Terrified to ride - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 03:19 AM Thread Starter
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Terrified to ride

So I started riding when I was about five years old and I would take lessons only in the summer because my mom had summers off. I used to be a fearless rider and would just go. I loved to jump and the height of jumps never scared me and if I fell I would just dust myself off and get back on. One summer when I was about ten I was riding an arab who was being trained as a lesson horse and I was the first student to ever ride him. I asked for a trot and he spooked and took off I hit the fence. Got back on and did the same thing haplened two more times. After that I was done for the day. I kept riding and have had a few more falls and have even broken a few helmets. Now my back is a little off and gets ridiculously sore but that is the only riding related injury I gained besides some scrapes and bruises. When I turned 14 I stopped lessons and leased a quarter horse mare who was said to be well trained in dressage. I took up 4-H and this mare had western pleasure training and trail training and she was even trained to do a few tricks. I was thrilled. I rode the mare before we agreed to lease her and things were all right the lease was an easy lease anyways. I just cleaned stalls for her board and we paid for her shoes. Well my 4-H group decided to go to a dressage show so we all met up at the leaders house to practice. I get on the mare and she starts panicking every time we pass a letter and then starts doing a Spanish walk. That lesson was short lived and I ended up showing on another girls horse who I only rode once before the show and I ended up placing 6th with a score of 71.3%. We tried to keep working with the mare trying to keep her under steady work outs and keeping her off sugary feeds. In the end the only thing we did well in was showmanship because no matter what that crazy mare pulled I never feared her on the ground. Eventually we gave up dressage and tried western pleasure where she threw me many times even at the arena at the small barn where she was kept. She had more attempts and freak outs than I did falls but the more she freaked the more scared I became. We tried everything, changing her tack, changing it back, hours of ground work, but she always tensed and freaked when I rode her. At first I thought it was me but my friend rode her and she pulled the same stuff. Finally I decided to just trail ride, which was what she was being used for befor I leased her and she took off for no reason at a dead gallop straight for a busy road which terrified me because I have seen the horse whisperer. None of the other horses got spooked. Only her. Two days later I was riding her in the arena and asked for a canter three strides into it she started bucking and every now and then threw in a few rears (which unfortunately wasn't uncommon with her) and during a buck I got thrown into the fence and I got my legs tangled got plenty of bruises bent in the metal of the fence pretty well and smaked my head pretty hard. I was pretty close to a cuncusion but I didn't have one and my head, back and kegs hurt for a week. My mom was there and she is not a horse person and she took me straight to the doctor in a panic because I guess the fall looked bad. She has seen me fall before and has never panicked like that. My sisters put away the mare and my mom picked them up from the barn on our way home. I never got on that mare again and the owners took her back. The reason they leased her in the first place I guess was the wife was scared of her too and I had more experience than her and she thought we'd work better together. Im 19 now and I am still terrified to ride. I have only ridden one horse since that terrible day (a 21 year old ex show jumper who is literally bomb proof. I have seen her ridden on the foruth of july with fireworks going off and she didnt even blink) and I can't bring myself to canter at all and trotting makes me a little nervous but I can handle it. I take care of the ex show jumper and I take care of other dressage and show juming horses. It's my job and I like it, I hand walk and lunge and feed and groom and I do just fine. Even with very panicky and spooky horses. But once im asked to ride the nerves come up again. I loved riding and it kept me in great shape but now the thing I loved is the thing that scares me the most. I keep replaying the scene of the fall and I am scared I am going to really do something to my back that may do more affects to my every day life than just the pain from it being crooked. Two years ago I was at a summer camp and I tore all but 1 ligament in my ankle and I have noticed as I ride it hurts then I lose feeling in it. I want to become a ttherapeutic riding instructor but im just not sure anymore if it's a good idea for me to be riding anymore. I have been told im a good rider by many judges and instructors and that I have soft hands but a good strong seat. Im just not sure if it is best for me to give it up or not. Horses are the thing I have lived since I could remember and I remember all the good and love being around them and work well with them and I am still really young but I have my back and ankle problems now and an extreme fear of the canter. Im asking for advice. Should I keep riding, take some lessons and figure out a way to work with my ankle and back or just give it up and stay with the ground work which i am confident with? And if I should still ride, what can I do to let go of that fear that is holding me back? Thank you for your time and advice and sorry for such a long story I just wanted you to know all that happened.
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 05:08 AM
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I'm sorry for you and I don't really what to say.
I hope you find enough courage to ride again and when/if you do don't push your self to far and start with sitting on the horse move onto walking take your time get to know the horse.
I hope someone comes up with a better answer then this.

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post #3 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 05:35 AM
Green Broke
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As far as ankle paint it's somewhat manageable I think. Find out what movement is hurting, and alter your riding to suit it. You might have to change a little, but it should be doable.

I lost my confidence once before and I didn't ride for years. The only thing that got it back was time. With my horse I'd get on for literally two or three minutes, then get off, then I'd do it again and again and again and slowly I got more and more confident.

No one can tell you if you should ride. If you still want to do it, then do it. Give it the time. If you just want to walk then walk.
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 06:25 AM
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Heres the question you need to ask yourself can you or do you enjoy ir? If you dont enjoy it there is no point continuing. In january i got thrown from my green mare ever since i got her we had one whole year of a untrainable horse. Trainers , vets noone would touch her noone could handle her yet i refused to give up on her. You would walk in her pen she would charge you and start rearing up at your head , my mom threatened to shoot her. A year later she is a totally different horse. It was sooo frusterating i had ruled out everything bloodwork , saddle fitting , hormones and nothing (except her brain) was wrong. Anywho in january i flew off over her head cracked my helmet and got a concssion it was the first time i ever realized how dangerous riding can be and i didnt know if i wanted to keep going , it reallly opened up my eyes. It was the first time i ever questioned myself. I thought for awhile and decided to keep riding. But thats me. I think if you decide you want to ride you should only be on older dead broke horses until you can gain some confidence back! :)
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 07:05 AM
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Baby steps :) Until you are confident 100% in walk and trot, don't even bother cantering. Just walk and trot until it gets boring, and you WANT to push yourself that step farther. Or in the end decide you don't. Not everybody canters, you know :)

I lose confidence very easily and the horse that's built it back up is in fact a 3yo Thoroughbred who was absolutely mental when I got her. Not at all what I recommend for a nervous person but we've just clicked and it works.

You don't have to get back in the saddle if you don't want to, but if you do, then just take it slow. You've had some bad falls and some big scares, so now you need to take it slow on a nice steady horse.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-16-2013, 07:23 AM
Green Broke
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If you want to ride..that is one thing...riding the "crazies" is another. No one has to canter or show. Do only what You truly want to do or are ready for. True friends won't push you beyond what you are ready for. If we knew your area we could make better recommendations.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-17-2013, 05:57 PM
Green Broke
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Wow - I'm surprised you are still considering riding even after all the accidents and scares you've had. Honestly, I think you've just had horrible luck with horses you've ridden. Most horses aren't that chaotic. Find yourself a bombproof horse to help build up your confidence again.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-17-2013, 10:57 PM
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You are very brave, and I commend you for that.

You said that you are ok handling them on the ground? You could probably still consider getting a degree in communications and horse management and still go the therapeutic route. I don't know if you have ever volunteered at a place before, but instructors are never riding the horses, they are on the ground interacting with the students, only with the very occasional doubles riding, if there is extra support that the rider may need.

As for the fear, and I apologize for being blunt here, but I have seen a (rare handful) of amazing riders or trainers that had very bad head injuries from a bad fall that always had a fear of riding after. It is horrible to watch.

Having said that, I've also seen plenty of the same instances where the rider was able to come back into it over time. How much time? Nobody can really say or tell except yourself. Find yourself a bombproof horse to practice on and someone you really trust with your life that is horse savvy-whether that be your trainer or your best friend, just someone that is really good at making you feel great and confident, and have them be your guide.

Don't expect the world from yourself the first few (or many) rides either. Baby steps, take it five minutes at a time. End on a good note. Before you get off, make sure you have calmed yourself down and you feel safe and secure. If that means it takes you one lap around the arena of walking with someone by your horses' side and then ten minutes of just standing on the horse while practicing deep breathing to settle your mind, do it. You must start somewhere.

I apologize, I just realized how long this ended up being, but I am passionate about these sorts of things and you sound like you'd really like some support and help through this. Feel free to PM me if you ever feel like.

Good luck and vibes coming your way, you have a whole slew of people rooting for you!

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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