Is this possible? Very timid rider owning a horse long term? Riding critique - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 12:07 AM
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I am one of the biggest chickens there is. I am afraid to drive a car and only do it if I absolutely have to. Every time I drive I picture myself doing something stupid and getting into a wreck. So I know about fear.

But like you I love horses and want them in my life. They help me get over my fear. I've been riding for about 17 years now, and I am very comfortable on my horses, so I know you can do it too! The first year I had my very first horse, I didn't know if I was going to make it, but I did. And boy am I glad I stuck with it.

It's kind of like learning to swim. Get comfortable in the kiddie pool before you jump off the diving board. Get a good older horse and who cares about the resale value? Any horse I have I always figure I will keep it until it dies anyway.

An older horse may only be worth little or nothing money-wise but who cares? If he/she takes good care of you and you enjoy your time with him/her, that's worth it's weight in gold. I would try to get a sound, healthy older horse. But a good older horse is a GREAT way to get comfortable with horses. Just try to pick out something healthy, sound, and well mannered.

All the "value" in the world means nothing if the horse isn't a horse you are comfortable and happy with. It only has to please YOU, not your friends and trainer. That's just my 2 cents worth.

PS. Good horses are out there. They may seem like they are far and few between because everyone wants to keep the good ones, but they do exist, and it is a buyer's market.
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post #12 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 12:53 AM
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There is nothing like a discussion about fear to bring horse riders together. I think that we riders are mostly scared poopless half of the time we ride and yet we are doing it anyway. We oughta have our heads examined!

I think an older horse might be a good idea. They are so sweet and it brings out the maternal feelings for them when you think about the slightly special care they might need, like warming up a bit slowly at first, an extra blanket if it's really cold, a good massage from time to time and protection from bullies in the pasture. You get this sort of "I'll keep you safe" feeling toward an older horse. And they are so much wiser, if they have had a good life.

I think that after you have moved (I thought I read that you are moving?) I would seek out a trainer first. I think that you might look into learning about natural horsemanship. A lot of people who are timid on horseback do quite well on the ground with horses. Sometimes they are made fun of in that they do more ground work than ride, but if this is how they enjoy their horse, who's to critisize them. Horses are not solely there for us to RIDE. We can enjoy interacting with them and thus learn a great deal about who WE are.

I learned so much from the same lady that I mentioned in my earlier post. And working in a round pen and on the ground on a leadline has really improved my perceptiveness and empathy toward horses and how very, very sensitive they really are. As you work with them you can build a kind of ability to have a dialogue of "push and pull" with them. It is amazing how naturally they respond to this language and once you know how to use and read it, even a small amount, you feel more confident around them in general.

If you find a good trainer who perhaps uses natural horsemanship techiniques, I would take some lessons in ground work with her, using her horse at first and then ask her to help you find a good match for you. Watch her, watch other students, ask questions. Start anew.
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post #13 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 01:15 AM
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Oh SamC, your post broke my heart <hugs> I wish that you were closer to me and you could come and ride my horse with me.

I'd like to address your former horse first. I am not a timid rider, I am far from perfect but I do have quite a bit of experience. Anyway, I bought a horse stupidly that must have been drugged. She vet checked fine, teeth, chiro, no problems yet she was also a chronic rearer and bucker. I restarted her from the ground up, nothing helped, she was just insane. My point is that there is no reason to assume that you ruined your former horse just because he/she vet checked ok, some horses just have issues.

Ok on to other things. I do not see a terrible rider that will ruin a horse at all. I do see the emotions that you are describing though, you look tense, your whole body is stiff and frankly you do look scared. And actually that's quite a good thing, as you know what you are doing that you need to work on.

It is totally possible to find perfectly safe horses, think of therapeutic riding schools for disabled people (I used to teach at one) and those horses have completely 'dead weights' flopping around on their backs, yanking at their mouths and they cope without being a problem.

I would suggest to you that it is not so much about the age of the horse, or the breed but it is more about finding that horse with the right mind for you. You need a horse that you can trust, that will help you rebuild your confidence as while you feel the way you do, you are not allowing yourself to progress in your riding abilities.

Do you have friends who ride who you trust? If so can you take them with you to see horses? Let the seller ride first, then your friend, then you if you feel you can.

Senior horses are a great option, but they are not the only option, my 6 year old is as quiet as can be, and he is off the track. I would recommend seeing a lot of horses, and not making a rash decision and really feeling a connection with the horse before buying.

Good luck, and please keep us posted.
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Last edited by AlexS; 08-27-2011 at 01:17 AM.
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post #14 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 01:43 AM
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Sam, I forgot to add my comments on your riding, since you posted three videos. I am not going back to look at them again, so I will go based on what I remember.

Like Alex said, you did look a bit scared and stiff, but you were out there going, and going! The thing that I remember most was that when the hrose slowed down you ended up falling forward. So, this means that you are not supporting yourself with your core quite enough, and it goes hand in hand with being really stiff and locked in the pelvis area . One thought would be that when you are thinking that you are about to ask for a downward transition, YOU make the tranistion first with your body, so you are already there when the horse slows down to join you.

So, you really sit up , think "trot" and kind of postion your body and move it as if the horse were already trotting. He will change his gait to match yours and you'll be ready, instead of the other way around; he stops cantering and you keep going and have to slump forward to slow down to mathch him.

Does this make any sense?
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post #15 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 02:56 AM
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post #16 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 03:12 AM
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My trainer likes to pick on me to get me to relax while I was beginning a trot. I was so scared to trot, but she kept saying she was going to whip her on the butt, lol... and then after she had me laughing and saying "no, no no!" she lead her around at a trot. We r trotting (only a little, b/c she hurt her foot), so Im waiting for that to heal right now. I think you need someone who is going to joke with you and have fun, not constantly telling you to fiz something ur doing. B/c ur not bad. U just need to relax and get confidence!
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post #17 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 09:04 AM
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Wow, after watching the videos, I have decided you are very harsh on yourself. D;
I also have a timid problem. Once I find something my horse is scared of, I never go near it. Once I fall off due to something, I don't do it again. To be honest, I have only cantered once which was on a school pony. You think your the bad rider? :P
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post #18 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 09:51 AM
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I agree completely with Alex.

Find the horse that is right for YOU, and it'll all fall into place. A good trainer who understands your fear issues will also be a great help.

I used to be a fearless rider. I'd get on anything that had 4 legs and whinnied, regardless of their bucks, bolts, spooks, or other shenanigans. I was the one people wanted to ride their crazy horses first, because nothing scared me.

Fast forward about 25 years, and I'm no longer that young, lithe rider. I'd had at least one bad riding wreck that left me with arthritis in my pelvic region, and I can't lift my left leg high enough to get on a horse from the ground anymore. Mounting blocks became my friend. I wasn't exactly afraid to ride, but I wasn't willing to get on the crazies anymore.

Two things happened in the same year that turned me into a quivering mess afraid to ride. First, I had a very bad wreck involving a bucking horse. Broke 3 ribs on my left side, broke my right collarbone, and got a very bad concussion which caused me to have a retinal tear in my left eye. Second, I lost my heart horse of 21 years. He was always my 'go to' guy when I was hurt or scared, and a few rides on him would give me my confidence back. Without him I wasn't just afraid to ride, I was terrified.

I spent about 6 months avoiding the other riding horse I had, because he's not exactly an easy ride. Nice enough little guy, but he's a spookmeister and I needed a horse that wasn't going to bat an eye at anything.

I knew if I didn't get help I wasn't ever going to get back in the saddle again, and being a horsewoman, that was intolerable to me. I found a trainer to whom I explained the issues, and she assured me she'd get me back in the saddle. She said she would only push me if I needed it, and we'd go at my pace until I felt comfortable. She had some very calm, older lesson horses, and we'd start on them.

The first time I went for a lesson I thought I was going to puke or faint, but I did go. Oh, I thought about cancelling, but I didn't.

It took me literally 10 minutes to get up enough courage just to get in the saddle. I was shaking like a leaf and told the trainer, "I can't do this." She said, "Yes you can. The horse isn't going to do anything. Take your time, but you ARE going to get on that horse today."

Once I was in the saddle I surprisingly found out that it's not RIDING I was afraid of, it was mounting. I'd been bucked off while mounting, so my subconscious mind associated mounting with danger.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy and there will most likely be setbacks and days that you wonder why you're doing it, but if you're determined and find the right horse, you will be comfortable in the saddle.

Even 3 years later I still have a faint frisson of fear when mounting, but once I'm on the horse and they're not acting like total idiots, I'm completely fine. I'm now riding the spookmeister, and he's turned into quite the nice little trail mount. He'll always be a little bit of a head case, but I'm not afraid of him now.

Good luck. I know you can do it, because you have the most important things of all; your love for horses and a desire to overcome your fear.
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post #19 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I think that after you have moved (I thought I read that you are moving?) I would seek out a trainer first. I think that you might look into learning about natural horsemanship. A lot of people who are timid on horseback do quite well on the ground with horses. Sometimes they are made fun of in that they do more ground work than ride, but if this is how they enjoy their horse, who's to critisize them. Horses are not solely there for us to RIDE. We can enjoy interacting with them and thus learn a great deal about who WE are.
I personally suck at ground work. I'm a much better rider than a groundwork person. I didn't realize how bad I was at groundwork until I had a foal. I'm all thumbs. It's been a year from hell.

I've also only hired a trainer once, for a few hours, for groundwork lessons with the foal. I learned to ride, out on the trail no less, by trial and error and a few years riding rental horses, and I need a trainer for the groundwork. How weird is that!? I am still wishing I had more help with the groundwork. It's harder than it looks. I think riding might be easier!
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post #20 of 45 Old 08-27-2011, 03:09 PM
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I would just like to say you are not on your own with this feeling there are alot of us out there that are frightened, scared, anxious, apprehensive and all the other words that get your heart racing and make you sweaty! I know exactly how you feel as I am the exact same! Horses have been in my family since i can remember and as i child i mostly rode bareback. I had a break from horses through my teen years and early 20's returning at 25. I decided to buy myself a horse who i was guaranteed was quiet, safe and all the rest of the jargon that some people will use just to get a sale. To cut a long story short this horse totally intimidated me and shattered what little confidence I had and has left me very scared of horses. I got another horse and found it increasingly difficult to even mount never mind ride. I eventually sold her as i didn't think it was fair to leave her just in a field doing nothing. After months of looking for the total bombproof pony, kid safe, disabled rider friendly all the kind of horses that i was sure would help me regain my confidence I finally found my current mare who at the time we bought her was in foal. I found myself a NH instructor locally and sent myself to her for lessons on her horses this sometimes meant we sat for a full hour in the saddle with me crying i was that scared to move ( i should mention i'm not as scared doing groundwork as i am in the saddle) i worked for the full pregnancy with my mare getting to know her and just spending time with her. By the time she was rideable i already knew she would do everything she could to keep me safe and i am now riding her even though i am still screaming inside my head! I now realise that sometimes when you are nervous it doesn't mean you can't do the task you are trying to you can do it just as well as if you weren't nervous. I now am working with rehab horses along side my instructor with her continuing support and committment i am slowly and gradually finding myself dealing with more and more difficult horses and situations. I know this is a long story about myself but i just wanted you to hear another persons story who knows exactly what you are going through! There is your perfect horse out there and it may mean that you buy and sell a dozen horses to find him or her but you will. My opinion is to go for a confident horse who can when you feel nervous look after the pair of you. Good luck with your hunting and i would love to hear how you are getting on with your search x

should i or should i not.........
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