Need some help with saddle/fear/showing.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 08-15-2011, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,789
• Horses: 1
Need some help with saddle/fear/showing..

Well..we (the barn) went to an NAHA show on Sunday, and I got my first two ribbons (yay, only second year of showing, second show on the horse). I feel accomplished overall, but I've figured out a problem. No kicking, only a little hyper (walked out of ring (yes! It's been what I was working on at home), and no head tossing (didn't put the tie down on and kept my hands quiet..mostly). But, I think I have a rather..large, issue. Drew (friend) brought it up to me after the show that I looked like I was basically holding on for dear life everytime I ran. At the show, I knew I was tense and held the horn too much (wayy too much for 6-7 years riding and 2 years showing), but I didn't realise that I actually looked like I was clinging on and looked really uncomfortable while I was running.
Now, I remember last year where I only touched the horn during take-off (horse lunges forward, but a different horse), and around barrels or the end poles. I never need the horn riding Tunie or Dude. Now I'm riding Lucky (same saddle for the past 2 and a half years) and she canters/takes off even smoother than Tunie (all showed in the same classes, etc). So, after Drew told me, I thought that maybe it's because I'm still nervous letting Lucky go full out (because she can be crazy), let alone pushing her (Sunday's show was the first time I pushed her).
But then I thought about the saddle. I'm running games in a roping saddle.
And then I thought about why the saddle would bother me when I'm fine at home riding and never use it aside from take-off/spins/stopping.
Last year when I was riding Dude, I was really comfortable with him, stayed on everything he gave me (rears, balking, spooks, bucks, etc), and I never held onto the horn at all. So, Drew, Alajia, and I were in the field getting ready to run, and during our take-off, Dude lunged forward (more than normal I'm guessing), and I fell behind the saddle and onto his butt. I ended up jumping off before I DID fall, and was fine. Never had an issue running, never had an issue riding him.
Then I moved to Lucky this year. We went to Fanklin, PA for our first show together. I fell off in exhibition barrels because I accidently put leg on her and ran her towards the barrel instead of around it (she slammed the brakes on and turned, I kept going and landed on my ass beside the barrel). Got back up, took my belt off in case I fell again, and went back in for another run. Did perfectly fine, barely held the horn the rest of the show, and continued not to at home when practicing. I held her back that show, and used my classes to get use to her a little and not worry about anything but doing the patterns correctly.
So, I went back home, I've been working on absolutely everything with her since, and yesterday was our first show after that. I knew I was tense going in, but I figured out where I went wrong. I'm nervous of letting go for fear of falling behind the saddle again in front of a bunch of people. I don't need the horn when I'm running at home aside from where the horn is there for, so I figured that's the most practical reason for grabbing it while at a show. Not to mention, I will bet any money Lucky would start bucking and kicking as soon as I sat on her ass instead of in the saddle. And then I looked at my saddle compared to all the barrel saddles everyone else uses. The cantle on the saddle I've been using is much lower, and angled down more than on a barrel saddle. Which, I can't seem but think might be creating a bit of a problem when it only comes up about .5-1.5 inches from the seat of the saddle.

So..I've been thinking about what to do to help me get over this crap, and run as good at a show, as I do at home or at the park's arena where there's only my barn people to laugh at me, lol.
I can't think of anything but to just let go and ride. I don't want to put myself in unnecessary danger of being kicked in the face, if I fly behind my saddle again, and fall off behind her.

And I'm sorry this is so long o.o
I didn't really know how to condense it down more because this explains why I think this, and what happened before to possibly cause it.
I really appreciate any help, replies, etc.
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Iseul is offline  
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post #2 of 3 Old 08-17-2011, 03:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Hi Iseul. I can understand your frustration because fear and competition don't go together. Or even fear and riding, I know, I took a few tumbles from my horse, actually all caused by me but one, and didn't get hurt. I just rode her two weeks ago for the first time in about 9 months, because of weather and I'm not young. I got her head turned toward me and mounted from a block, and settled deep in the saddle and waited for a blow up. She settled in and waited for me to ask her to do something So I clicked and off we went wandering around the arena at a walk and I was trying to make sure I was keeping my hands still, and not tensing my rear end, etc. We ended on a good note and I was really glad, the next time will be easier. One time she bucked me off was when I was trying to mount from a block and I put my left foot in the stirrup and she started to swing her hind end away and rather than set her up again properly I lunged at her, landed on my stomach across the saddle, block went flying and she bucked. So I'm getting her used to the mounting block again because it was all my fault and I frightened her. She really did excellent considering what had happened the last time I put my foot in a stirrup from a block.
Maybe a barrel racing saddle with a high cantle could get you over some of this. Because you should be afraid but try and get over it with any tools you can use. Getting kicked in the head from a horse that would get frightened if you ended up behind the saddle is a realistic fear and nothing to try and laugh off. I took my greatest fear and my horse's and worked hard to desensitize HER. I've worked her around mounting blocks and had her stand while I leaned over her from the block to scratch her withers and off side. So that just made it my fear I had to deal with.
When you are at home would it be possible for one of your barn friends help you with Lucky while you have her stand and move from the saddle to behind it, and back in it again? Someone to hold her, and maybe you even walk a few steps behind the saddle with a friend leading her? And maybe after that, perhaps a different saddle, pushing her at home first? I can only tell you the things that worked for me, but I hope something here will help. Good luck. Cheryl
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post #3 of 3 Old 08-24-2011, 03:30 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 4,962
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When you run barrels, even at home, when you set your horse up to turn the barrel you need to hold the horn to plant your butt in the saddle. The only way I can really explain it is to make a "run" lol So here goes..

Alright, going to the right barrel first..Going in the alley way No hands on horn running in. Line yourself up for a nice pocket get to the barrel and check Lucky. RIGHT after you check her drop your LEFT hand to the horn and plant yourself so you don't go everywhere and you're steady, drive her with your RIGHT hand (pull inside rein kinda in an up swooping motion towards you - not over the barrel) come out of the first barrel and use both hands to drive her to the second barrel.. Set up your pocket and drive her, check her when you are ready to turn and drop your RIGHT hand to the horn and plant yourself in the seat, steer her with your LEFT hand (in the up swoop motion - not over the barrel) come out of the second barrel and use both hands to drive to the third, set up your pocket and check her when you're about to turn then drop your RIGHT hand again and grab the horn to plant yourself and center your weight, again steer with your LEFT hand and hold the horn with your RIGHT hand.. Come out of the third and run home!

Does that make any sense? I hope it does and it helps!

I am Sparkly Meanie Doodie Head and I approve this message!
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