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Lack of Confi dence? Trainer Tips

by sheryl lynde | horsetrader columnist I

t gets to all of us at some point: the feel- ing that maybe you don’t quite have what it takes to make it happen.

Perhaps you have just entered a compe- tition and are excited about the challenge of bringing your horsemanship to the next level. You arrive at the show and your insides are in a twist. You can’t believe you signed up for this. You watch the other com- petitors warm up their horses and you feel out of your depth. Or, maybe you are struggling to get to the

next phase of your riding ability and you feel as though it is a physical impossibility. You are out of your comfort zone and easily frus- trated. Your movements are awkward, and at empts to execute new habits and a diff er- ent riding style have proved unsuccessful. You need to ride faster, develop a bet er seat, be soſt er with your hands, use your legs, stop leaning, watch the cow, etc. You know what you are supposed to do and what it is supposed to feel like, but you are unable to transfer your vision from your head to your hands, seat and legs in a time frame that you have set for yourself. Or, it could be that you have made leaps

and bounds in the progression of your skill level, but self-doubt is holding you back— fl ashing pictures of past mistakes which

Sheryl Lynde gives her view on problem-solving and more

Horsetrader columnist Sheryl Lynde is a John Lyons Certified Trainer who specializes in foundation training, colt- starting and problem-solving. She is based in Temecula.

cause you to be inconsistent in your results. Confi dence—or lack thereof—is a

game-changer. If you are going through a crisis of faith, relax. The best of the best go through the same moments of doubt, just at diff erent levels. Contrary to popular belief, confi dence is not something that you either have or you don’t; it is a skill set that you develop. It’s an emotion just like any other emotion that exists as a result of us performing within a very specifi c set of circumstances. It is an emotion that is both individually unique and easy to apply once you understand the steps necessary to prog- ress, as in the building of any foundation. Oſt en people confuse confi dence with

competence, but they are as diff erent as verbs and nouns. Confi dence is an emotion that we can draw from when needed, but competence is a level of skill that is devel- oped over a period of time. For instance, if I want to ride at a certain level in any dis- cipline, or simply learn a new maneuver, I need to practice over a period of time the individual components within that specifi c maneuver before I can reach a higher level of competency. The length of time is neces- sary in order to develop new motor skills as well as allowing diff erent neural pathways to form that permit me to execute that maneu- ver seamlessly. Just like driving a manual transmission. You have to use your right

Contrary to popular belief, confi dence is not something that you either have or you don’t; it is a skill set that you develop.

hand to shiſt , depress the gas pedal with your right foot while simultaneously releas- ing the clutch with your leſt foot as well as steer with your leſt hand and maneuver traffi c. The fi rst at empts were not pret y. But aſt er a period time and with repetitive, consistent practice, you were able to per- form all the required tasks smoothly and without thinking. By comparing your level of skills or com-

petency to that of others, you are engaging in an exercise of futility. The time it takes for you to develop new motor skills is as individ- ual as DNA; some riders have natural ability while others have to work harder. There will always be someone bet er than you, and thank goodness. They inspire, motivate and show us what is possible to achieve. Confi dence comes from within. It’s an understanding that brings clarity in know- ing that although you may struggle at times with get ing to the next skill level with any endeavor; this does not defi ne you as a fail- ure or a winner. Doubt, worries and fear are adversary emotions, some well-found- ed, while others are ludicrous and have no merit. The well-founded fears pertain to our safety, such as at empting to school or ride a horse outside of our depth or competency level. Seeking guidance from a professional in addition to consistent, repetitive prac- tice over a period of time will reduce the strength and power your doubts and fears hold over you. You will succeed; your eff orts will be rewarded. Stay with it. Be a watcher of your thoughts and emo- tions. Break it down, set le down. Identify the reason for your doubts or fears. Fear of get ing hurt, frustration at feeling a lack of progression, doubt in whether you have the time, passion or ability to do this? Seek guidance when you need it, focus on your path, not others, and do your best. Let go of your doubts, let the wind carry them on down the road.


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