Is this possible? Very timid rider owning a horse long term? Riding critique - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 06:19 PM Thread Starter
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Is this possible? Very timid rider owning a horse long term? Riding critique

Hello everyone,

I have been riding since I was very small and I have always been terrifyingly scared of everything. My heart and soul belongs to horses--I'm just so scared. I have never been a good rider. After years and years of lessons, I was just never any good. A large reason for this was my lack of progression due to my fear of falling off, killing myself, etc. I rode English for a long time, never getting much higher than cross rails. I quit riding for a couple years because I was having anxiety attacks on the way to the lesson. I realized dreading riding wasn't "right" for me and took a break. About a year later I left English riding entirely to try my hand at barrel racing (a horrible choice for a very skittish rider).

After riding my friend's horses for about 6 months, I felt I had the appropriate funds and time to buy my own horse. This horse turned out to be a nutcase (see my past posts) and was a serial rearer that obviously took advantage of my scared nature. He was checked by vets, chiropractors, dentists, and farriers for any health/pain issues causing his disbehavior and there was nothing ear marking him for pain. It was obviously rider error causing the problems. I ended up selling him for a pretty penny and have sat on the cash since, both missing horses terribly but wondering if I will ever find the right horse that doesn't terrify me.

Is it possible for me to find a bomb-proof horse just to pleasure ride around on that I won't ruin? I've always had the opinion that every time in the saddle is a training experience for the horse and rider. I'm a terrible rider, and I feel like I ruined my last horse just by riding him. His problems escalated the longer I owned him and the more I rode him. Can you guys watch these videos and let me know what you think? Is there a horse out there that I can putt-putt around on, enjoy, and not be scared of "ruining"? I plan on taking lessons when I move to Florida next year before I buy another horse to get me back into the "swing" of things. However, suggesting lessons isn't the answer I'm looking for. I don't think any lessons will help me, I will always be skiddish on a horse--it's just the way I am. I want to know if I can ever own a horse and not ruin them. Will every single horse out there, no matter how beginner friendly, take advantage of me? If the responses are negative, I won't look into buying another horse and explore other options.

These are some basic videos of me w/t/c on both my old barrel horse and a VERY nice horse I tried out but chickened out of buying for fear of "ruining" him.

(I know my diagnol is off in the trot video)

Thank you so much. I hope this wasn't tl;dr. :(
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post #2 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 10:58 PM
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First of all, you are so NOT a terrible rider. Are you kidding? you aren't perfect, but who is?
If you want a critique of your riding, I can give you some pointers. But the thing is you recognize a fundamental part of yourself , being timid, that you think will never change. And you want to have a horse that matches well with this fundamental part of your nature. I think this is very wise of you.
And it sounds like you had to go through a bit of "hell" to get to this decision. I salute your courage.

I know this one aquiaintance how kind of inherited two horse that were WAYYYYY too much horse for her. She was very fearful of horses, but determined to learn to ride these hroses. She was fortunate to find herself a really good trainer , who works using natural horsemanship basic philosophy and techniques (ala Buch Branaman and Bill Dorrance). My friend worked and worked and worked with this trainer. HOURS and HOURS of work. I dont lknow how she afforded it. I could not have done that. I would have sold those horses in a heartbeat. IN any case, anyone who knew her would not imagine her capable of riding them out on the trails, yet 2 years later, she is doing this.

It is because she found the right person who NEVER EVER belittled her for her fear and kept being ever confident that she could do it. and she did!

If you can find the right person to help you, and a good horse that is as reliable as a horse can be, (and they DO exist) you will have that place in your heart that longs to be happy with horses fulfilled.

AND, again, you are NOT a bad rider!!!!
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post #3 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your reply. I was beginning to think this WAS a tl;dr post!

I also appreciate your accepting views on my thoughts. I have been worried to admit until this point that I am flat out a chicken that will forever be a chicken. Thank you for understanding this, and embracing that part of my question. I am glad to hear other people have had similar feelings such as myself, and still managed to become a successful horse owner and rider.

Do you suggest shopping around for trainers once I get settled in my new state? Does expensive necessarily mean the best? I am willing to shell out some cash for this. I need and want horses in my life. What do I look for in horse ads that typically entails a very well behaved horse that will put up with me and help me versus taking advantage of me? Beginnier friendly? Kids horses? This is the search tactic I used to find my last horse and that was indeed a nightmare. I am so pathetic that I won't e-mail anyone about a horse unless they give the horse a 1-2 on the 1-10 temperament scale. Horrible, isn't it? However, I do feel my horse's previous owner did not represent him properly to me and only compounded the issues after buying him. I also was looking into 18-20 year old horses, and my friend/"trainer" highly advised against that due to the little or no resale value after buying a horse of that age. Should I go for very elderly horses?

I would LOVE some feedback on my riding. Both good, and bad. Thank you for the kind words regarding my riding. I rode at a huge rodeo arena with my nutcase horse, and often felt scoffed at or laughed at. It became very disheartening.

Thank you for the response and any further help!
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post #4 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:40 PM
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Only being interested in a horse that is only a 1 or 2 isn't horrible at all! It's actually very sensible, you know that you need a calm horse and this way your heart won't pick one that's too much for you.

Getting an 'elderly' horse may be a good idea. I know quite a few horses at 25 that are still going strong. My first horse was a 17 year old Thoroughbred and took the best care of me.

What discipline(s) are you interested in? Dressage? Trail Riding? Western Pleasure?

Dressage could help you with your riding. It helps you build a strong foundation so that in the case of an emergency, you know how to use your seat and keep your butt in the saddle.

Good luck with your horse search and keep your chin up!

"You know, for as long as I can remember, I've had memories." ~Colin Mochrie
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post #5 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:44 PM
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I'm a chronic worrier whenever I ride as well. I'm always thinking of the hundred ways my horse could spook, could fall down, could flip over. I guess it's instinctual, but the logical part of my brain has always rationalized this as: "If I'm aware of the dangers and prepared, then I may have time to save myself if something does happen, because I'll be quicker to react than the person off in la-la land." However, I've come to realize that it doesn't always work that way, and on the flip side of that coin, the tension you project could actually end up causing some of the problems you are so desperately trying to avoid by being hyper-aware. Most horses are incredibly sensitive to tension.

Just a suggestion, I know I always feel more confident whenever I wear a helmet. I relaxes me, and I don't think about falling off as quite such a big deal. Yes! Finding a horse that is suited to your personality as a rider is imperative. Just like couples in romantic relationships, some people bring out the worst in each other, and some bring out the best. It sounds like you need a been-there-done-that kinda horse. If they start to lapse into taking advantage of your timid nature, you can always get a trainer to give them some "tune-up" rides.
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post #6 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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I think I'm going to go for 17-20 year old horses with a 1-2 temperament rating. I've always been attracted to previous lesson horses, but have been told in the past these horses have their own issues?

For a long time, I just want a horse to ride around on my property. Trail rides, w/t/c in an arena/roundpen, just a horse to love and keep confidently. If I ever became as confident as I wish to be, I'd be willing to try any type of discipline. I've ridden both English and Western events competitively. However, I see competing in anything such a far off thing for myself that any horses I'd look at purchasing in the next year will just be "pleasure" horses.
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post #7 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:48 PM Thread Starter
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As for the helmet topic, Serendipitous, I feel the same. Having ridden English for years and years before turning western, I felt very odd and uncomfortable riding without a helmet. I quickly learned it is "taboo" to wear a helmet in western events. I know everyone will say "don't worry about what other people think" but it's very hard to do that when you're the one person out of a hundred wearing a helmet and being pointed out for doing so. I wore a helmet when I rode by myself. I kick myself for conforming like this :/
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post #8 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:56 PM
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Im no good at critique but I am a story teller. Just a year ago I was weekly taking a daughter to lessons who had fallen, been hurt, desperately loved horses but lived in fear.
Along came Red (god bless you Denise, QOS, if you are readin this). Red loves people, loves to be ridden and to be fawned over, and takes care of that little girl. In that year a daughter who had crying jags getting into the saddle is cantering jump courses. The right horse is out there, and it's important to find it. It's possible though, and worth it.
Good luck!!
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post #9 of 45 Old 08-26-2011, 11:59 PM
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Yea, ur not a bad rider! U do pretty good! I cant even canter yet, Im riding a green broke 3yr old! LOL, but I just went to a horse show, and met a horse that was 35 yrs old! The vet had told the owners that he is in perfect health and hislegs were sound that they could still ride him.... REALLY AND HONESTLY!!! I didnt realize it was actually a pony....I thought it was a young horse! Feed them well, and they will go for awhile!
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post #10 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 12:00 AM
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Well, you're right, in english events, helmets are expected, so there's not a huge problem there. In western, they are frowned upon, although I think if you stick to "fun shows" you get a lot more variety in what people show up in, so there's less of an expectation of not wearing a helmet. Perhaps (for showing eventually if you decide to do western events) you could get one of those new cowboy hat/helmet combos. Like this: Cowboy Hat Helmet System by Troxel : The Horse Diary

As for relaxing while riding, I also find that concentrating on thinking about little things like putting my heels down, rolling my shoulders back, etc. helps keep my mind from worrying too much. Also, singing in my head, or out-loud if you're feeling really brave. Visualizations as well. I had a really enjoyable ride one time where I cantered up a large sloping hill. The sun was shining, and the trees were swaying gently, and the horse that I was riding (a normally a very high-strung uppity horse) was super quiet, but forward, and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. I try to think about that if I find myself getting too worried or anxious about riding.
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