seat + anxiety issues - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 10-19-2010, 10:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
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seat + anxiety issues

Hi, I'm new! Posted in the new members board but didn't really get any responses, but hullo. c:


I wouldn't consider myself a total novice around horses - have ridden since I was little (now I'm 14), I've done some schooling shows, schooled up to 2'6-2'9 at one point (2'9 with no hands, fun!) but now I'm just getting back into the swing of things after being out of it for about 2 years, so I'm schooling 2'-2'3 normally.

I ride at a hunter/jumper barn in Washington, goes by Phoenix Farm, but I began my riding 'career' (4+ years) at Archway in Bothell, WA if anyone's heard of that.

I was riding at Archway up until about the end of sixth grade and then I took a break for the summer season, got back into riding and started at a new barn (Phoenix), rode there until February of seventh grade, then a combination of anxiety/school had me deciding to take a break.

TL;DR just read below!

SO! I take lessons, so there's always a 'who will I ride' anticipation/anxiety that I seem to have. I've ridden six of the lesson horses in the whole time I've been at Phoenix, but lately I've only ridden two of them multiple times, Gjinger and Otto.

Gjinger is a mare who I'm fairly comfortable on, she's silly and whenever we're riding to fences she absolutely REFUSES to jump if I'm even a little bit out of the saddle in a half-seat or the like, so I basically just have to sit back and let her take her own way to the fence while I keep her together and pointed the right way.

She's just a sweetie. No issues here, unless it's when she gets quick when we do a little course, but the next time I ride, my coach said I'd be using a slightly stronger bit than what I usually ride her in so I have a little bit more of a break system with Miss Forward.

Now, Otto, Otto kind of makes me nervous. He's a big guy, ex-GP jumper imported from Europe (now 19), so he's extremely well-schooled, super smart. Riding him makes me a little bit anxious, I'll be honest. I carry a crop and wear spurs because he's crazy good at evading aids, and him being an old man sometimes needs a little bit of incentive to get working. Him being such a big boy kind of intimidates me into being "okay, you can go as slow as you want" which makes me want to almost... hmm.. lean forward and do the work for him?

My issue with him is that I have SUCH a hard time getting back on my buns when riding him, he's got the best ground manners, but I just get very nervous and lean-y riding him and it almost makes me curl up?

Does anybody have any tips on how:

A) I can sit back on the way to fences with Gjingey
B) Become less anxious about the time before lessons/while I'm riding
C) Sit back on a big guy like Otto!
D) How would you classify me as a rider? Competent, novice, etc. Just looking for opinions! I know I have a longlong way to go.


micklepickle is offline  
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-19-2010, 11:43 PM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: On my horse's back! Obviously!
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First, welcome to the forum! I'm sure you'll find it super helpful! As for your questions... I'll leave A, C and D to more experienced people.

As for B, I'd say don't worry about it! That seems hard to do, but you know that the horses are safe, and you know that you can ride them! Try taking 5 deep breaths before you go and ride, just to calm yourself down. Then go through your head and remind yourself of what to do if something goes wrong (1 rein stop, emergency dismount, etc). Finally, remind yourself that these are GREAT horses and that you CAN do it! I've had times like these, but you just have to work through it. Most importantly, remember DON'T DO ANYTHING YOU AREN'T COMFORTABLE WITH! Everything will come with time, don't rush things!

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
haleylvsshammy is offline  
post #3 of 4 Old 10-20-2010, 01:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Texas
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Welcome to the forum!

A) I wouldn't focus so much on sitting back and instead think more of sitting up. I know exactly what you're describing with this mare, because my gelding really prefers me to be pretty much in the saddle as we start to approach a jump. Think of balancing your weight over your horse's center of gravity. Really keep your shoulders back and keep your seat in the saddle, but keep it there lightly (kind of hard to describe, I apologize) so she knows you're there and in the saddle. The key is to just really make sure you're balanced over her motion, that way you're ready when she takes off and don't get left behind.

B) Like haleylvsshammy said, breathe! Breathe deeply and slowly and don't focus on who you're going to ride, focus on the fact that no matter WHO you ride, you'll end up learning something new, have a great lesson, and have a lot of fun doing it! When you get tense, your horse will too, so just elax!

C) How big is Otto? If he's an ex-GP horse that makes me think he's probably a pretty big guy with a big stride. I rode an 18 hh Oldenburg for a while and his stride was monstrous! Even when he was moving forward he felt slow! Don't let this guy fool you into thinking he's got no energy. While I'm sure he does get a bit slower than he used to, take into mind his large stride. You want to feel him moving under you well, but not like he's running around the arena with his nose plowing into the ground because he's rushing on the forehand. Again, think about sitting up and tall! When you bring your shoulders back think of touching your shoulder blades. You may have to constantly remind yourself at first, but eventually it'll become second nature.

D) I can't really give a classification to your skill, just because there are no videos or pictures for me to really see how you ride. :)

"Always be yourself. Unless you can be a unicorn. Then, always be a unicorn."
Strange is offline  
post #4 of 4 Old 10-20-2010, 05:19 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Thanks you guys SO much for the replies! Otto IS a big guy, he's a over 17hh but is the sweetest ever on the ground.

Touching shoulderblades, and sitting up, sounds great! My coach Teri enjoys using the phrase touching my shoulder blades together, so I get what you're saying. Hopefully we'll have a flat lesson or a at least a long warm up so I can practice on the flat before we go over fences.

Thanks again you guys, and I'll see if I can get a video of me riding sometime up on the forum.
micklepickle is offline  

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