anyone else have a lot of anxiety about riding?

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anyone else have a lot of anxiety about riding?

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    12-01-2010, 12:34 AM
anyone else have a lot of anxiety about riding?

When I was a teenager I would ride the horses other people were scared of. Now that I'm "all grown up" and getting back into riding after a long break, my heart beats so hard from fear and anxiety it almost takes all the fun out of it. I keep riding because if I can break through that fear (by a lot of effort) I remember why it was so fun. I used to barrel race bareback but now I only walk my horse and occasionally trot. I've never even cantered my current horse because the last time I tried was the only time he ever bucked and threw me. I'm embarrassed to say that I've become a wimp , but I'm trying to fix it. My horse is fine and hardly ever spooks at all, even when cars whiz past. Is anyone else in this situation...what do you do about it?
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    12-01-2010, 01:11 AM
HI Ariel,

I am not in that postition but I don't have a former me to compare myself too. I just am what I am , now. I am not a brave rider, never was, so I don't have to keep dissing myself for not being what I used to be. You'll have to just cut that out and start from where you are. Don't waste your time in the past.

If your horse bucked at the canter and threw you, and now you won't canter, then you are not looking at the "elephant in the room". You will someday have to face it. It may be that that bad experience was just a fluke and when you ask for a canter next time, nothing bad will happen. But I bet you are remembering that bad experience and reliving it, over and over.
EVERY ride on this forum, and every rider whose smart enough to be honest with themselves is afraid, at times or all the time. Me too!
If I had been bucked off at the canter, I would be really loathe to try it again. However, you will not want to be held back by what might happen.
One day, just surprise yourself and go canter.
    12-01-2010, 01:13 AM
Rereading my post, it sounds kind of harsh. Kind of "snap out of it!" and a slap on the face. Sorry, not meant to be like that. Just that I do feel afraid, but that's ok. You will pass through the anxiety and on to other scary things.
    12-01-2010, 07:26 AM
I didn't think you were saying "snap out of it" because you said everyone has fear sometimes. I know I just have to face it and do it anyway if I want to get over it. Some of it is remembering things I used to know and getting back into practice. I hate letting fear dictate what I can or can't do, so I try not to give in to it. Good advice tinyliny and I love your avatar. I will pass through this and go on to other scary things .
    12-01-2010, 07:57 AM
Green Broke
I used to be like you. I used to ride when I was younger with no care in the world and no fear at all! But now that I'm almost 40 um things scare me a bit more. I'm very old school. I don't wear a helmet but that's my choice and I know the repercussions. Everytime I went out to ride I would shake, sweat, and get butterflies in my stomach. It was bad. But now that I have complete and utter trust in my mare, I don't worry and get all flustered anymore. It might get like that when it comes time to break my filly but I will just try and focus and breath. How old are you now? The biggest reason older people who start out again get anxiety attacks is we are more aware of the dangers, we have more responsibilities (work, children etc...) So we need to be more careful not to get injured. The more you ride the more you get to know your horse and the more you learn, the better it will get. I'm sure you know this but what you feel is usually transferred to your horse. So remember that and try to focus on positive outcomes. If you are nervous to trot, canter then stay at a walk until you feel ready for the next step. Nobody is pushing you except you. The more you try and rush yourself to do things that scare you the worse your anxiety will be. Stay calm, breath deep and do your best to enjoy it. Just a question for you: when you ride do you watch where you want to go or watch your horses head/ears?
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    12-01-2010, 11:31 AM
When I ride I guess I do both. For the most part I look where I'm going but I look at the head and ears sometimes, too. You got me. I'm 38 1/2 years old and I know I don't instantly bounce back from an injury like I used to. If I were to get hurt I wouldn't be able to care for my family responsibilities and would have to inconvenience someone to help me. My husband says I think too much and now that I'm seeing this all written out I see he could be right. Hate that when that happens
    12-01-2010, 11:42 AM
Ariel, as we get older and have more responsibilities, we get more cautious. It's only when we're young, have little to no responsibilities, and can spring back easily from injuries, that we're more reckless.

I was the 'go to' girl for everyone who had a green horse. I'd ride anything. I've been tossed, kicked, trampled on, etc. When I was in my 20s, I sprang right back.

Now that I'm in my 50s I don't bounce anymore; I splat and break things. Plus, I have a mortgage, job, and the welfare of all my animals on my shoulders. If I get seriously injured, it's not just me who's screwed. Those things make us more cautious as we age. It's not being a coward, it's knowing that we're mortal and we break.

My fear is mounting, not riding. Once I'm actually ON the horse, I'm still pretty much the rider I remember, except that I don't willingly get on the green or spooky ones any longer. I take as many precautions as I can to make sure my ride is as safe as possible, while still remembering that these are flight animals with minds of their own.

I got badly hurt about 3 1/2 years ago, while mounting. I thought I was afraid to ride, when it turned out I was just afraid to mount up. I worked through it, and although I occasionally have a small moment of involuntary fear, it hasn't stopped me.

If you don't feel comfortable going faster than a trot, then don't do it. You're not out to prove anything to anyone except yourself.

If you feel you can't work through your issues alone, then find a good trainer and take some lessons on some quiet schoolies. That's what I had to do before I was willing to start riding my own horses again.

There's no shame in getting older and realizing you're breakable. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
    12-01-2010, 11:50 AM
I'm working with the farrier and vet to make sure Arie's health is where it needs to be. Come spring I'll start riding based on what the old boy is capable of. If he's still ok to canter we'll work up to it. I use deep breathing techniques to calm my nerves cause I know I'll get him worked up if I don't.
    12-01-2010, 12:24 PM
Thank you Speed Racer. I guess I have been a bit ashamed about being older and breakable.
    12-01-2010, 06:37 PM
Green Broke
I'm in my 20s and I have anxiety issues. I am an anxious person, and I do get quite nervous about riding, thankfully I forget it once I am on. I think its an individual thing, some people are nervous in planes, or cars, and perhaps some people are just nervous on horses.

I just sort of tell my self "no fear" and swallow it and get on.

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