The biggest thing I am hoping to get out of this challenge is establishing habits for confidence. Because once an action becomes a habit, hopefully a good one, it will be second nature. So setting the bar high, and making habits I can stick too is where I am in my challenge so far.
Today is the second day in my challenge with Plezant. And as I am writing this, my muscles are sore, and I’m a bit tired from everything I did with Plezant yesterday. Nothing out of the ordinary, just walking, grooming, and barn chores.
But after an entire day of this, and and doing it for longer periods of time, I get tired. So committing myself to doing this every day is challenging in the beginning. But over time, my fitness level should increase (hopefully) and each day should get easier. And with repetition of a certain action you get used to something new, or different.
The reason I say this is because if you have ever lost confidence with horses or riding, the best way to rebuild that lost confidence is to put yourself out there and get it done. And the more you do it, the easier it will become.
Overcoming Lost Confidence
When I had Ethan, he shattered my confidence with a buck which put me on the ground. But one thing I am learning is to literally get back on the horse. And also to stop thinking about that moment. I have ridden a lot of times since that happened, but I still find myself thinking about it. Which is frustrating.
This is one of the biggest reasons that I decided to buy Plezant. At first I was concerned because of his age. But then I realized everything that he has to offer. He has a long record of being a show horse as well as a lesson horse. He is a been there done that kind of guy. And that is what I need. I need a school master, a horse that I can ride and enjoy and rebuild lost confidence. And from what I am learning about my horse, that is exactly what he is.
How To Gain Confidence With Horses
The only down side is how big he is. He is a big boy! But he has a kind heart. He is mostly quiet, and a great teacher. But the more I get out and work with him, he doesn’t seem so big. It’s like as my confidence level grows, my horse gets smaller. I don’t know how else to describe it, but he seems smaller!
However, like all horses, when I brought him home, he had some habits that were intimating, especially because of how big he is. One thing I learned from the first day of turning him out, he had issues with being touched on his head. And I gave him a shock thanks to static. This tuned my horse into a giraffe. So putting a halter on him was a challenge.
And then there was his back feet. He did not like having his hind feet messed with. He would kick out to the side. This made it difficult, and gave my anxiety to even get near his hind end to brush his back legs, and brush his tail. Which sucked, because that is like my favorite area to groom.
Consistency Is Key
But with consistency on my part, he has accepted that I’m not going to force him into a bad situation. I think it’s because he is finally learning to trust me. This has taken time, patience, and repetition. But the work has been worth it. Now I can groom his hind end and tail, lift his back feet for cleaning, bathe his back legs and tail, put hoof conditioner on his feet, and oh yeah, he puts his head down when I halter him. Actually, I put the noseband of the halter in front of him and he puts his own nose into it! It’s pretty awesome.
I know that was a lot of information, but its the work that I have done with him over the past 4 months that have gotten him to the point that I feel confident to handle him on the ground. And I have been able to get to this point by working through the fear and anxiety that I had be putting myself out there, and moving a few steps further out of my comfort zone.
Stepping out of the Comfort Zone
This is why I take him for walks. I extend my comfort zone a little bit further, and we do a little bit more every time we are together. Which is every day right now, besides the routine every day care. The habits that I have created for myself with my horse is building my confidence.
And today we started with our regular grooming. This is how I start every session with Plezant, the grooming. It not only gives me the opportunity to inspect him, but I love grooming. And this helps me to get in the right frame of mind to focus on what I want to do with him today. Which is take him out back of our property and venture out on the trail.
Establishing Habits For Confidence
I think about walking him on the trail. And moving a little bit further away from home, letting him experience new things. I think about the future and riding him down the trail and going further than we ever have. Staying in a positive frame of mind is important.
For me, I feel it is important to only think happy thoughts. I don’t focus on the what-if’s. I don’t think about the bad or scary things that could happen because if I give my energy into thinking it, then that’s what I’m going to focus on. And I don’t want that.
Go to Your Happy Place
So the grooming time before hand helps to get me focused on the moment, and I only think about how much fun we are going to have, and that it will be a positive experience. I want it to be uneventful, and happy.
And this trail system that winds through our neighborhood it makes me very happy. I am so lucky and grateful to have access to this.
It’s so peaceful, and beautiful.
So today we walked from behind our home to the west about a half mile. And then where the trail is intersected by the road, we turned around and walked back, past our home. About another half mile to the east.
The trees are so tall! And it’s quiet.
Typically there aren’t too many people out on the trail. But right now, with a lot of people staying home I run into more people. That’s ok though. It gives Plezant and I new opportunities to get through.
Celebrate the Small Victories
The more I get out and push myself with Plezant, or just horses in general, my confidence level grows. And when I say push myself, it’s more like nudging myself. I know my limitations. And I don’t go too far out of my comfort zone. Just enough to be able to hit the next level of success.
It doesn’t have to be huge, like jumping a complete course of jumps 3 foot tall. No, that is going toooooo far out of my comfort zone. Having Plezant walk up to me in the pasture, and want to hang out with me is a small victory worth celebrating.
It’s the little things that over time add up to really big things.
But it’s also pushing yourself, if even just a little bit, will help to build your confidence when working with your horse.
And if you really want to build your confidence with a little extra help, right now Noelle Floyd is offering a 30 day free trial to the Masterclass Membership for the challenge they are having for May. It’s called the 30 Day Master Your Mindset Challenge. And it’s awesome! Having the Masterclass membership has really helped me to get my mind focused on my goals.
Establishing Habits For Confidence
So I may be only two days into my challenge, but I have working up to this point for the past 4 months. It feels good to get out of my comfort zone and push myself (and my horse) to see what we can accomplish.
I am excited to see where we are a month from now. But I’m not focusing on that yet. I am taking this challenge one day at a time, an trying very hard not to plan for where we should be at the end of 31 days.
And so far in my reward jar, I have $9.00. Not too bad for 2 days. Only $219.00 to go until I can order my Mystery Box from Just Riding. Now that will be a fun post to write about! And if you use this link, they will give you $10.00 off your order, if you want to order your own mystery box. But, I can’t turn my attention to that. One day at a time right now. One day at a time.