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Confidence Tips from Sue Franks

Sue Franks is horsewoman with 50 years of experience who has enjoyed extensive successes in many disciplines from Reining, Western Dressage, Trail & Working Equitation.

supports her natural ability to effectively train her riders, but what she offers goes far beyond her horsemanship skills. She is an intuitive and kind instructor with a unique ability to inspire, motivate and encourage.

If you sometimes lack confidence, there is a lot to be gained from reading her words.

                                   ~ Colleen


Notes for Nervous Nellies

So you’ve waited for your time to ride, the kids have grown up you have grandkids .

You have brought your 5 acres, you have now found the perfect horse, (aged, well worked horse of any size, colour, breed). Please at this stage stay away from rescues, ex race horse until you have gained more experience and confidence.

You have audited clinics on horsemanship and confidence, you have spoken to the regulars going to these clinics and they have told you of their progress. These people will give you the names of their coaches and tell you why they put their trust in certain people over others. Please listen to these people who are making progress, and be aware that different coaches suit different people, so someone that is right for one person may not be your perfect coach.

So now how do we start? You’ve saddled your perfect horse, you have ground worked your horse, and he is nice and quiet and standing quietly. (Just a quick note, you will have heightened senses, you will imagined things that are not really happening like your horse picking an ear and looking at a lady beetle at 3 km away), breathe deeply, concentrate on your breath, concentrate in your mind on the picture of yourself on your horse, see yourself sitting on your horse, see yourself walking your horse turning your horse left and right stopping your horse, see yourself trotting and cantering your horse, as you keep breathing deeply into your stomach feel good emotions be excited be happy this is what you’ve dream off.

Now open your eyes, lead your horse up to the mounting block, put a foot in the stirrup and climb on. Now climb off, breathe deep now climb on now climb off, was that hard?

What went through your mind? Where are your thoughts excitement and joy or were you thinking of what could go wrong? If the latter, change your thoughts immediately you did well!! Congratulate yourself!



If you can take your horse for a little walk around the arena or the area you’re riding, keep changing direction keep your chin up keep looking around towards the horizon, practice the breathing you started with on the ground while you walk and change direction. Stop your horse, pat your horse, ride your horse forward again change direction a lot, stop repeat if you can then get off. Again congratulate yourself, this is important, acknowledge all wins and movements forward. It doesn’t matter how small a step forward is a step forward.

Okay it didn’t go how you planned, you couldn’t get your horse to walk forward in fact he walked backwards. Try taking his head to the side as you walk forwards, repeat this until you can walk him forward straight ahead.

Now as you walk forward reach down a rein so it is short, take your horses nose towards your knee, keep the short rein in your hand wide, towards your hip belt loop, slide the leg on the same side as a short rein and the bend back a little and move his hip. Just do this at a walk repeatedly both sides. This is a tool you will use if things go wrong when you are riding straight ahead out in the paddock or your horse gets a fright in the arena, try not to overdo it every time your horse flicks an ear or you think he’s scared, he probably isn’t, your senses are just probably heightened.

Note : It’s always a good Idea to have a knowledgeable, sensible horse friend with you, someone who won’t over react and can hold you horse while you get up and down.

Once you have mastered this, you will find your horse will be softer in your hand and will listen to your leg a little more, it will also help him get used to your legs and help you get used to using your legs. Bending like this will also help your balance.

Congratulations, you're on your way to starting riding again after whatever stopped you. Please at all times watch your self talk, nip those horrible thoughts of doubt in the bud, I hear people rationalise their bad thoughts, telling me they must be true. Well if you keep saying them they will be true, just as true as if you also put positive uplifting thoughts in your head as you to get back on your horse.

A good idea is to keep a journal of your progress. Always put something good as well as the things you need to work on in it. This is to look back at in 3, 6, 12 months time. So you can observe remember and compare, your journey and the reason why you are together now. Enjoy, have fun and tomorrow is another day.

Now repeat , repeat , repeat everyday or as often as you can (more than once a month) you won’t get over your fear or lack of confidence in a hurry, it’s repetition, repetition, repetition, now enjoy every victory.

After all we have one life to live so live it well! 

Don’t leave your music unplayed.


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