5 ways to boost your self-confidence

By Annette Paterakis

Self-confidence is a riders greatest strength. When a riders doesn’t show confidence, his or her horse will most probably show bad behavior. To prevent this, here are 5 ways to boost your self-confidence.

1. Gratitude

This might seem like an odd one but comparing yourself to others, especially on a show with many great riders, can make us feel really small and insecure. Instead, when we focus on what we do have and what we have already accomplished we start to feel thankful for what is already there. Regularly practicing this positive focus on what we can be grateful for has a profound impact on our self-confidence and overall happiness. After all, if we can’t be happy with what we have already achieved today, we probably won’t feel satisfied achieving other goals either.

2. Power pose

We don’t always wake up with the right mindset. Sometimes we feel tired, unmotivated or insecure. The good news is, we can change our mindset any time. An effective way to change your mindset is through changing your body posture. Yes, that’s right. Studies have shown that changing our posture has a direct and significant impact on our confidence, how optimistic we feel about results and the willingness to take risks. Just 2 minutes of holding a confident pose will trigger your body to release more Testosterone – a hormone that influences confidence and dominance. Holding this power pose also creates a decrease in the stress hormone Cortisol. So next time you feel unsure, adopt a power pose for a few minutes (picture Wonder woman) – open chest, arms up or away from the body and see what happens!

3. Best round ever

Another easy and powerful tool to quickly enhance your self-confidence is to remind yourself of the great rounds you have already ridden. By remembering the feeling (happiness, enjoyment, proud, confident) when riding your “best round ever” as vividly as possible, you will trigger the same neurons in your brain and the right hormones in your body as when you were riding so brilliantly. In case you have videos of those rounds, watch them as well.

4. Use constructive language

We often use negative language to describe how we feel about our results. “It was so bad” or “my riding was terrible”, for instance. But the language we use, even when just in thoughts is crucial when it comes to our self-esteem. Imagine someone telling you all day that you are an awful rider, would it help you to ride better? Talking like this to yourself has the same impact. So make sure you phrase your words in a constructive way.

5. Three step reflection

Lastly, when you exit the arena make sure you reflect on your performance in a helpful way so that the next time you get on the horse you will feel empowered to do it better. Instead of being hard on yourself cause of that one mistake you made, start with question #1 what went well? Successful riders are very good at pointing out what went well and they don’t feel ashamed about it. Neither should you! The best way to build up your self-confidence is to remind yourself of all the things you are good at. The second important question in order to improve would be #2 what could have been better? Looking at what went well is important but not enough to help us improve and increase our confidence. Therefor it is helpful to determine what could have been better. Be honest. In case you couldn’t help it or don’t know why the mistake happened, let it go! In case this mistake has happened before and you know it is something you have influence over, ask yourself the third and most important question #3 how am I going to improve on this? Make a clear plan and think of exercises you could do at home to work on this specific skill.