Be brave.."Trot on"
Apr 2, 2005
Lancs England
If you are nervous, but you keep thinking to yourself that you are confident and you try to act and be confident, will the horse pick up on you being nervous, or confident?:confused:
(Sorry if it doesn't make sense:rolleyes: )


New Member
Oct 16, 2004
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Horses are masters at reading body language, so you would have to be very aware of what non-verbal cues you'd be giving.

I'd say that unless you were a excellent actress they would generally be able to suss that something wasn't quite right.


New Member
Nov 3, 2005
I think it depends on how well you pretend to be confident! You would have to control your body. For example, don't tense up and don't grip with your hands or legs, make your body and breathing all relaxed. Not only will your horse think you are relaxed, you can even fool your own mind into being relaxed this way!

When you're nervous, your mind gives signals to your body that tell it to tense up, speed up your heart rate etc. When your mind is relaxed, it tells your body to relax as well. But, and this is the important thing, your body can dictate your mind, just as your mind can dictate your body. It's a recognised psychological principle. If you act a certain way, you will start feeling that way too. For example, try smiling and laughing at the computer screen right now. Your mood will probably lift a little bit. Now look really angry (eyebrows down, bare teeth). You're mood will probably get a little bit angrier as well.

I do this myself in a way. I tend to be a bit nervous if I let myself. But I try to act confident, and fool my horse, myself and other people into thinking that I am confident. It does help. If I let myself get nervous, by thinking What Ifs, talking about my nerves etc, I will actually get nervous. I try to slow down my breathing and heart rate, relax my muscles, block negative thoughts out of my mind, focus on positive things, and try to feel confident that I can handle my horse, and in 'pretending' I actually make myself feel more confident.

Sorry, a bit of a ramble, but it's hard to explain. :)


New Member
Jul 29, 2005
I agree! I am a Nervous Nellie...I admit and even when I keep saying I AM horse always seems to pick up the fact that I am nervous...mainly because someone who is truly confident will not be as stiff as a stick sitting atop a horse. :p
But they certainly pick up...EVERY emotion a rider has...

beanz's mum

Kilmucklin Girl
Jan 18, 2006
the horse CAN tell when your nervous there was this rider at my RI and she is a really good rider she rode a horse that can get a bit excited when doin cross country and bolts when he is with his best friend as we were doin XC she turned him the opposite way so he wouldnt bolt tha gave him signs that she was nervous but when you ARE nervous you have to breathe and relax:D


New Member
Apr 13, 2006
Wings said:
For example, try smiling and laughing at the computer screen right now. Your mood will probably lift a little bit. Now look really angry (eyebrows down, bare teeth). You're mood will probably get a little bit angrier as well.

lol I can just see the funny looks NR readers are going to get all over the country when people notice them making faces at their computer screen...:D


Well-Known Member
Oct 13, 2004
On an island
Hmm, well, they can sense nerves, (my mare definitely can) but I find when I'm out hacking if I sing ridiculous silly songs (even if my body is saying "help") she doesn't get quite as stressy, ie, she doesn't seem to know I'm as nervous. I always make an effort not to grip with my legs and relax my arms - this helps fool her (sometimes). On the ground she used to sense my nerves too - but I'm very confident around horses now (gosh, I sound big headed don't I????!:p ) I've handled her in a variety of situations - we've been through quite a lot in a year!!!

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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Think about it this way - if you are giving a verbal presentation at work/school and you are nervous, can you hide it? I think that you can adapt your body language, your voice and your attitude so you display a front of confidence even when you are nervous inside.

You can do the same when on a horse. If you tell yourself that you ARE going to get on and go for a hack (for example), you can do things like sing, talk to the horse, really concentrate on your position and make sure that your leg is on etc. When I do this, I almost convience myself that I am confident, and I am so busy forcing myself to overcome my instinctive body language (which is to cling on and freeze!) that I almost forget that I was nervous in the first place.

If it were not possible, then we could never turn ourselves from nervous riders into confident riders.
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