I've been riding English lessons every week for about a year now and have been starting to feel super confident. They've put me on this new mare, Georgie, who is a four year old Thoroughbred cross. Great mare, so intelligent and very willing to learn.
Well we went on a hack (trail ride for my fellow Americans) on Saturday and she was antsy the whole time. I stayed calm and confident and sat through her spooking at hills and branches and signs and cars etc. etc. etc.
On our way back to the yard she was even more uppity, trying to break into a trot and tensing almost constantly. At this point I was thinking, "Oh well, if something goes wrong at least I have health care." Which was comforting to me, coming from a lower class family in America with no health care.
We decided on the way back to avoid all the hills as she was really tense and had been spooking at them all day. I found that reasonable and went to take her over the flat path.
I don't know what set her off, probably just the tension built up too much and she needed release but from all accounts she flew straight up into the air. All I remember is losing balance, falling forward, and hearing a crunch as I landed on the gravel path on my head. Within milliseconds my brain was screaming at me to get out of the way and I was up on my feet and moving away from the horse.
I wanted to, but I didn't get back on. The trail is no more than ten feet from a busy 60mph/100kmh road and her freaking out again and bolting out into the road and getting us hit by a car at 60mph was not a pretty scenario in my head.
I got back on her at the yards and went into the dressage arena. I walked her for a bit and then urged her to trot and the little hellion did it again! Not as severe as the first freak out, I sat through this one and she settled down. I walked her around once more and called it a day.
Obviously my confidence is a bit bruised, I was so terrified, I heard that crunch when my head hit and I thought about my life. Leaving my newly wed husband behind, my parents on the other side of the world having to wait God knows how long before they got that phone call. I could have been seriously hurt or died if she decided to bolt into that road.
But at the same time I feel proud of myself for handling it reasonably despite all those thoughts. I got back on the horse, I'm riding her again next week!
But I am afraid now that when I ride this horse any little thing she does is going to send me into a panic. I'm making myself ride her anyway, she's young and has low mileage. I can't expect her to not have her bad days.
Does anyone have any advice on how I am handling this situation? Am I doing right getting on her and trying to continue on like nothing happened?
Saturday was the second time I have ever ridden her, the first time the week before she was a dream. I was seriously tempted to make an offer on her. She's young but intelligent, willing, and has the potential to take me where I want to go in riding.
As far as my health goes I'm pretty sure I'm okay. Really sore in my neck and shoulder area so I'm taking a special trip to the chiropractor on Tuesday to see what damage has been done as far as possible sublaxation in my neck area goes.
I have waited way too long and worked way too hard to get this far to quit now. I'll need to find ways to relax before rides now so I don't get nervous and make the horse nervous. Any tips would be awesome, thanks.