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Rider Confidence Part 4 - Getting off!!! 😱

In the first blog in my Rider Confidence series 5 Keys to Building Your Riding Confidence I looked at some key things you can do to boost your confidence levels with your horse. One of these was the topic of last weeks blog on Why groundwork is essential to building your rider confidence and the following blog covered Don’t push yourself (or your horse) too far

This week I’d like to move on to a topic very close to my heart - Getting off!


So when should you get off? Short answer... the first moment it crosses your mind!!


Ok blog finished, I’ll go off and make a cup of tea 😆☕️

Don’t panic, I’m still here...


I think one of the biggest myths in horse riding and training is that you will teach your horse something bad if you get off. Many of us have been told ‘you mustn’t let him win!’


Win what exactly?!?! Horses simply don’t have a concept for that


Now let’s be honest, if your horse has misbehaved, you get off and you put him straight back into his stable with a bucket of carrots, you may start to teach him something you don’t want him to know. 🥕🥕🥕


BUT if you get off, resolve the problem, get the situation calm again and your horse understanding what you want then it really doesn’t matter if you’ve done this on the ground or from your horses back. It also really doesn’t matter if you get on again or not. Sometimes that’s the right thing to do and sometimes it isn’t.


So when do you get off....here are two situations where it’s wise to get off...


  1. If you are scared

  2. If you can help your horse better from the ground

Why you should get off if you're scared

It’s very difficult to be effective in any way if you are terrified, you can probably get away with being a little bit unsure but quaking in your boots really isn’t OK. Horses are extremely sensitive to our emotions and they have no way to reason this out. They don’t know why you are scared, they just know you are and often it causes them to wonder what they should be scared of!!


So if you are getting more and more worried, get off, get the situation (and yourself) back under control and then decide whether you get back on again but don’t feel like you have to.


Developing your groundwork skills to be able to help your horse from the ground will give you lots of options to deal with different situations.


Situations where you can help your horse better on the ground


I have definitely had this situation a number of times. Where I have a horse that is having difficulty with something and I can show him what to do from the ground more easily then I will get off. An example of this might be something like going through water, I can get off, and show him from the ground, then ride him through when he’s ready.


Or, the horse gets worried about something, you can get off, wait until he calms down, maybe take the time to let him have a look at what scared him. Then you can get back on and continue without having to be on a nervous horse potentially arguing with him and adding tension to the situation. 


I like to think of a rider and their horse as a partnership and for a partnership to work we have to look after both parts of that partnership, so look after your confidence as well as your horses and make sure you both come home safe and happy!




Next weeks blog will tackle some of the lies we tell ourselves when we are lacking in confidence and why you need a cheerleader 📣 👯‍♀️


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Before trying any training technique it is important to rule out pain or discomfort. Saddle fit, teeth, back, hoof balance and lameness issues should all be checked by a qualified professional before applying any training.


If you have questions or need idea's to help with a specific problem feel free to get in touch with me on lylacansfield@hotmail.com


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Lyla has been helping riders and their horses in the UK, USA and Europe for over 15 years. She has prepared horses for crowds of over 6,000 people with no calmers or ear plugs for venues including Birmingham NEC, Aintree, Bury Farm EC and Hartpury.


Lyla specialises in horse psychology and behaviour problems with a specific interest in dressage and has worked with horses from grass roots to Grand Prix across the UK and Europe including international competitors and Olympians from Spain, the US, Canada and the UK.


See www.lylacansfield.com or email lylacansfield@hotmail.com for more details.


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All training techniques discussed are from experience only, it is impossible for to accurately advise on horse/rider combinations without seeing them live. Lyla Cansfield & Equine Mind & Body Training strongly advise anyone considering using any of the techniques discussed to get live help and can take no responsibility for the outcome of applying any of the techniques discussed without supervision. Riding is a high risk sport.

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