Ever hear a story that made you re-think riding? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Virginia
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Ever hear a story that made you re-think riding?

I apologize for this sounding so Debbie Downer. I just need horsey people to talk to.

I had been losing some confidence in riding lately. We recently moved to Virginia and I hadn't had time to find a new barn to continue my lessons. I was doing beginner hunters and I wanted to move into just beginner dressage( just to better understand how a horse moves and collection etc)

I've started recently getting fearful and anxious while looking for a new barn. Like there is something telling me that I'm going to get hurt. Really hurt. I just turned 40 and while that's not old by any means, I'm also not 15.
I actually started to re-think riding. Then just yesterday I mentioned horses to our neighbor and he starts telling us how the neighbors down the road us have a paralyzed daughter. I swear I was thinking, "Please don't say from a horse. Please."

So then he tells us how this girl was a dancer and experience rider and one day her horse reared for no reason and she fell. I found her story in several places online. She talks about how she took a fall like she'd taken 100 times before. She slid right off the side of the saddle. Only this time after she landed she couldn't feel her legs. This girl was 21 years old and now she's paralyzed for life.

So as I'm sitting her now, I've lost my mojo. Of course this can change tomorrow. It can change tonight.

How can I be so terrified of something I love so much? I love riding. I really do. But that stinkin' fear in the back of my mind stops me.

This was more of a vent than anything else. I'm sorry for sounding so negative. Has anyone ever had this happen to them?

I told my husband and bless his heart, he says to me, "Well why don't you buy one of those fluffy Gypsy horses down the road? Arent' they really calm and never rear?" I said, " I think any horse can rear if it wants and those beauties are like 10,000 in the US."
He's so sweet. Gotta love a husband who supports the horsey habit.
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post #2 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:03 PM
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Well... Not every horse rears, and not every horse bucks. Rearing is lots of work for the horse in fact (as well as bucking). In my experience those lesson horses (especially for beginners) are indeed BTDT packers: very quite and gentle. If you find a barn you like I'd bring your concerns to the trainer. And if you decide on getting a horse one day you can always ask for the help from the trainer on one that is suitable for you.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #3 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:10 PM
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Realizing we're human, mortal, and breakable tends to quell our enthusiasm for dangerous sports.

I consider riding horses an 'acceptable risk'. If you've reached the point where it's no longer an acceptable risk, then yes, you need to give it up because it's not IF you'll get hurt, it's when and how badly. That's just the nature of this sport.

A good instructor will help you, but the decision ultimately has to be yours alone whether or not you continue.

I'm older than you by 13 years, and I've had some major equine wrecks. The last really bad one didn't just break bones, it broke my confidence. I found the right instructor to help me overcome my fear, and I got back in the saddle.

The only truly bombproof horse is a dead one. The live ones tend to be unpredictable, no matter how well we think we know them.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!

Last edited by Speed Racer; 11-29-2011 at 01:12 PM.
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post #4 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:13 PM
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George Morris is in his mid-70's and he still rides, trains AND jumps. Yes, horses can hurt us, but well trained horses generally don't. Still, if you ride long enough you might break something...even if it's just a fingernail. =D
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post #5 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:14 PM
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You are such a lucky lady for having a man in your life that supports your horsey self :)

That being said.. you can't let fear drive your life. I could say "let's fly to Italy and look at all the beautiful art!" but then I think about what COULD happen "oh my goodness, what if the plane runs out of gas and we crash.. or it gets hijacked and we all die.. or it has to do an emergency landing in the ocean and my lifevest won't work.." you miss out on a great opportunity.
Yes fear is justified, and yes life's choices have extreme risk. I've been told of a little girl.. a perfect 3 (forgive me I could be wrong about age) year old who choked on a goldfish cracker and was now a vegetable.. she used to be a client (before I helped out) at a therapeutic riding center.. her life changed because she ate a goldfish cracker. It happens, and it's sad.. but you can't live your life in fear.

Then there's me and my horse. My horse used to be deemed a dangerous psycho horse that was so scared, he rather kill himself (and he would try) than have people near him. Because people hurt him badly in the past.. and now he was scared of everything and everyone. I, being the most beginner beginner EVER, was accepted by him and yes we had bad falls and yes I lost my confidence for a moment, but we worked through it. Started at nothing and turned into a WHOLE lot of something :) And I'm more knowledgeable because of it.

If you truly love riding horses, then don't give into fear. Fear will control your life and keep you from things you love.

It's hard, but it's ultimately up to you. I'm glad I got over my fears and my horse worked through his :)
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post #6 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:27 PM
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I know the feeling. It's a strength thing for me. I'm young, 16 years old, but I never got the "I'm invincible" gene that most other teenagers did. I went through one realy big anxiety stage when I was thirteen where I was scared of everything. If the horse moved its head I was scared. If they walked a little faster than I wanted, I felt like I was going to be bolted with. That only lasted about two weeks and I never told anyone about it. It happened after I took a fall off a green horse I was warming up, and caught my throat on the arena rail. It was like someone had punched my in my windpipe.

Working through the fear is hard. I've had incredibly bad luck for being so young in the sense that I've had a lot of accidents. Each one had me pinned for a little longer than the last. All of them completely and totally my fault, and 100% preventable had I kept a cool head. Almost all of them could have been stopped by something as simple as a one-rein stop. But I didn't think of that. I was one of those people where things flashed right by me, and I almost seemed to black out when I got scared.

But as of yet, I find myself more confident than ever. I still have a strange sense of mortality but I find myself saying "Whatever happens, happens. I'm not going to live my life in a box just because I'm scared."

And so I got over it. No matter what I feel now I can have a clear head. My trainer says its because I've grown up, and am no longer a helpless little kid. I know being sixteen and being forty are two completely differant things, but that made me think....When we get older we realize things more than we did when we were young.

Last year at our second equestrian team meet, the director had us give a moment of silence for a girl who was in a coma from a steer daubing accident. The cow ran under her horses legs and she was rolled over on. Steer daubing was one of my events; And that story scared me.

But what changed then was what he said next.

"I can see the looks on your faces. But don't let that scare you. Remember your horse is your partner, and if you take care of each other nothing can stop you. Accidents happen, that's a part of life. You could slip and kill yourself getting in the shower. Or walking down stairs. You could break your arm slamming it in a car door. Horses aren't the only risks you take in your life...They're just some of the best ones."

Since then I think of what he said everytime I get scared. "Horses aren't the only risks you take in your life....They're just some of the best ones."

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #7 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:41 PM
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FWIW: Jumping is much more likely to result in a broken neck or concussion than dressage. Studies vary, but it looks like jumping is around 30-80 times more likely to break your neck.

One possibility - if switching to dressage doesn't help your confidence, perhaps going western? Also, an Aussie saddle is essentially a dressage saddle with extra safety gear (poleys). It may be a change in focus and safer equipment will help.

But all riding can maim or kill you. And you are the only one who knows if it is worth it to you.
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post #8 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
George Morris is in his mid-70's and he still rides, trains AND jumps.
Wow! I didn't even know he's at this age. Somehow I thought he's much younger (in his 50th or so).

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #9 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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thank you all for the replies. So that nagging fear I have is something that all riders get at one time or another, right?
I was sitting here thinking should I listen to the voice in my head? Is this normal? That's when I decided to post and ask you all if you ever hear or see something that makes you pause.

When you hear of a person being hurt or killed on a horse, it's always a tragedy. But it just resonates and scares me more if I hear of someone who was killed or paralyzed because they wanted to take a little trail ride than if I hear something happened during eventing. Of course both are tragic but with certain disciplines like jumping, you expect to hear of more accidents. I guess I just didn't realized how something as innocent as wanting a short spring hack could result in a serious accident as a Steeplechase could.

I think in a couple of days I'll get over it. Fear and riding don't belong together!
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post #10 of 40 Old 11-29-2011, 02:03 PM
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I think that fear is what makes you a safe rider. If you're not afraid of injury or death, you're going to be more likely to push the boundaries and do something a little more daring.

I'm terrified of riding, but I still ride. Why? Because I love it. I know I'm risking my life every time I mount a horse, but I also know that I take every precaution. I wear a helmet. If I feel uncertain, I don't push myself. I don't ride 'difficult' horses. That said, I'm training an older Standardbred mare. She used to race and has spent the better part of the last decade raising babies. She was ridden once before I brought her home, and I crawled on bareback two days after I unloaded her. I could have gotten hurt. Heck, I could have been KILLED. I trusted that she wouldn't, and my trust paid off. Granted, I had a helmet on and a spotter. If things would have gone south, my boyfriend was there to call an ambulance, catch my horse, etc. I took precautions, I knew the risks and I recognized them.

Riding horses is a thrill. It's exciting, but like any other extreme sport, you can get hurt. It's just a matter of deciding if the thrill is worth the chance of injury. If you're safe and alert, you can reduce the occurrence of injury.
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