Fear after a Fall.. feeling like I've lost my passion :( - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-17-2013, 02:06 PM
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^^ Excellent point. There may be a time where progressing in riding will require a certain amount of falling. But once/week for a year probably isn't that point - particularly if it has made riding 'un-fun'.

"Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing...well, ignore it mostly."
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post #22 of 32 Old 03-17-2013, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for your responses! It seems like there's definitely a debate on whether or not falling is a part of learning. I see it as an inevitable part of horseback riding, but hopefully not something that with be frequent or result in serious bodily harm. I am seriously considering buying a protective vest.

bsms, I loved your suggestion for the Aussie/Western saddle. Unfortunately, I don't own my own horse or tack and the barn I ride at is exclusively English. I plan on going on a Western trail ride soon that allows cantering (I've done it twice before). I never felt safer at the canter, and I think it will help me regain some confidence. If I can I'd love to pick up some Western lessons at some point, but money is tight and it is a sacrifice to afford the lessons I have now.

This week I'll have a serious talk with my trainer. She's told me over and over again that the only thing that holds me back is my lack of faith in myself, and that she would not allow me to do something I wasn't ready for. She insists I'm better than I think I am. I hope she's telling the truth, as there's no reason for her to be misleading me. I know this is just a bump in the road and a (frustrating!) part of learning. I love cantering, and I hope to get back to it soon, if it turns out I am at a level that I am capable of the balance, confidence, etc. required to execute it successfully and safely.

I have a voucher for a lesson at another barn that I will use soon. I'm looking forward to hearing their opinion of my riding. Perhaps I'll post a video here for critique if I'm brave enough!
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-19-2013, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by BrinkofSunshine View Post

This week I'll have a serious talk with my trainer. She's told me over and over again that the only thing that holds me back is my lack of faith in myself, and that she would not allow me to do something I wasn't ready for. She insists I'm better than I think I am. I hope she's telling the truth, as there's no reason for her to be misleading me. I know this is just a bump in the road and a (frustrating!) part of learning. I love cantering, and I hope to get back to it soon, if it turns out I am at a level that I am capable of the balance, confidence, etc. required to execute it successfully and safely.

I have a voucher for a lesson at another barn that I will use soon. I'm looking forward to hearing their opinion of my riding. Perhaps I'll post a video here for critique if I'm brave enough!
Definitely post a video.. we are only critiquing to HELP you with your riding... not to be jerks. I promise :)

I edited the rest out because I was told this too. I used to be so scared of riding, and of cantering. I really had no faith in myself and my confidence in myself still waivers.

The other day I managed to canter a horse I had only just met at a new barn with a new instructor. I nearly galloped at one point and I felt completely safe and so happy and free!

Sometimes you are your downfall, because we allow fear to eat us from the inside out. Or we allow other riders' comments to get under our skin. Or we have riding instructors who are not supportive and who call you "idiot" or "lousy" or "stupid" when you are trying your best to understand what it is they want.

I think you should try a lesson at a new barn.. see if you like their style and see how they EVALUATE your riding. Fresh perspective on your seat, balance, leg, and overall position will help you pinpoint where you are in your riding.. instead of relying on one opinion.

It'll be ok OP. I fell 8 times within a month with this one horse that I was leasing... and then I just was so determined to find an instructor that I clicked with.. to buckle down and TRY to get past my fears. I rewarded every effort on my behalf and now I am labeled as a "confident" rider eventhough I still have worries of my own. I just don't let them OWN me. :)

You can do this!
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"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #24 of 32 Old 03-20-2013, 10:51 PM
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I had a fall back in January and I'm still recovering psychologically. It was a bad situation, but basically I got bucked off at a canter and I freaked. I had been through a lot of bucking, but I'd never been thrown by a buck before. I was a wreck, and I probably would not be riding now if it weren't for my fantastic Appy gelding. I just wasn't prepared for that situation, but I've rediscovered my love of riding since then and I'm grateful every ride that I didn't quit.
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post #25 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 12:18 PM
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I myself am a very nervous, cautious person by nature which unfortunately translates into my riding.

How much confidence did you have in yourself before the fall? I have found that when I am tense and unconfident my riding gets absolutely horrible, which is really just a domino effect. I am tense, which leads to my balance (which is usually pretty decent) leaving me because I am not using my body properly, which makes my mare mad, so she starts throwing a fit, which leads to me getting even more tense and unconfident because I have trouble sitting her fits due to gripping too much. Domino effect. But when I am confident and relaxed, even if she is having a more spooky day (she is somewhat high-strung), we tend to get along pretty well and I am easily able to sit even her worst spooks.

Is it possible that this is your problem? I don't know for sure, as I have not seen you ride, but you mentioned that your trainer believes the only thing holding you back is yourself. In my case, at my level, this is true for me as well.

Thankfully my instructor has been helping me enormously and knows when to push and when not to, which has been a huge help with my confidence. If you feel as if your instructor is pushing you beyond what you feel comfortable with it may be time to talk to them about it and/or look for a new instructor.

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.
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post #26 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 01:27 PM
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As my dear departed father and grandfather (and numerous others) told me any time I came off a horse (for whatever reason).
If you ride enough you'll come off some
If you haven't come off a horse then you haven't done much riding.
The old saying "get back on" is true.

I have at least one cousin who feel off and will not get on a horse even after 35+ years. I went to school with a girl who's mother was killed in a fall our Sr year and the girl quit riding because of it. Broken neck killed her mom and to this day my neck is the only thing I actually worry about.

Most people get shook up some when they come off. After all it usually hurts to some degree. It can be crippling and even fatal. These are risks that come with getting on an animal that usually weighs in the 1,000 lb range (give or take). Just like if you spend enough time taking care of them and working with their feet you're doing to get stepped on some, possibly kicked at some point and that can hurt too.

Gunslinger summed it up pretty well. Get back on and do some easy riding just for enjoyment. But you need to be on a horse to keep your confidence with riding and master your fear.

Of course I'm probably not the best person to ask about this stuff. I started riding at 11 in 1968. I've worked cattle, spent long weekends in my younger years camping while riding around 30 miles a day and done things I would never recommend to someone else.
e.g. riding home after green horse spoked, tossed me into gate and cracked ribs. The smart thing would have been to walk the mile or so back home leading the horse, but I got back on this same green horse and rode very carefully back home at a slow, easy walk (forever thankful that nothing else happened).

They're always going to be bigger and stronger so you better always be smarter. (One of my grandfather's many pearls of wisdom)
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post #27 of 32 Old 03-21-2013, 01:36 PM
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I'm glad you are going to try again. I'm in lockstep with Palomine, bc when I taught I didn't want anybody going off for ANY reason.
Everybody takes falls. It's inevitable. Your abilities were pushed too fast.
Sometimes there are beginning riders who make fun of lunge-line lessons, but I'm thinking you might want to look for an instructor who does this. The horses used are very obedient, and reminiscent of circus horses and riders who move in the circle with a halter/bridle attached to a surcingle.
Robert Dover said (in a recent "Dressage Symposium") that he spent the first 6 months of his lessons on the lunge so he could develop his seat without also having to learn how to communicate with the reins. Anybody who is serious in the English world spends some time dressag-ing their horse, so it isn't a "side-quest."
The horse must trust the rider, but if your gut tells you something is wrong you need to listen to it.

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post #28 of 32 Old 03-28-2013, 10:49 PM
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I had an adult beginner rider not that long ago, she did maybe 3 lessons..she was absolutely terrified of horses. Not sure why she rode..or wanted to, but I spent those whole 3 lessons with her just brushing and walking, on the lunge line..on the safest horse we have (on the lunge line, he's pretty safe off of it too though) I mean, seriously, this horse got stung in the neck by a bee and didn't react on the trail. But anyways, I pushed her to do things, such as riding with her hands on her head, but at the speed she was comfortable at.

If you're not comfortable with cantering, don't do it. There's also an older lady who leases the oldest horse in the barn, and spends majority of her time walking and lightly trotting him. She used to take lessons and we had to force her to canter, and then one day we just quit. She doesn't want to show, and she wants to ride for fun, what is the point in pushing her to do something she is not comfortable with when she is perfectly happy walking, trotting, grooming, and spending time with her horse?

I have one lesson now, her second was tonight, that I don't imagine will be off of the lunge line for a long time. She can't seem to figure out posting, doesn't have a very good sense of balance, and I'm not comfortable letting her control the horse at all (even though the one she'd be on in that case just goes around no issue, but she's very very tiny and he's huge).

I've learned over time that there's a time to push, and a time to sit back and let people recover, especially if they mention to me that their nervous. Take a few weeks, build your confidence again, and then try.
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post #29 of 32 Old 03-28-2013, 11:05 PM
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I've told this story a few times on the form, but I have had a couple horrible falls- the one most recent was on my horse Trigger who has only been broke for around a year. At the time he was still learning to lope and simply he freaked and I fell, he stepped on my leg and I was a bruised hot mess for a while. It hurt horribly to ride for a solid month, but I knew I needed to get back in the saddle and act as if nothing had happened. The reason I knew this was when I was around fourteen I was riding- or more showing off to some family and galloped around an arena with my first horse. My BO at the time trained dogs in her spare time and happened to be hosting a class at that time. I have no clue what they were working on, but during one of our straight aways the dogs all started barking and my horse TOOK OFF!!! Like shot right out of a cannon. He slid around a corner and I fell into a fence. It was a horrible ride, I blacked out, came to and couldn't catch my breath, to this day I still think of that ride in fear. I was fearless 14 year old who was shown that you have to be careful and aware of your horse and surroundings. Don't do what I did, I tried riding two or three more times, then got rid of my horse. I let the fear eat me alive and didn't get back into riding for almost seven years! Now that I am back, despite having a total of three falls on my green broke horse, I feel so much better and happier. Others around me have noticed the change in me over the past few years since I started riding again. Don't let this destroy your love of horses. Fear will come and go, but don't let it rip you apart. There's always going to be another ride, another horse, another fall, and another much more successful day! Good luck!
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post #30 of 32 Old 03-29-2013, 03:41 PM
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I don't agree with your trainer. I don't care for people who use pressure to get their way. Frankly, I don't believe in it - it's kind of bullying and manipulative. I could be wrong, but she seems to me insensitive and not in the least empathetic. Your safety should be her focus, not whether or not you're doing what she wants you to do.

As I see it, it's one thing when a student balks because they're a little nervous trying something new, it's quite another thing when there's been an injury and the rider is not yet comfortable on their mount. You take it slow because it's prudent, because you want success, not a person whose terrified.

Even if a student balks and won't do something, why pressure them to the point of making them do it because you say so? This is supposed to be fun, it's not as if the future of the world depends on you cantering again immediately.

If you spent the next couple of months working on - lets say - transitions and lateral work and skipped cantering until you got your confidence back, what harm would there be? None that I can think of.

Further, I do not like that she's putting you back on the horse that you fell from without discussing it with you and getting feedback from you. Clearly you were traumatized. Maybe it was your fault, maybe the horses, maybe just serendipity and you fell and it wasn't an easy one and you're feeling it. SO WHAT? If you don't want to ride this horse, don't. When you get your confidence back, you'll ride any horse but right now you don't have your confidence, so wait it out.

My advice as a rather beginner ish rider is this: Politely tell your trainer you don't want to canter yet and you'd rather work on other areas. And that you don't want to ride that horse again, at this point. And that's it. You're the one paying for the lessons and the only one who gets to live in your body.

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