Anyone have Fear or Confidence Issues? - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 56 Old 05-27-2010, 11:15 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Indiana
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Originally Posted by Barry Godden View Post
As a rider of 35 years or more during which time I have ridden a 100 or more horses - who knows how many - including riding in several different countries
I believe that a serious fall, especially one invoking shock and maybe concussion, can bring about what I call "Post Traumatic Fall Disorder".

We do not ride with our conscious brains, we learn to ride by rote - constant repetition. The instant responses we need to keep up on a horse's back are taken in by our sub conscious brain. If a horse shies, then we have to have responded to that shy before in some cases our conscious brain has recognised that a shy has taken place. When driving a car, if another car comes up from the side, then we have braked or turned (or both) before we have visually recognised the situation.

The problem is that our sub conscious brain has reacted to a threat to the body's well being. It is well possible in regular horse riding that similar threats have been faced before but since nothing too serious has happened previously then the brain has shrugged it off. But once serious physical damage has been done - eg if the spine has been bruised or the head banged - then the sub conscious starts to think for itself. It sends out little signals and says - "Oi take more care".

The problem with horse riding is that 'tension' is an enemy. If the rider grips or goes rigid then the body's ability to react in a split second is negated.
The body can't absorb the stresses.
There is a second problem too, the horse can sense the tension in the rider.
Then the horse starts to ask itself why the rider is tense "WHat's going on?" asks the horse - "should I be worried too".

The psychologist might say that the human brain is as good at remembering as the horse is - and the human brain remembers other fears, unrelated to horse riding, which may also be worrying the individual.

How does one cope? Well first one accepts that there is a problem.
Then one learns as much as possible about relaxation techniques.
Then one goes back to the training arena to learn to sit and relax on a horse - one will need professional help for this.
Then one asks oneself if this horse riding is what one really wants to do.
Then one allows 'time' to do its healing magic.

Barry G
THANK YOU! This just helped me SOOO much!
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post #52 of 56 Old 05-27-2010, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Iowa
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I have ridden since I was 10 years old. I was never afraid when I began. By the time I was 14 people were having me train their horses for them in low level jumping, cross country and dressage. I continued to ride through my early 20's.

I ended up giving my tried and true best four legged friend away as he was very old and needed a retirement home and my husband and I were moving and had no place to keep him.

By the time I was 28 I knew I had to have a horse again. I purchased my then 6 month old Haflinger filly. I had a blast doing all the ground work with her, then sent her to a trainer for riding and driving training. She came back a very good little mare.

Then I decided my daughters needed a pony, so I did some looking, found a pony and sent it to a trainer for a month. The pony came home and was great. We used her for lead lining and driving.

One day while leading my daughter on the pony all around the park we had taken a short break and my daughter dis-mounted. After a bit she re-mounted and we began to walk home. Out of no where the pony exploded. Rodeo bucking as hard as she could. Even though I had the lead rope, I could not get close enough to grab my daughter off of the pony. My daughter ended up on the ground and the pony spun around and appeared to purposfully stomp on my daughters chest. There were marks on my daughters helmet too, from the pony's hoof. I decided we had a real problem, and that I would work with the pony on driving, not having my children on her. After a few good drives, the pony took off with me on the cart. Nothing I did could get her stopped and I had to bail out. Finally after about 1/2 an hour we were able to catch her.

The fear that was instilled in me, by seeing my daughters' life dependent on what this pony was going to do is terrifying. (my daughter, amazingly was not seriously physically injured).

My daughter now rides the now 7 year old Haflinger mare and does ok. I am more scared than she and it has transfered over to my own riding. I am now trying to find a trainer who can help me to be able to have less fear and trust in my horses.
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post #53 of 56 Old 05-27-2010, 01:47 PM
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^^^ -- O.O

Glad your daughter was okay! That's got to be the most terrifying thing for a mother to witness. :(
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post #54 of 56 Old 05-28-2010, 03:58 AM
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Yes that must have been a terrifying experience to see what a horse is capable of.
From what you have described I would be worried lest that horse had a problem in its head. An amateur rider needs a horse which can be trusted at all times

Horse riding is by most modern standards a dangerous sport. Occasionally it comes home to folks just how powerful a horse is and how puny we humans are by comparison. Too often I watch folks not taking enough care when they are around horses.

But my guess from what you have written is that your own fundamental riding skills may not have been damaged - you are more concerned about your daughter's safety - which is understandable.
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post #55 of 56 Old 05-28-2010, 11:28 AM
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Oh, from what I wrote it probably sounded like this mare was green broke. She was not. She was about 7 or 8 and had been both ridden and driven before quite a bit. I only sent her to the trainer for 30 days to make sure she was what I was told she was, before I put my children on her...

Thank you for understanding. Yes, even on our good, trustworthy mare, the scene goes through my mind. I have since questioned my confidence in my ability to read a horse. Things are getting slowly getting better though.
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post #56 of 56 Old 03-03-2011, 09:38 PM
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I lease an off the track Thoroughbred mare. She will be 15 in April and still has her racing spirit and speed. She was properly trained out of her racing state but it never completly goes away. She's lovely at the walk and trot but when we cnater or jump she is speeeeeedy speeeeeedy. It terrifies me. I took my first fall off her when she took off at the canter and I had to run her into something. I rode my friends Morgan and we cantered and galloped fine. I was al ittle hesitant jumping. She is sweet and theres not an ounce of sass in that Thoroughbred's body she's just sooooo speedy. Since she is not my horse I have not put a harsher bit on for more control. I feel unsafe at the canter and feel as if she'g going to take off at any time. She'll bolt from a trot to fast canter just to jump a little cross rail. I don't want to stop leasing her because we connect so well and I want to become a better rider on her. What would you suggest?
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anxiety , build confidence , fear

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