Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Just south of sanity
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.
You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!