3 reasons why every horse rider needs to build their resilience skills

To overcome challenges

Owning & riding horses is an exciting, exhilarating and sometimes exhausting journey of amazing highs and sometimes the lowest of lows. While we can make plans and set goals, horses seem to have a knack for disrupting them! Horses go lame, they injure themselves, they struggle with movements or jumps, they pull shoes off, they find creative ways to add complications and challenges. And that’s without considering the impact of the weather, transport issues, yard problems, equipment changes, the state of the ground, access to facilities and coaching, our wider life and the inevitable stresses and strains that can become part of our daily lives.

Of course, horses don’t do any of this on purpose or with any predetermined plan, but even so we can end up feeling frustrated, struggle to find motivation and find it difficult to see a way forward.

However when we build our skills of resilience and mental toughness, we become more able to find solutions and face our challenges with determination, hope and positivity. We become better able to see the broader context of the situation we find ourselves in, and we take problems less personally. We are better able to make sensible, appropriate decisions to help us move forward.

To build self-confidence

Self-confidence comes when we believe that we can manage and cope with any situation we find ourselves in. Self-confidence is a skill that can be learnt. However, in order to build our self-belief and know that we can manage whatever life (or our horse) throws at us, then we must learn how to become more resilient and practice those skills of mental toughness, of ‘bouncing back’ from adversity and struggles. 

For many riders, a lack of confidence comes from self-doubt, from worry and anxiety that we won’t be able to cope in a particular scenario. Riders stay stuck in this endless cycle of anxiety and over time become less and less resilient, and thereby reinforce their belief that they can’t do XYZ. 

Resilience and confidence develop and grow strong together when we repeatedly practice the skills required to create evidence that we can manage, we can cope with whatever comes. But when we don’t even try, we can’t shift that limiting belief that we’re not good enough / strong enough / capable enough to do XYZ with our horse. 

By learning how to become more resilient, and therefore more confident, we start to shift our mindset to explore all of the possibilities and opportunities available to us in any given moment. We are better able to find solutions to the obstacles in our way, and we’re more able to achieve our equestrian dreams and goals, even when things don’t go to plan!

To achieve their goals and dreams

Every rider has things that they would love to be able to do with their horse, whether it’s galloping along a beach, hacking out on their own, competing in a certain competition, going on a pub ride, travelling to a lesson with a famous trainer. Those little, or big things are what keeps our passion alive. They give us something to aim for and something to aspire to. 

However, many riders lack self-belief so badly that they can’t even begin to imagine how it might feel to achieve their dreams, with statements like “I’d love to be able to do XYZ, but I know it’ll never happen”. Well of course, it won’t if you don’t try!

In making the decision to try means that you risk the chance that it might not happen, that something goes wrong, but what lessons could you learn along the way? What fun and other opportunities are you missing out on by not trying? The decision to try is a risky one, and it requires that you accept that things may not go to plan. But knowing that you can manage, cope and even thrive regardless of the outcome or result, is so empowering. When riders are able to make that psychological leap of faith to try, then they find opportunities to start building evidence that they are more than capable of coping with whatever comes their way; they begin to build resilience and self-confidence.

The ability to find hope, passion, determination and to explore possible solutions, is essential if we’re to overcome adversity and achieve our goals. 

Is it easy? No. 

Is it worth it? 100% yes.

If you’d like to develop your skills around mental toughness and resilience, check out my Resilient Rider Masterclass – click HERE for details. 

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