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Day 4 - The Competence - Confidence Loop

100 days

I talk a lot about riding confidence and also about confidence in our horses.

Sadly, confidence is not something we can get in a pill, find overnight, gain by sending our horse out for training or learn from a trick. Confidence in riding requires our input. The good news is, it's not as hard to get as you might think.

As riders, we experience a competence-confidence loop - this means that once you become competent at something, this gives you confidence and which inspires you to try to do more and so it goes on.

The important thing to remember is to break things down and teach from a strong foundation.

When I put up a video about teaching piaffe or flying changes, I get a huge response. It would be great if we could go out and teach flying changes before we have independent hindquarter and shoulder control but it's most unlikely to happen. If we could teach a horse that had no understanding of collection or softness in the bridle, piaffe then every school horse would perform the movement. However, there are foundations that need to be laid. 

Both of these movements are completely natural movements and every horse is more than capable of doing them (unless some physical injury prevents them). They also both make great goals for you as trainers. Just don't start with your goal because if you do the competence-confidence loop disappears - for both you and your horse!

As a mentor of mine used to say:

"Start with your goal - end in a wreck"

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