An exercise I use to help relax my students is getting them to sing a song (ABC's, Twinkle Twinkle etc) It lets them focus on something else AND they keep breathing, which is very important when you're nervous.
Everything that they said is great! Also try going for short canters so that you always feel in control. Canter for four strides, then trot for a few, then canter sir a few and so on. Over time try cantering for longer, and if you feel nervous again, go back to cantering for only a few strides.
Another thing you can do while cantering is counting your breaths or your horses strides. This will give you something else to focus on.
Thank you! I can't wait to try these!
I agree with Sarah. I read an article a while back about anxiety on horseback, and one of the exercises you could do was find 3 different things you hear, see, and smell, and recite them out loud. For example, "I see the arena wall, I smell flowers, I hear horses bickering." Put as much detail into what you are sensing, and repeat everything in different orders. By the time you have done it about five times, you won't be thinking about whatever was bothering you anymore.
A couple different things! 1. Look around you and think of 3 different things you see, hear and feel. As you focus on those things you won't be focused on feeling nervous. 2. Counting always helps so make sure your rhythm never changes, I could 1-4 but some count from 3-1. It helps not only keep the horses rythum the same but helps your nerves as well since our brain can actually only do one thing at a time. Hope that helps!! :)