Psst … There’s a Secret to Building Your Confidence with Horses (and Riding)

When I tell people that a few years ago I lost my confidence for riding, they usually have 2 reactions.  First, they are surprised to find out how scared I was (shaking in my riding boots scared).  Second, they want to know “If you were so scared, how did you get to be so confident now?”

Desire for successI won’t lie – it took a lot of work and it didn’t happen over night.  But, here’s the secret … the main reason I was able to regain my confidence was because my ‘why’ was stronger than my fear.  If I didn’t regain my confidence, I would have had to give up doing what I love best and find another way to make a living. 

I love teaching other horse lovers how to get the best out of themselves and out of their horses.  I love seeing them develop confidence, improve their skills and build better partnerships with their horses.  I love seeing the positive transformation of the human and the horse – together.

It takes desire, dedication and determination – and a lot of work –  to regain your confidence.  It takes courage to take even baby steps forward when you are ‘shaking in your riding boots scared’.  The more clear you are about WHY you want to be with or ride horses the more motivated you will be to do the work.

What’s your why?  It’s that one specific reason you want to be with or ride horses (or a particular horse).  Your ‘why’ might be so that you can enjoy spending time supporting your horse loving child or partner without feeling stressed or anxious. It might be that you want to be able to enjoy a trail ride in the woods or along the beach with your best friend.  Or maybe it’s because you want to be able to do your best in the show ring.

Whatever your why is bring it to life.  Write about it in your journal, create a collage about it or visualize it.  Be as detailed as you can possibly be using all five senses.  What do you feel?  What do you smell?  What do you hear? What do you see?  What will you gain?  How will your life better?  At least once a day read what you’ve written, look at your collage or run through your visualization like you’re watching a movie.

Keeping your ‘why’ in the forefront of your mind will give you the courage to push through the difficult times.  Those times when you just want to quit because it seems to overwhelming.  Those times when you don’t feel like you’re making any progress.

And, remember to recognize and congratulate yourself for the baby steps you make.  Any forward movement is good – it’s movement in the right direction.

You’ll get there – one (baby) step at a time.  I know you can.  Because I’ve been where you are and I did it.

Your Turn – What is your ‘why’ for wanting to be with or ride horses?  Share your thoughts in the comments below – you might inspire someone else.  

Share this post to spread the word about a better way to work with horses.  Enjoy your journey!

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There are lots more practical and in depth tips on improving your Confidence and your Partnership with your horse in my book “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”.   NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon.com!

 Interested in organizing a Confident Horsemanship clinic at your location? Click here for more information.

You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you notify me and include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  

Click here to grab your FREE REPORT “The 3 Most Important Secrets You Need to Know to Develop Confidence with Horses”

Brought to you by Anne Gage ~ Confident Horsemanship – Putting you and your horse in good hands.   www.AnneGage.com

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Are You Expecting Too Much of Yourself or Your Horse?

We all want success and we want it now.  We’ve been taught to “reach for the stars” and set big goals.  As a result, sometimes we expect so much of ourselves and our horses that we are rarely happy with our results.

If you’ve ever said (even to yourself),

“I should be better than this!”

Then you end up feeling like a failure because that “I should be” is really a disguise for that self-defeating old mantra that whispers quietly  “I’m not good enough”.

Failure is not a fact

But what if you are exactly where you should be – where you need to be.

Maybe where you think you should be is simply wishful thinking.  Replace the phrase “should be” with “wish I was” …

  • “I wish I was better than this.”
  • “I wish I was able to …”
  • “I wish I wasn’t so …”

What are you basing your opinion that you “should be …” on?  Who are you comparing yourself to?

There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to riding.  Your results – where you are now – come from not only your physical ability, your competency and your confidence level, but also from your horse’s ability, level of training and confidence.

There is a reason that successful people (you know the ones at the horse shows that always seem to be in the top 3 placings and get Champion awards in not one but multiple classes) do so well.  They put in the hours.  If they haven’t done it themselves then someone else has put the hours into their horse so they can just sit up there, look pretty and – as long as they stay out of the horse’s way – win.

According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”, people who become really good at something – really master it – have spent at least 10000 hours working on that particular thing.  Ten Thousand Hours!  That’s about 3 hours a day for 10 years.  So, if you have been riding for 10 years, but only 1 hour a week, you have only put in about 520 hrs (1 hr x 52 wk x 10 yr).  That’s being generous and assuming you didn’t miss a single hour in any year because of illness, injury, vacations, holidays, etc.

This is not to say that you need to put 10,000 hours into your riding to become good at it –  unless you want to be competitive at the highest levels of the sport.  But, it puts into perspective the amount of time needed to develop a particular level of skill.

Chances are slim to none that you will progress very far in developing mastery of any skill if you only put in 1 hour of practice a week.  Now lots of people enjoy a weekly riding lesson and are quite happy to spend that time in the saddle.  They don’t want or expect to achieve much more than the connection with the horse.

But, if you want to progress in your training – for personal fulfilment or to achieve ribbons, trophies and recognition in the show ring – the once a week hourly ride is not going to get your there.  Most people get discouraged when they feel that they aren’t making progress at the rate they “should” or that they aren’t as good as “her” or “him” or “them”.   We are certainly masters at comparing ourselves to others. We’ve all had more than 10000 hours practicing that skill.  Even if it doesn’t help us.

When our expectations are not in line with our reality ie. your other commitments  & responsibilities don’t allow you to ride 3 -6 hours a week, then you won’t be as successful in the show ring as “that other competitor that wins everything”.  Even if you are a pleasure rider, neither your riding skill nor your horse’s training will progress very far or very fast.

You can either be frustrated with  yourself, your coach and your horse and keep your expectations.  Or, you can adjust your expectations to match the reality of your situation. If the reality is that you can only ride once week, then focus on enjoying that one ride.  The choice is yours … should you decide to make it.

Your Turn

How do your goals & expectations affect your enjoyment of riding?  Sharing your experiences or questions is simple.  Just leave a comment or share your thoughts below or through Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Share this post to spread the word about a better way to work with horses.  Enjoy your journey!

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For more practical and in depth tips on improving your Confidence and your Partnership with your horse, order my book “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”.  Click here to order from Lulu.com.
 
My paperback book is NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon.com!

Interested in organizing a Confident Horsemanship clinic at your location? Click here for more information.

You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you notify me and include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  

Confident Horsemanship with Anne Gage – Putting you and your horse in good hands.

Confident Rider Tips – 7 Tips to Help Improve Your Riding by Improving Your Mindset

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What one thing distinguishes good riders from not-so-good riders and fearless riders from fearful riders?  It is their mindset.  You may have seen a less talented rider do better than a very talented rider in a competition, in a lesson or just riding down a trail.  Your mind set either pushes you forward or holds you back.

Here are 7 tips to help you develop a more positive mindset whenever you’re with your horse.

  1. Be here now. Stay present and in the moment by focusing on the cues from your  horse and your body.  When you pay attention to what is happening now in this moment, you become pro-active rather than reactive.  You can prevent things from falling apart – even if it’s only falling apart in your mind.
  2. Stop worrying about the outcome.  Focus on building a solid foundation and taking each step that is needed for you and your horse to be able to perform well whether that’s on the trail or in the show ring.
  3. Let go of what others might think about your performance.  Stop trying to read other peoples’ minds.  People who care about you will support you.  The opinion of anyone who doesn’t care about and support you is not important.  Let it go.
  4. Leave distractions and stresses from your life at the barn door.  You really don’t want to take them along for the ride.  If you really want to, you can pick them up on your way out of the door.  Or you can also just decide to leave them there permanently.
  5. Let go of striving for perfection.  In riding (as in many things in life) there is always room for improvement.  Recognize where improvement is needed without beating up yourself (or your horse).  Refer to #2.
  6. Avoid over thinking or analyzing what you’re doing.  Being too much in your head takes you out of your body.  Riding well requires not only awareness of your own body and your horse’s body, but also being able to make a connection between you.  Think less.  Feel more.
  7. Make it a goal to have fun.  When you take things too seriously or only focus on results, riding stops being fun – for you and your horse.   You aren’t having fun if you are judging how well you did on every transition, turn, movement or jump.  When was the last time you just enjoyed being with your horse?

And you can get Free Instant Access to many more powerful tips about building your confidence, horse training and horsemanship by visiting my Facebook Fan Page

What’s your greatest mindset challenge when it comes to riding or handling your horse?  What ways have you found to improve your mindset?  Leave your answer in the comments. You can also ask me your most important question there as well.

Enjoy your journey.

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My book is now available on Amazon.com! “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”.  Click here to order.

Interested in organizing a clinic at your location? Click here for more information.

Let’s spread the word about a better way to work with horses.  Share this blog with 3 friends, send a Tweet or post a link on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.

You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you notify me and include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  

Anne Gage ~ Confident Horsemanship – Putting you and your horse in good hands.

www.annegage.com
www.facebook.com/ConfidentHorsemanshp
Facebook Group – Horseback Riding Solutions with Anne Gage
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5 Things You Must Do if Your Horse is Behaving Badly and You’re Losing Your Confidence

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I recently received an email from a young woman confused by her horse’s sudden change approaching jump smin behaviour.  She and her mare have been together for 3 years.  The first year, they showed in hunter, jumper and eventing competitions.  The mare was “a double clear, point and shoot, honest horse” and they worked well together.  Then the mare was off for a year with a foot injury.  When she started training again, the mare was going well and they began jumping higher fences.  All was going well until the rider was thrown at a fence during a show.

“I got back on did the next round which went okay. Then in the final jumper round, she threw me again at the last fence and by then I was just confused. I didnt know, and still don`t know what happened to our connection and our ability to work as a team over the courses. Since then she has thrown me 5 times, and we always have refusals during our jumping lessons and shows.”

Now the young woman doesn’t know what to expect when she’s jumping her mare. She’s tired of falling off and has become afraid of jumping – something she hasn’t experienced before. As she says

“the nerves and anxiety take over.”

When a horse’s performance changes for the worse, you need to do some detective work to get to the root cause of the problem.  Only when you know what the cause is can you apply the appropriate solution.

Horses are creatures of habit and only change their behaviour when something is getting in the way.  Following these tips can help you find the cause and the best solution to your horse’s performance problem.

1.  Check for a physical problem.   Horses can be sore without showing lameness or other noticeable signs.  It’s natural for them as prey animals to hide any sign of weakness which would make them a more appealing target for predators.  So horses can be very good at hiding muscle soreness or chiropractic misalignment.  It is possible that she has some lingering muscle soreness or a misalignment from when she had the foot problem.  You may have experienced this yourself that when one part of the body is sore, other parts take on extra work and can get sore.  Have an equine massage therapist or chiropractor (or both) give your horse a thorough examination.  They can find and relieve some physical problems that you or your veterinarian may have missed.

2.  Check saddle fit.  Horses’ muscle development can change with age and the amount and type of work they are doing.  Saddles also change with wear.  The stuffing can pack or break down and wrinkles can develop in the leather causing pressure points.  Since this mare had a year off from any work, her shape will be much different than when she was in regular work. Check the condition of your saddle and how well it fits your horse.  Here’s a link to some good videos about how to check saddle fit.  http://www.schleese.com/9PointChecklist.  A good saddle fitter can also help with the assessment and may even be able to make adjustments to your saddle so that it fits your horse better.

3.  Go Back to Basics with Your Horse. Training problems can also happen because the horse is moved along more quickly than she is physically or mentally ready to handle. Go back to the work your horse can comfortably perform and bring her along more slowly.  A good place to start is with flat work that helps strengthen her hindquarters and back – both necessary for jumping higher fences.   Then rebuild her confidence by working over poles, cavalletti and smaller jumps.

4.  Go Back to Basics with Your Riding.  Suppleness and balance are both very important components of good riding.  Suppleness is replaced with tension when riders lose their confidence.  The riders’ balance may be thrown off if they progress too quickly without having a solid independent seat.  Rider tension and imbalance impact the horse’s ability to perform well. Focusing on improving your seat and hands improves your softness, suppleness and balance in the saddle – which makes you a better partner for your horse.

5. Enlist your coach’s help.  Have a very honest conversation with your coach about how you are feeling.  Work with him or her to go back to a level of riding where both you and your horse are comfortable so that you can ride without tension, improve your seat and your riding position and your horse can develop the strength and suppleness for the work you want her to do.  As you rebuild  your confidence, your horse’s confidence and fill in any gaps in your riding foundation, you and your horse will become better partners for each other.

The most important thing to remember is that your horse’s behaviour is her communication.  When she has been performing consistently well and then suddenly changes, there is something getting in her way.  Figure out what the cause is and then you can work on the most beneficial solution.

I would love to hear what the greatest challenge is that you are facing with your horse right now?  What challenges have you faced and overcome?  Share in the comments below.

If you want to work with me live and in person to learn more strategies and techniques for increasing your confidence, improving your horse’s behaviour and building a stronger partnership with your horse, visit my website or contact me about hosting a clinic or workshop at your location.

Enjoy your journey.

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My book is now available! “Confident Rider, Confident Horse: Build Your Confidence While Improving Your Partnership with Your Horse from the Ground to the Saddle”.  Click here to order.

Interested in organizing a clinic at your location? Click here for more information.

Let’s spread the word about a better way to work with horses.  Share this blog with 3 friends, send a Tweet or post a link on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.

You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information: ~ Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  

I would also appreciate it if you’d send me a copy for my media files.

Anne Gage ~ Confident Horsemanship

www.annegage.com
www.facebook.com/ConfidentHorsemanshp
Facebook Group – Horseback Riding Solutions with Anne Gage
www.twitter.com/AnneGage

Mind Your Language to Build Your Confidence

The language you use in your thoughts (self talk) and when you speak to others holds the power for building your confidence or undermining it.  Have you noticed that the little voice (ok maybe it’s a loud voice for some of you) in your head rarely stops?   Did you know that that your inner voice is affected by the language you use when you are talking out loud?  Did you also know that you can influence your inner voice and get it to be more supportive of you?

Yep – it’s true …  your outside voice really does affect your inner voice.  Your language shapes how you experience any given moment.   Mind your language by being aware of often you use dis-empowering phrases will help your mind use language that builds your confidence.

Here are some examples of dis-empowering phrases that you may not be aware you are using.  Some of them are very subtle.   Even little things have a powerful impact on your confidence.

  1. “I don’t know what to do!”
  2.  “I’m stuck.”
  3. “This won’t work.”
  4. “This is too much for me.”
  5. “I’ll never get this.”

Your sub-conscious mind believes everything you say – out loud or in your head.  Everything you say – whether it is true or not.   So, when you say either to yourself or to someone else, “I don’t know what to do”,  your sub-conscious mind  believes it and operates based on that belief.  You will be stuck.  It won’t work.  It will be too much for you.  And, you’ll never get it.

By changing your language to a positive statement such as “I’ll have to figure this out” you give your sub-conscious mind something to focus on that it can solve.  Your sub-conscious mind loves to solve problems.  It will go to work helping you figure it out so you will know what to do.  You will move forward.  It will work. You will be able to handle it.  And you will get it.

Language isn’t just thoughts and speech.  Emotions are part of our language.  How do you feel when you say “I don’t know what to do”?  Confused? Helpless? Incompetent? Lost? Alone? Angry? Frustrated?  That’s a lot of negative emotion.

How do you feel when you say  “I will figure out this out”?  Hopeful.  Focused.  Determined.  Energized. That’s much more positive.

Pay attention not only to the phrases you are using, but also the emotions you are feeling when you are talking to yourself and to others.  Practice changing your language to evoke positive emotions.

Here are 5 more examples of confidence-breaking phrases and their confidence building alternatives:

“I’m afraid my horse will spook”  becomes  “I admit that I have a fear my horse will spook. What help can I get to work through this?”

“I hope I don’t fall apart in the show”  becomes “I have prepared myself and my horse well for this show.  We will do our best.”

“I can’t do what my coach wants me to do”  becomes “There’s something I’m not getting yet. I can ask for more help and I can practice more. I know I will get it eventually.”

“I’ll never get these transitions right” becomes “We’ve only been working on these movements  for a short time.  It takes time to get them consistently.”

 “I can’t afford riding lessons or training” becomes “This is something that’s really important to me.  I need xx dollars.  I just need to figure out a way to make that extra money.”

Whatever you change the phrase to must ring true for you.  Don’t just re-phrase a negative into a positive by saying the exact opposite and then pretend everything is rosy.   If you are afraid of something it’s ok to admit you are afraid.  Empower yourself by saying something like “I am afraid, but I will get help”.

To build your confidence, you must be honest and realistic.  State the facts and the action you can take at the same time.  Mind how you feel and create a positive emotion.

Develop more awareness for how you talk to yourself and how you talk with others.  Notice how often you use dis-empowering, negative phrases.  Keep a journal (in a book or your favourite digital device).  Record your negative talk and then re-write them into empowering phrases that build your confidence.

Mind your language and your mind will support you in building your confidence.

Share your negative language and how you are re-phrasing it in the comments below.

If you would like to help spread the word about a better way to work with horses, please share this blog with 5 friends, send a Tweet or post on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.
 
You’re welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information:
 
Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  
 
I would also appreciate it if you’d send me a copy for my media files.
 
Anne Gage
Confident Horsemanship
www.annegage.com
www.facebook.com/ConfidentHorsemanshp
Facebook Group – Horseback Riding Solutions with Anne Gage
www.twitter.com/AnneGage

Should You Be a Better Rider?

We all want success and we want it now.  We’ve been trained to “reach for the stars”, set big goals and expect more of ourselves.  We expect so much of ourselves and our horses.  Have you ever said (even to yourself),

“I should be better than this!”

Really?  Maybe you shouldn’t be. Maybe you are right where you should be.  Maybe where you think you should be is simply wishful thinking.  Replace the phrase “should be” with “wish I was” …

  • “I wish I was better than this.”
  • “I wish I was able to …”
  • “I wish I wasn’t so …”

Or maybe that “I should be” is really a disguise for that self-defeating old mantra that whispers quietly  “I’m not good enough”.

What are you basing your opinion that you “should be …” on?  Who are you comparing yourself to?

There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to riding.  Your results – where you are now – come from not only your physical ability, your competency and your confidence level, but also from your horse’s ability, level of training and confidence.

There is a reason that successful people (you know the ones at the horse shows that always seem to be in the top 3 placings and get Champion awards in not one but multiple classes) do so well.  They put in the hours.  If they haven’t done it themselves then someone else has put the hours into their horse so they can just sit up there, look pretty and – as long as they stay out of the horse’s way – win.

According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book “Outliers”, people who become really good at something – really master it – have spent at least 10000 hours working on that particular thing.  Ten Thousand Hours!  That’s about 3 hours a day for 10 years.  So, if you have been riding for 10 years, but only 1 hour a week, you have only put in about 520 hrs (1 hr x 52 wk x 10 yr).  That’s being generous and assuming you didn’t miss a single hour in any year because of illness, injury, vacations, holidays, etc.

This is not to say that you need to put 10,000 hours into your riding to become good at it –  unless you want to be competitive at the highest levels of the sport.  But, it puts into perspective the amount of time needed to develop a particular level of skill.

Chances are slim to none that you will progress very far in developing mastery of any skill if you only put in 1 hour of practice a week.  Now lots of people enjoy a weekly riding lesson and are quite happy to spend that time in the saddle.  They don’t want or expect to achieve much more than the connection with the horse.

But, if you want to progress in your training – for personal fulfilment or to achieve ribbons, trophies and recognition in the show ring – the once a week hourly ride is not going to get your there.  Most people get discouraged when they feel that they aren’t making progress at the rate they “should” or that they aren’t as good as “her” or “him” or “them”.   We are certainly masters at comparing ourselves to others. We’ve all had more than 10000 hours practicing that skill.  Even if it doesn’t help us.

When our expectations are not in line with our reality ie. your other commitments  & responsibilities don’t allow you to ride 3 -6 hours a week, then you won’t be as successful in the show ring as “that other competitor that wins everything”.  Even if you are a pleasure rider, neither your riding skill nor your horse’s training will progress very far or very fast.

You can either be frustrated with  yourself, your coach and your horse and keep your expectations.  Or, you can adjust your expectations to match the reality of your situation. If the reality is that you can only ride once week, having lower expectations will allow you to enjoy that one ride.  The choice is yours … should you decide to make it.

Please do post your comments or questions below.

If you would like to help spread the word about a better way to work with horses, please share this blog with 5 friends, send a Tweet or post on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.
 
You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information:
Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  I would also appreciate it if you’d send me a copy for my media files.
 
Anne Gage
Confident Horsemanship
www.annegage.com
www.facebook.com/ConfidentHorsemanship
www.twitter.com/AnneGage

The Secret to Achieving Your Riding Dreams

Spring is usually the time that we horse-people have great plans for our riding. Maybe you dream of the shows you will compete in and the ribbons you will win. Perhaps its the big trail ride you plan on completing. Or maybe you just want to ride for pleasure several times a week.  But, then life happens and when you look back in the fall, you realize that you haven’t done what you set out to do.  I am as guilty of this as anyone else.  If you are like me, you feel  discouraged and disappointed and vow to do better next year.  Why does this happen?  You lose your motivation or your confidence fails. Riding gets shoved way down on the list filled with other priorities.

What’s Your Dream?

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Horse-people of all levels face challenges to their motivation and confidence at one time or another.  Whether you’re a beginner, novice or advanced rider, there is a simple technique that anyone can use to improve your riding skills, confidence, and motivation.  This technique enhances your learning experience and allows you to evaluate your progress.  All it requires is taking the time to set some short term goals.

Have you noticed how good you feel when you complete something you have set out to do?  You feel good about yourself.  You feel proud of yourself.  Even small achievements increase your self esteem and motivation.  This is why setting small goals that can be accomplished within 30 days is so powerful.

The effect of goal setting is especially powerful when you achieve something that is important to you personally rather than something you are doing to please or impress someone else.  This is the first important element in setting goals that will improve your confidence and motivation.  You need to know the benefits that you will personally receive when you complete the goal.

Effective goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.  Saying “I will canter my horse” is too general a statement.  An example of a SMART goal is “I will canter 20 strides on my horse on the left rein by May 20, 2012.”

Specific – Describe exactly what you will accomplish.

Measurable – Define how you will know when you have reached the goal.

Achievable – Keep the goal realistic when considering your level of effort and commitment. Do you have the resources to achieve this goal? If not, how you will get them?

Relevant – Why is the goal significant to you? Make sure the goal is about you and not for pleasing someone else – not your coach, your friend, your spouse or your parent.

Timely – Set a realistic time frame for completing your goal.  Setting short term goals that you can achieve within 30-60 days will help keep you motivated.

Effective goals need an action plan. Write down the specific action steps you have to take to achieve your goal.  Include an expected completion date for each of the steps and celebrate as you have complete one.

As you outline your action steps, consider the possible obstacles that could prevent you from achieving your goal.  Roadblocks are experienced by everyone.  They interfere with your progress causing you to lose motivation and become discouraged.  When this happens, your self-esteem and confidence are also eroded.  Being prepared for potential obstacles by making a list of possible solutions for each one will help keep you on track.  Rather than giving up, you simply adjust and carry on.

It is much easier to achieve your goals and stay motivated when you share them with someone who will support and encourage you, and who will also hold you accountable.  If you have a coach, let him or her know what your goals are so he or she can focus your lessons in that direction and offer encouragement through the process.  If you don’t have a coach, maybe finding one is one of the action steps you need to take to be able to complete your goal.

Success also requires that you take 100% responsibility for your results.  That means letting go of excuses, blaming and negative thinking. When obstacles come up (as they will) find ways around or through them rather than getting stopped in your tracks. Any step forward – even the tiniest of baby steps – is better than doing nothing, maintaining the status quo or moving backwards.

What steps are you willing to take to improve your riding and your confidence?

I encourage you to commit to trying something different for the next 30 days.  Make a small plan – a step by step sustainable plan – that includes SMART goals.  Download this SMART Goal Setting Work Sheet to get you started.

If you would like to help spread the word about a better way to work with horses, please share this blog with 5 friends, send a Tweet or post on your Facebook page.  The horses thank you.
 
You are welcome to use this article in your newsletter or blog as long as you include my credit information:
Written by Anne Gage, Confident Horsemanship (www.annegage.com).  I would also appreciate it if you’d send me a copy for my media files.
 
Anne Gage
Confident Horsemanship
www.annegage.com
www.facebook.com/ConfidentHorsemanship
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Is Your Horse Getting What He Deserves or What He Needs?

I spent some time at a sanctioned/recognized horse show recently and was honestly appalled by some of the training techniques I saw being used by many of the trainers and riders.  Draw reins were used to pull the horses’ heads in to their chests.  Reins attached to shank bits with large ports were pulled and yanked upwards either to get the horse to raise his head if it was too low or to lower his head if it was too high.  I didn’t understand how all this pulling was “training” let alone how the horse was supposed to know the difference between the cue for raise or lower his head!  These techniques are accepted as “the way” to train horses for competition.  Had I asked a rider why he or she was being so hard on the horse, I am sure the answer would have been “he deserves it”. Continue reading