Yesterday I took the mare out on a hack by myself. This may seem like nothing, but it was quite an effort on my part. I really had to talk myself into it. There were so many excuses!
I have been having some confidence issues with riding and horses in general for a while. Since my accident 6 years ago in fact. Instead of things improving however, they have been getting worse. To start with it was just handling horses other than my own, but I have recently had to face up to the fact that I have completely lost my confidence in general. It was a bit of a lightbulb moment when I realised that all the issues we have (hacking solo, shows, even travelling to some extent) are all in my head.
In the last week I have been researching confidence building for riders and have come across Amanda Kirtland-Page and her website Confident Horse Riding. Someone on the Horse&Hound forum sent me a message inviting me to call them to talk about Amanda and her courses.
Yesterday I spoke to the Secretary of our local hunt about Autumn hunting dates - exciting! Except the moment I put the phone down, the excitement was replaced by a heavy, sick feeling in my stomach.
So, I decided to call this person who had contacted me on H&H forum. She was truly lovely and her experiences sounded so familiar. I had always thought there were confident riders, and non-confident ones, and I couldn't figure out where I fit in. She explained that, like me, she used to help with breaking and riding other horses, then after her child was born she felt utterly useless. She told me how Amanda has given her something to work with, she is not 'cured' but now has coping strategies which means she can enjoy riding again.
Sadly Amanda is not local to me, and currently has not any courses booked in my area, so I am going to start with one of her cds and see how we get on.
I now feel like I have a plan :-)