Building Confidence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-27-2009, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tennessee
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Building Confidence

I had a bad day riding today, and I realized just how much confidence I have lost because of previous accidents.

I have been riding all my life, so I know a lot about horses. I am usually pretty confident riding, but lately I have just been loosing it all. I used to be able to ride the craziest horse on the farm, and now I get scared riding my precious boy Five(he was the horse I rode today, and it went all wrong).

I am only 15, I should be fearless and ready to ride everything. But I just get soooo scared. I have been through a lot of bad accidents concerning horses, and I just really need help.

Any tips on gaining my confidence back up? If all fails, I will suck up my fear and just ride, but I know that I won't be comfortable.

Any help? I can't believe I let myself get to this position.

Thanks all.

Red Money Maker (Red) - 2004 Sorrel QH Gelding
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-27-2009, 09:53 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: CO
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Do you have a stable horse you can ride besides Five that can help you regain some confidence? I think that's the only surefire way to truly gain confidence in yourself AND your horse.

What happened between you and Five that went all wrong? Not to be pushy, if it's too sensitive an issue...

And don't worry...15 is NOT an age that I would consider that you "Should" be a fearless rider...give yourself more credit than that, and a few more years...I didn't consider myself an 'experienced' rider (I do not consider myself fearless by any means) until around 18-20, even though I was 'born on a horse'. You do not have to be fearless, to be a great rider.

"The ideal horseman has the courage of a lion, the patience of a saint, and the hands of a woman..."
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-27-2009, 10:20 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Connecticut
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There's something to be said for a little fear being a good thing. Horse's are too big and powerful to be just be jumping on whatever nut job is at the barn on a given day. Maybe re-evaluate your training to find any holes. A solid foundation can go a long way to preventing future falls and the new knowledge from learning new ways to become a better rider will go a long way toward helping your confidence level. Maybe try training in a different discipline for awhile to get some new insights. Don't worry. I can't think of anything I was confident about when I was 15!
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-29-2009, 04:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I'm where you are, though I'm quite a bit older than you are. I had a bad fall in May and am just now able to get on my horse's back and not hyperventilate. It's difficult. I don't bounce as well as I used to.

Do a little bit at a time. I started by just sitting on his back. Then I got off and almost collapsed in fear. Then the next time I walked him around the round pen a couple of times. Yesterday, I actually trotted.

Take it slow and don't push yourself too much. Do little bits that you can feel like you accomplished something. Just like training horses. Little bits of good things at a time and end on a good note. If it's just walking your horse around a pen for awhile, then at least you're on the horse's back and that's a good thing.

Keep in mind your breathing. Don't hold your breath. I found myself doing that and I think I made my horse more nervous. Breathe normally. Recite the alphabet or sing Happy Birthday. Both of those things makes you breathe.

Good luck.

"When you're young and you fall off a horse, you may break something. When you're my age, you splatter." -- Roy Rogers
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post #5 of 9 Old 10-08-2009, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: North Carolina
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My instructor spends alot of my lesson time doing things that I am completely comfortable with. Then she'll throw something new in that takes me just outside my comfort zone. Then back to what I have down pat. She takes little steps outside my comfort zone so I don't lose confidence, but build it instead. If I stress out I know it is only for a few minutes. Harder things make the simple things seem so much easier. Cantering made rising trot feel easy, jumping made the canter seem simple. Just take small steps.
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post #6 of 9 Old 10-08-2009, 05:35 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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This is a problem for many riders. I myself have that problem also. Its not like you can just say "I can do it" and be ready for anything, but thats where you need to start. I would suggest riding a horse that you KNOW how to ride, so that when you are riding you get the feeling that you are incontrol. If you must ride a horse that you are not completely confident with, don't bit off more then you can handle. Take baby steps. Set something up that you know you can succeed at.

My riding teacher's favorite quote is:
"Sit up, stick your boobs up, ride with attitude, make him believe you KNOW what to do"

Hope that helps ;)
Lonannuniel is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 10-08-2009, 05:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Oklahoma
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I know how you feel Ten. I am 19, I should just jump on go, not get scared of being bucked off by horses like all the rodeo team members. But a little over a year ago, I was in the worst accident of my life. I sold the gelding i had for five years after that. The only horse i would ride, was my friend's bombproof mare.

She found me an older horse that i had been riding (still do) so help gain my confidence. But i wasn't thrown, I have never been thrown, the horse fell over backwards on me. I tried to ride my mom's paint gelding, i wanted to get over the fear of the creatures i loved so much! But i was so scared at the arena, i started crying in front of other people and got off. I got so mad, because i couldn't get over it like everyone else!

My instructor put me on a donkey (it bucked) bareback, and she told me when to jump off, thinking that would help my fear. It did for a couple days. I stayed on! Like i said, I am a really good rider, i just don't have confidence. I bailed when she told me too.

Well, I never thought i would ride another gelding again. I am taking a riding class, and, I have rode two different geldings, both broke and everything. Now, I have a 2 1/2 years old gelding of my own. He reared up on me once, i won't lie, i was scared to death. But the boarder I am keeping me at was like. 'why are you scared? You stayed on! You have an excellent seat!' I explained my accident and he smiled and said, 'It just takes time. Don't rush it. You will get over it. It just takes time.'

So now, after a year and a half, I am still shaken at times, but I would say I am slowly making progress and regaining my confidence. It's hard for me to believe in myself, so I am taking a Public speaking class too, if I can build my confidence up, I can surely use it in the saddle.

I hope this helped. but please don't push yourself, it will make things worse like when i rode my mom's paint. Don't suck up your nervousness, the horse still knows. Ride a horse that is bombproof for a while, you will know when you can start to handle other things.

But sometimes, anxiety overwhelms me, and i think two things, number one, Just Breathe! and number two, not every horse is out there to be mean. Not every horse thinks every 5 seconds 'Oh lets get her off!' No! That it not the case. Feel free to PM me anytime, good luck to you, just don't rush. I know you want to, I still do, but, you WILL get there, trust me, I'm going to get there, I KNOW. =]

Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back. -- Unkown
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post #8 of 9 Old 10-09-2009, 11:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Gallant, Alabama
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Ooh, after my mare and I fell for the first time (technically, she bucked, threw me, and drug me... we didn't actually both fall... I fell and she left me...), my confidence was shaken horribly! I couldn't ride on a straight stretch at a walk for fear...

I finally forced myself to close my eyes and leg go of the reins and rode my mare all over the pasture (up and down hills and tursrows[sp?], through ponds, throw the woods, etcetera...) and by the time it ended, I was feeling much better... It took a while longer, but my confidence eventually returned full blast.

Horseshoe Loop Farm: Home of Gypsie (22 y/o TWH mare), Dakota (10 y/o TWH gelding), Codie (18 y/o Walkaloosa gelding) & Harlow (9 y/o APHA mare)
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post #9 of 9 Old 10-10-2009, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
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I'm in exactly the same boat as you right now. I have always been fearless around horses (not fearless stupid, just fearless brave) and I had a bad accident that wasn't horse related but kept me from riding for about 6 months. While I was down, all I could think about was getting back on a horse, and I started making all of these plans to finally part with my 13.3 hand pony and buy a full sized horse and learn to jump (I'm 17 by the way).
So I started getting better, started riding my pony a little bit, and I did end up selling him back to my friend/his former owner and buying a 16.1 hand thoroughbred jumping lesson horse. I thought it would be no issue for me, but I guess the combination of the long wait and a horse I wasn't totally confident with yet made me a little nervous. Then, the best thing happened, right when I was beginning to get comfortable I fell off of my new horse during my first lesson on him and got hurt a second time. Just what I needed, right? =P

So basically, my confidence has been totally crushed at this point, but the greatest thing happened. My pony's owner is in the process of moving and needed to board him somewhere for a little while, so he's staying at my stable for about a week and I'm taking care of him and riding him freely. So I got on him, and I was a little bit nervous at first, but he's bringing the confidence right back out of me and now I'm riding like nothing ever happened at all. And amazingly, I'm starting to feel more like I can handle my new horse again. In reality I've known I could the entire time because I am pretty experienced and basically trained this pony myself, and I think all I needed was for him to come back into my life for a little while and remind me that I know how to ride. We'll have to see if I really am better able to ride my horse because I haven't gotten to yet (because now he's lame =( ) but things are really looking up for me. Maybe I won't have that total fearlessness that I have had, but that could be a good thing. I think this may really be the solution to my problem.

But anyway, sorry for going on so long. The point is, if there is any horse that you've ridden before Five that made you feel confident, I would definitely recommend that you try riding them if you have the opportunity. Or even if there's just a way that you've ridden Five or any other horse that made you feel more confident, you could try that as well. I think for awhile I'll just be riding Kainne western, at least until I know him better, since I've ridden western my whole life and it makes me feel secure. If there's anything like that you can do, it may just help you "get back on the horse" =)
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