How To Restore Your Horse Riding Confidence After An Accident or Fall by Margarethe De Clermont (Nottinghamshire, England)
When you’ve had a bad fall, it can take a long time before you feel confident enough to get back on your horse.
And so it should be, caution is your minds way of protecting itself and your body.
But what do you do if you love riding and you love your horse and you’re yearning to get back in the saddle but your horse riding confidence is at an all time low?
Ten Tips to Help Restore Your Horse Riding Confidence
1. Maintain physical fitness, strength and suppleness … Review our Fit To Ride section.
Start with what you have. Get fit. Lose any surplus weight you may have accumulated while you were laid up. Slowly build up your strength again and gradually regain your suppleness with stretches and yoga.
If you have suffered a severe injury work with a professional, like a physiotherapist. You will then start to feel more confident as you get stronger and fitter.
2. Eat a healthy diet
After an injury, you need to rebuild your physical strength. Eat enough, but not too much. Make sure you ingest all the vitamins your body needs while it is under all this physical and mental stress.
3. Limit your intake of alcohol and avoid drugs
Most horse riders know to avoid alcohol (and drugs, for the same reasons) if they plan to go anywhere near their horses. Be careful not to self-medicate with alcohol while you are feeling low and bored, it will not make you feel any happier or any better. You are only delaying the healing process; a very unwise approach.
4. Get enough sleep
When you sleep, your body takes time out to heal itself, physically and mentally. At no other time does your body need to recharge its batteries as desperately as after an injury. Invest in eight hours of deep, rejuvenating sleep a night, until you are fully restored.
5. Increase your body awareness
If you were injured physically, you probably have no difficulty paying attention to your body’s messages – especially the parts that were injured. Even if you did not sustain a serious injury, pay attention to what is going on inside you and in the immediate area around you. Re-discover your sense of touch and physical orientation. Body awareness is an essential attribute for all good riders.
6. Review your commitment to standard safety procedures
Always wear appropriate riding safety gear, always check your equipment, always, always wear a helmet and ensure you are properly insured.
7. Learn how to fall … Review our Prevent Equestrian Injury section.
Martial arts students spend a lot of time learning how to fall without injuring themselves. As do stunt men and women and rodeo clowns, etc, etc. If you haven’t mastered this useful art yet, take some time to do so now. You will be investing in your own future.
8. Get your timing right
Next time you ride, take all the variables into account. Don’t go riding if you are rushed, or feel under the weather, or have too many other things on your mind. Give your horse your time and your full attention.
9. Take your environment into account
As well as your horses reaction to that environment. Don’t put either yourself or your horse at risk because you are desperate to go riding. Life’s too short.
10. Invest in insurance, personal, horse and third party
Make sure you and your horse are fully insured.The last thing you need when you are recuperating from the physical and mental effects of a horse riding injury is to worry about doctors or vets bills. You’ll also be surprised how much confidence you get, sub-consciously, from knowing you are covered no matter what happens.
So you see, there is a lot you can do to restore your horse riding confidence long before you get back into the saddle.
And doing something physical is good for your body and your mind.
Once you are strong enough to start exercising again, remember exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural analgesic. So get out there and start mucking out those stables. It will cheer you up no end and in no time.