How to Become a Better Rider When You Can't See Your Horse
Just because you can’t see your horse right now, doesn’t mean you can’t become a better rider. A LOT of riding has to do with your mindset and motor control. You can improve both of those things right now even if you can’t see your horse.
Of course, you would rather ride, we get it, but if you want to climb back in the saddle ready to pick up where you left off, these ideas can help you accomplish that.
Work On Your Balance to Become a Better Rider
We’ve all experienced being an unbalanced rider at some point. Struggling to sit the trot, having a hard time cantering on a specific lead, feeling out of control going over a jump, or missing an obstacle all indicate you may need to work on your balance.
Stand on one foot and move your upper body side to side. Start with small movement and make them bigger as your balance improves. Notice where you lose your balance and work on improving that area. This strengthens your stabilizer muscles and helps you maintain your balance. Make sure you switch legs, so you don’t end up stronger on one side.
You’ll also want to work on your flexibility. Often if our hips are tight, we have a hard time relaxing into the saddle, and that can cause us to lose our balance when the horse moves beneath us. Simple stretches like deep lunges and wide leg forward folds can help immensely.
Strengthen Your Core
This is especially important if you find your upper body collapsing in the saddle. A strong core supports your weight and allows you to move with your horse fluidly. Implement a routine where you do crunches and planks every day.
You will return to the saddle MUCH stronger, and your horse will thank you!
Identify and Face Your Fears
We often bring fear into the saddle with us. Especially if we’ve experienced a fall, or had a close call recently. It happens to every rider at some point in their journey. If it’s happening to you, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Try some breathing exercises and visualize yourself riding your horse without fear—journal about WHY you are scared, and what happens when you get nervous while riding. Writing things down helps our brains process them logically.
You’ll likely discover that your horse senses your fear, and things tend to get tricky when that fear climbs into the saddle with you. Even if it’s something small that sneaks quietly into your mind right when you get on and then goes away, or it only happens before you go over a jump or cross a creek, you want to address this fear and do your best to banish it.
Give yourself permission to let go of that fear. If you can do the work to leave your fear at home where it belongs, your horse will be more confident, you will be a stronger rider, and you will have a much safer ride.
We hope you are healthy, and if you can’t ride your horse right now, we hope you are back in the saddle very soon!