How do you get it? How do you keep it?
I believe the following four elements are essential to be confident on a horse:
1. A MEANINGFUL SENSE OF PURPOSE
Are you connected within to your own personal version of joy with your horse? Are you true to yourself about why you ride and what you value? Are you in touch with it on a daily, or weekly or consistent basis?
Or, are you going with the whims/opinions/negative energy/difference in interests of those around you?
Personal integrity as you make continuing decisions about what you want to do, who you want to do it with and how you want to do it is vital to being confident. Take some time to really consider why you ride … what brings you joy with a horse. If you are making choices congruent with your true desires, that’s terrific. If you’re not, it will undermine your confidence.
When you are honest with and true to yourself, you will be confident.
2. MENTAL FOCUS AND THE ABILITY TO CALL UP POSITIVE EMOTIONS
When you are getting ready to do whatever it is you want to do with a horse, if you don’t focus and if you don’t get into a state of positive emotion (i.e. you feel good no matter what obstacles you must overcome) then you will not be consistently confident.
Mental focus and positive emotional control (calmness with the ability to be rev up assertive energy if/when you need it) are SKILLS. God didn’t decide to leave you out of the mental skill talent pool and give that gift to someone else. You too can develop it just like any other skill.
There are specific things you can do with your mind and your body to focus on demand and get into the groove of being connected with your horse for the job at hand. But these skills have to be practiced indefinitely.
The good news is they are lots of fun when you learn how to do them and become skilled at them. And they work!
3. RIDING SKILLS/HORSE SAVVY
If tomorrow I decided to enter an English dressage show and ride a dressage horse I would not be confident. First of all, I would be walking into the ring in unusual (to me) clothing. It would be a cold turkey situation for me regarding dressage skills. I wouldn’t really know what to do or how to do it.
If I decided to learn dressage (and it would probably be one of the best learning experiences I could ever do!) I would have to start with the fundamentals in practice and go on a dressage learning adventure. My confidence would come from embracing a journey of learning and having fun along the way.
Technical skill development and understanding all about what makes a horse tick are essential to confidence. Ideally it needs to be with a coach or trusted mentor who has your interest at heart. You need someone who cares, who is skilled and who is invested in your progress.
4. BELIEF IN YOURSELF/GRATITUDE FOR YOUR UNIQUE JOURNEY
No matter how much your spouse, kids or friends believe in you and love you, they do not control if you believe in yourself.
When you believe that all of your experiences have a gift in them no matter how difficult they are … and that you do not have control over everything … and that you do not have to have all of the answers right now … then you can believe in yourself and trust your journey. You can be grateful for all you have been given in both gifts and challenges.
Perhaps believing in yourself by always seeking the best in the ebb and flow of the ever changing nature of our lives (both on and off of a horse) is the most important element of confidence.
If you are struggling with your confidence, take personal inventory of the above points. Do what you can do. Let go of things having to be a certain way. Enjoy your horse adventure with great confidence and gratitude.