I am delighted to be writing my first, of what will be a monthly, post for the KA Blog and would like to thank Karen for the opportunity and for asking me to become more involved with the life of KA Equestrian. I have recently become the first ever sponsor for Team KA and have begun to work with the team members to help them to develop more mental resilience and confidence as they start out in their competitive careers as young equestrians.
I’ve been thinking about how best to approach this and the obvious place to start is to encourage riders to ‘TAKE THE FIRST STEP’ towards becoming the riders they would like to be. Of course, sometimes that first step is the most difficult one to take and many riders can become stuck before they have even started and it is these riders who most often need help. So my best advice is to seek help when you need it and that is what this blog post is about.
How do you know that you need help? Perhaps you can relate to one of these situations or feelings:
You find yourself lying in bed at night worrying about your riding.
You feel that your horse isn’t going as well as he used to and you don’t know why.
You find that you are avoiding certain situations or are restricting what you are doing with your horse.
You feel that you are stuck in your comfort zone and don’t know how to get out of it.
You would love to get out and compete but the thought of it makes you feel ill.
You are competing but things aren’t going well for you.
You are making excuses about not riding your horse.
You have a nagging feeling that something just isn’t right.
And many other reasons.
If things aren’t going well for you, you are worrying about riding or about your horse or you just aren’t enjoying riding then it is time to ask for help and I would suggest very strongly that you think carefully about who you ask. Have a think about people who’s opinion you respect or who you know are qualified and experienced in the area you need help with and don’t be afraid to approach them. For example, if there is a possible health issue with your horse then ask your vet for advice. If you have a technical riding issue then ask an experienced coach for some help and if your worries are coming from lack of confidence or fear then ask someone qualified in that area. If you need to save up and pay for professional advice then do so as it can often end up saving you money in the long run.
I would advise you to avoid asking everyone around you on your yard for an opinion as that can just lead to confusion and more worry when they all give a different point of view. The same goes for internet forums and social media where you may end up getting ‘advice’ from people who don’t know you or your situation, once again leading to confusion and more worry.
So have a think and ‘TAKE THE FIRST STEP’ and note how much better you feel about your riding once you have done that.