Afraid to ride for no logical reason - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 01:09 AM
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Clearly, there IS a logical reason for your reluctance to get back on your horse given that the last time you rode you felt threatened. You know what they say though, get back in the saddle immediately ASAP after a fall or a scare (given that you haven't been badly hurt). I certainly don't think that you should throw caution to the wind, but it's easy to blow things up into huge concerns the longer you worry about it. I think that you should get on A horse as soon as you can. You mentioned your husband's dead broke QH... get him out and see if you can just go for a mosey in a secure area (pasture, arena).

Part of your fears may be helped by taking a few lessons with someone who can review safety maneuvers such as the one rein stop with you. With something like the one rein stop in your arsenal, you may be less likely to feel as though you are at risk of losing all control.

Most importantly, DON'T resent yourself or tell yourself that you're being stupid when you feel that fear building up. It's perfectly natural to be nervous, but rather than feeling like you need to shove that fear away, try to accept it. Accept the fact that you are fearful, and work proactively towards resolving it. Stay as positive as possible... it won't help anything if you're beating up on yourself!
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post #12 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 08:45 AM
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A few lessons may be the answer - especially if you can use your own horse and get tips on controlling him. I feel your pain - I was horseless for 20+ years before getting back into horses again - and I am no longer young (AARP, here I come!). I am also an extremely heavy person. I had a lot of fears - I didn't want to hurt the horse because I'm too heavy, and when I finally climbed on one of my horses, I realized that my fear of heights also played a roll in my newfound fear of riding.

The mare I rode last summer is/was a true gem - a diamond in the rough when I found her. Daughter's trainer had me bring my mare over for a short lesson/evaluation. The original plan was for the trainer to ride Dancer, but after lunging her for a few minutes and realizing that Dancer was better trained than any of us had been led to believe, I was the first one to ride her in several years. That first ride was only a few minutes long, but with the help of the trainer, was a real confidence builder.
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post #13 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 09:39 AM
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I completely agree with Eolith.

You're psyching yourself out, and it's only going to get more and more scary when it shouldn't be at all. Relax, and maybe look into getting lessons from a trainer. They can professionally talk you through things and make sure you're alright mentally and emotionally.

Best of luck :) Everyone seems to go through a confidence dip once in a while.
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post #14 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 10:29 AM
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I can relate to you as well. I have never been affraid to ride our horses and now out of nowhere I am terrified. I have never fallen off, been thrown, ect, so I dont know what the deal is. I am ok going out there feeding, grooming, walking them does scare me a bit I guess im worried they will spook and bolt off. I hope you can over come your fears and I hope I can to but the thought of riding puts me in a panic.
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post #15 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tecara View Post
Iím at my wits end and hope that someone can offer me some advice on how to deal with the new fear Iíve developed.
I'm sorry if you've already mentioned this and I just missed it.... Are you using a shank/curb bit? If you're riding English, you might consider a western arrangement at least for trail riding. I only ride western but my wife has done both and has told me that she feels MUCH more secure and in-control on the trails when she's using her western gear.

Just a thought.... (For me, giving up the shank and curb strap would feel like taking the pads off my car's brakes!).
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post #16 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 01:21 PM
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I think all the above suggestions are great but fail to mention that it is just going to take time to get over these fears. You mentioned that you were on for 5 minutes and your heart raced. Keeping doing this (sitting for 5 minutes) until you feel calmer and then work to 5 minutes of riding in the pen. Don't rush this process but do push the boundaries forward. Each accomplishment will make you more confident again.
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post #17 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 01:37 PM
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Hey, I feel for you. What you are experiencing happens to a lot of people.

Baby steps!

Write out a list of ten items that scare you. List them in order from one to ten. One might be closing your eyes and visualizing yourself riding. Five might be sitting on your horse with someone holding the lead rope. Ten might be riding on the trails alone.

Practice relaxation exercises and then start at step one. If you feel anxiety, rank it out loud on a scale of one to ten. Do your relaxation exercise and then rank your anxiety again. You'll notice it won't stay at a 10 for long. When you're feeling comfortable, move to the next step.

If I remember correctly from school (I studied psychology), this exercise is called systematic desensitization and reprocessing and it's a great way to treat phobias.

Some other tips...

Watch other, confident people ride. Sometimes people can get over fears just by doing this. I was afraid of bees until I worked a summer job with a bunch of people who weren't bothered by them.

If you have them, look at videos and picture of you confidently riding.

It might also help to have someone else, who knows what they're doing, ride your horse on the trails. The more he goes out with a good rider who will make him listen, the more comfortable and cooperative he'll get.

Good luck!!! :)
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post #18 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 01:40 PM
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There is no need for going to a western headstall and shank bit if you need a more aggressive bit and have an english bridle.

Not all snaffles are mild, some are quite severe. And a step up from there are Kimberwicks and Pelhams.

That said, a pulley rein will stop just about anything in a snaffle. Besides, this is rider training and confidence issue. Equipment isn't going to fix it.

OP, have you considered visiting a psychologist and discussing your fears? I also second taking lessons.
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Last edited by mildot; 01-24-2012 at 01:42 PM.
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post #19 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 01:53 PM
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There is a reason why people say, "When you fall off get right back in the saddle."

I realize you did not FALL off, but all the same, your confidence is shaken.

Have you considered saddling up, getting on and having your husband halter you around the pen/arena/driveway for a bit.

or, even just get on, reins in hand, and don't even walk. Up and off. Depending on your level of anxiety, that may be all you can handle before your tension shoots into the horse.

I'm 46. I took a stupid spill bareback off a Halflinger (not my horse) 2 weeks ago and totally sprained and bruised my leg. I am just barely able to walk without a lurch. And it has made me CRAZY. I fell off that dang pony and after I walked it off a bit, my trainer put me back on that horrible wretched beast, sans saddle, and made me go around several times.

Probably a good thing or I wouldn't go next to the hairy hay burner today.

I have a 15h QH who behaved like a beast on the trails one cool drizzly morning. Loped up hills, slid down hills, a general brat. The entire time I thought this is it. I'm gonna buy it. He is going to fall and then smoosh me under him. I envisioned my mom crying over my casket cussing me out for buying a stupid horse.

I know that fear you speak of. It's based on our age.

Take baby steps. Have someone control the horse from the ground, but schedule time on the horse. Mon/Wed/Friday. Spend more time saddling than you do in the saddle, but at least get it on and get on it.

Everytime Sam loses his footing or stumbles or trips you can hear me gasp across the state of Missouri. But, as soon as he takes 4 more good ones I'm fine.

Good luck. think baby steps.
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post #20 of 72 Old 01-24-2012, 05:31 PM
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I understand your fear. I too had been out of horses for twenty years. I got back on a few leased horses last year and had a great time until I got badly thrown. Shook me up beyond belief. Very true that as you get older you become much more aware of the damage that can happen. When we were kids, who cared if you fell off, you got back on...big deal!

Now, I bought a very very sound calm grounded horse with no history of spooking. I forced myself to ride him in a few different situations before I bought him even though I was terrified to be on a trail with him. Nothing phases him.
You need to get on your husbands QH and ride him. Start in an arena or empty pasture. I found that having something enclosed helped me a lot. My BO keeps telling me I am on a different horse that threw me and one that always gets me home safe and never acts stupid when we are out. She is correct.

Get on a different horse, start slow. Only go out when the weather is good so it is one less thing to worry about. I would go out with just one other dependable horse too.

I am slowly getting comfortable on my horse and trusting that I will get home safe.

Good luck!
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