How To Take Control Of Your Nerves
1. Be reassured that the horses you ride on a riding holiday are almost all incredibly experienced and relaxed trail horses, used to many different riders and very used to the terrain you will be covering. Your holiday hosts will be aware of your preferences regarding the type of horse you like to ride so you will not be put on a young or untrained horse (unless that is what you requested!).
2. Breathe: take a big breath in and sigh as you breathe out, do it a couple of times and then normal size breaths in, but continue to sigh as you breathe out. Your horse may also respond to the outward sigh as a signal that all is calm, panic over.
2. Count your breath: breathe in one, out two, in three, out four, etc. until you reach 10 and then you start over again at one. This focuses your attention elsewhere and helps you to control your breathing rate; the slower your breathing, the more calm you will feel. You can also distract your mind by singing or humming under your breath.
4. Complete a mental scan of your body to release tense muscles and promote relaxation. This is a hypnotherapy technique that is really effective.
- Face and jaw are relaxed
- Shoulders away from ears
- Ribcage relaxed and not lifted and tense
- Elbows heavy and hands soft
- Legs relaxed and heavy
- Feet, toes and ankles, relaxed and flexible
5. Positive visualization, many riders, once they start to feel nervous start visualising things going badly . This negative visualization is sometimes totally subconscious and you might not even realise you’re doing it. Try to use positive visualization instead; imagine having a fantastic time, feeling confident and having the experience of a lifetime, usually this is exactly what will happen!
6. It’s good to talk: if you are still feeling anxious speak to your guide, none of the guides will want anyone to e feeling insecure on their trail and sometimes speaking with someone who knows your horse well can make all the difference.