anyone else have a lot of anxiety about riding? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 12-01-2010, 07:47 PM
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I have found that if I take out a rider who is less experienced than me, I become the "leader" and feel much less fear. I am busy babysitting the beginner and helping them with their fears, so kinda forget my own.

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post #12 of 25 Old 12-01-2010, 08:05 PM
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Try not to worry about it too much. I was anything but confident when I got back into riding at age 40. I was much more concerned about being able to work and pay my bills. I found that, if I took things slowly and just pushed my comfort level a little bit each time, I began to trust my horse more and the opposite happened along with it. Three years later, I can't get much more confident without getting cocky. Just give it time. One day you'll wake up you'll want to go play instead of worry about getting hurt.

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post #13 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:12 AM
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I know exactly how you feel. I rode for many years as a child and then as a teenager and I was fearless. I had perfect balance, my leg muscles did exactly what I told them to do, and I thought I was hot stuff on a horse.

Fast forward after a 12 year break from riding and I'm now 28 and my current horse scared the crap out of me when I first got her.

Of course that didn't help matters because she knew she scared me and took advantage of that. The first month I had her I got butterflies and jitters every time I mounted up. I knew this horse was untrained, and I knew I wasn't a good rider anymore, muscle memory had left me a long time ago and I was starting from square one again. The danger in that gave me pretty bad anxiety and took all the fun away from riding.

Cantering was the worst trigger for me. My mare had very rusty breaks at first so that just made it worse.

The only cure was to force myself to do it anyway. Everyday got better, and now after having her 8 months we are finally becoming a good team. I don't get butterflies anymore and I'm confident when I ride her. Repetition was the thing that worked. I think as you continue to keep riding it will work for you too eventually. Hang in there.
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post #14 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 01:54 AM
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Being young and stupid is unfortunately a phase we all seem to go through :P

Luckily, I didn't break anything in mine. However, now that I am older, even without taking a break from riding, I find I am far more cautious with what I will get on. It's a common thing for people to grow up and then for it to finally sink in that the 1500lb wild animals we love and care for actually might be dangerous.

What I find works the best is to find your "safe horse". Find something that you feel so safe on, who might even be a bit beneath you, to really let you get your confidence back. For one lady I know this involved finding a horse who was so old he would walk, barely trot and was only physically capable of cantering on one lead for about a stride and half. The only method the horse had left of harming anyone was falling over :P And he was an absolute sweetheart.

If you are scared of this horse, what is the point of owning it? Find something you feel really safe on and can learn to ride on. When your skills improve, you will find it easier to get on tougher and tougher horses.

Good luck!

They say money doesn't buy happiness -- well happiness doesn't buy horses!
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post #15 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 07:26 AM
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The older people around find themselves relaxing when they ride with younger riders(not stupid young but gutsy young say late teens early twenties)As they are going to want to canter jump etc so ou kinda go with it

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post #16 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 09:51 AM
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Great thread! I had a horse growing up and rode bareback daily. We'd ride through the neighborhood, to the local arena, the beach (jumping logs too!), trails, you name it - all bareback! I quit riding in my early 20's when my horse passed away and since then I got married and started a family. I'm now in my mid 40's and have a 9 year old daughter who has a horse of her own (I thought we could do it fairly cheap - what was I thinking????). I now find myself nervous and afraid when I ride, which is pretty seldom I admit. Luckily for us we have an instructor who comes to the barn and gives my daughter lessons and I am hoping to start lessons myself. The instructor is aware of my fear and said that there is a lot we can work on at a walk and if I want try another gait we can do it. In the lessons she gives my daughter they work on moving with the horse, staying relaxed, staying balanced, using your seat, and having fun. She always works on those things but she will mix up the lesson and she keeps it interesting and different every time. When I listen and try to remember the suggestions given to my daughter when I ride I find it really helps me to relax and it is more fun. Unfortunately for me we can't quite afford lessons for both of us but I figure maybe once a month I could take one. I haven't had one yet, but I plan to one of these days.
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post #17 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 11:59 AM
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I was, and still am, quite anxious about riding. After doing lots of groundwork with my horses (both to aid in their training and to help me feel more comfortable around them), I can ride with less anxiety. I was given Kubie, who is a been-there-done-everything horse...he has helped me more than anything with my riding fears. He is the kind of horse that will take care of his rider, and won't pull any tricks on you.

If riding is something you love to do, but are afraid, I might suggest finding an understanding trainer and a calm, experienced horse. Putting yourself in danger with a bucking horse is simply not worth the risk of developing more fear than you already have. It is much easier to build more confidence when you already have a bit laid down.

| Kubie, Appaloosa (RIP) | Patches, Pinto Arabian Pony | Scotch, Paint Quarterhorse |
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post #18 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:17 PM
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My mom is very much the same as you are. She rode when she was younger and was pretty fearless. When i started taking lessons, she did too and was jumping 2' courses while i was still learning to canter. (she started her lessons long after i did). We bought our first horse, a 16.3hh appendix who was a gentle giant and she rode him in lessons all the time. I was scared of him cause he was huge and i had a few bad falls off of another bigger horse that was too advanced for me. We were out riding him one day in the indoor when someone walked past the door outside and spooked him while my mom was dilly-dallying around, caught her off guard and she fell off onto the wall and hurt her back. Since then, shes been very nervous about riding. She would ride an older quieter western mare from time to time, then get on Toby and just walk with maybe a little trot. She never really got over that fear.

I have my own anxiety too, usually going into the show ring. At home im pretty ok, i am scared to death when my BF is driving his mare...not sure why, it just freaks me out that something will go terribly wrong. Theres all sorts of little things that make me nervous, stupid things too that i shouldnt be nervous about. Then once i do it, i just laugh like 'really? i was nervous about that?'

I think we all have a little anxiety about something or other when it comes to horses, and thats part of why we stick with it. Cause if we can get thru it, its like an achievment of sorts.
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post #19 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:34 PM
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I am 26 and have been riding for 15 years and training for about 9 years. I find that I "think" a lot more before I do something now. Every year I seem to be more and more cautious. I don't have a fear, but I do have clients in their 40's that do have it. I have noticed it is pretty normal. Especially if something has happened. My advice is to maybe find a trainer to work with you and take baby steps to get to where you more comfortable again. My clients have much better confidence when I am there. Sometimes they need a little push to get through it too.
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post #20 of 25 Old 12-02-2010, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Ariel View Post
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?
I developed anxiety after I was thrown. The only way I got over it was I attended some clinics and I had to be on the horse all day and couldn't get off. That really built up my confidence. I also started riding with chinks as it helped me stick to the saddle better and didn't feel like I was slipping around.
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