Getting my confidence back, anyone with experiene/Tips? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Oregon
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Red face Getting my confidence back, anyone with experiene/Tips?

Hello! Years and years ago, I made one pretty bad fall, because my horse spooked from a big truck that drove by. (Understandable!)
She was a pretty spooky horse, and I was an english beginner, so frankly, I lost confidence and never got it back..
(That was to make a story short. I'd rather not go into the details too much about why I had a young spooky horse as a beginner :))

Anyway, years later I decided to go ahead and pick horseriding back up!
It'll be in stables where someone apperantly is specialized in bringing confidence back so, I do have good hopes!
I couldn't take lessons for so many years since that simply wasn't possible financially.

I'm going to do Western now instead of English, but that's not the point.

Point is that, I'm going to try to get my confidence back!
My biggest fears are; Having my horse spook, going too fast (As in me wanting to have the horse trot and it shoots away), canter and gallop, and me not having control of the horse..

So does anyone have any good tips? Ideas for me to perhaps relax?
And if you had experiences like this, losing confidence, how did you gain it back?
I'd love to hear ALL about it!
Thank u :)

Kashmere is offline  
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 10:28 PM
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I think most of us have been there to one extent or another. For me it's all about having enough tools in my toolbox to address any situation that might come up. I always make sure I have power steering and brakes first. Lessons on a bomb proof horse will go a long way toward getting your seat secure. After that, it's all about knowing what to do when stuff comes up.

The thing that had me most nervous about my OTTB was his sudden ability to spook, spin around and bolt for no apparent reason. I read a fantastic quote somewhere where the person said, "A horse doesn't know he's stronger than you unless you tell him". I had also seen many shows about disengaging a horse's hind end, aka the one rein stop. After my first spooking incident, I went back into the ring and learned the one rein stop at the walk, then trot and then canter. I made sure we both had it down cold before heading out into the spooky trails again. The next time he did it, I got nervous, but was able to shut him down within the first 3 strides of the bolt. The next spook, I was less nervous and shut him down sooner. The next time, I wasn't nervous at all. I just sat there, acted but did not react, and he barely made half a turn before stopping. I was amazed that, as I got more used to applying this aid, my confidence increased which in turn increased his confidence in me. I'm all about knowledge is power. The more you know about your horse, the more you can manage situations. Never go above what you think you can handle or let anyone push you into things. In time, your confidence will return and you'll feel like a million bucks.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 10:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that my MyBoyPuck
I just really want to be able to indeed do that, to be able to stop my horse in bad situations, without having me tremble all over my limbs

I am positive in time it will come back.
For now it just sounds like a fairytale..
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-02-2009, 11:43 PM
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Three or so years ago, before I got back in to riding and bought my boy, I also had a fall that resulted from being on a greenish/spooky rescue and myself having never been on a horse that was new to trails. I shattered my wrist and for those three years just completely took a break from all manner of riding....I think that more than anything helped me get my confidence back, because I was able to approach my TB as myself--I am very confident in myself and my abilities and rise to occasions when they are given to me. I was not inhibited by the fact that I had been thrown from a horse at all, because it was so long ago. I was a different person then, and I am a different person now than five months ago when I bought my gelding.

I actually JUST had an incident similar to yours, but luckily, it was in an arena, so the run away was somewhat controlled. I also have an OTTB, and that has also been my fear (more so in asking him to canter than at any other gait) that he will completely ignore my hackamore, give me the stiff neck, and just keep on trucking. LOL. Long story short, my boy was p.o.ed at me and let me know by giving a good buck and then tearing off into a gallop. Had I been the rider I was those years ago, I probably would have fallen off and hurt myself. Instead, I kept my seat (even with only one stirrup), kept my head and remembered the one rein stopping and the half-halting (OTTB's lean into constant pressure and go faster)

But for now, since he recently did just take off on me, I've ridden him at a walk. Right after he spooked I got back on him and I let him trot for three or four paces, but then I slowed him down and soon after got off. I also, for two days in a row, have lunged him. For me it helps to see that my horse has control of himself and when I say "trot" he doesn't shoot off into a full gallop. I have ordered some new boots for him to wear while we're riding, so until they get here, I plan on taking a small break from riding him just to re-collect myself.

Have you actually gone out to ride yet? I think you'll find that with the right horse, you won't have a problem with confidence. Also, while you're in the saddle, make a conscious effort to take notice of yourself. Remember to breath normally, and hold yourself up but not tense up--sometimes my shoulders hitch up when my guy gets a very long stride that comes natural to him but is also very fast--after we slow down I shake myself off before continuing on. Talk to your horse, it helps a lot if you just have conversations with them while on their backs. Don't be afraid to go back to what you know. I don't know if your trainer would allow this or not, but see if on days that you don't have lessons (or on your lesson days, but just earlier) you can come out and do simple ground work with the horse you're riding. Pick their feet, brush out their manes and tails, let them eat grass from the front yard or practice walking/trotting them in hand while you're leading them!
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post #5 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reaction JustSam!
I'm glad you got to find your confidence back too :)

Actually, after that fall, I've been riding for about a year. Like just in bits and pieces.
Everytime I'd get my confidence a bit up, I could wake up tommorow and have it be lost.
One time I was taking a lesson (It was the last lesson I have too upon today) one of the school horses I rode on for the second time just went out of the line and trotted faster.
I was so scared! I didn't dare to try pull him back.. I only pulled the reins to make him stop.
That's about.. 6-7 years ago I think.

The most recent (That is a year ago though, but it IS the most recent) was a small western horse ride. It was on one of those assisted small trailrides, where one just goes on as a pleasure ride, nothing major.
I was scared as HELL the first 15 minutes, particularly begging one of the girls that would guide is to keep the leadrope with them, just in case.
They both refused and assured I'd do fine, and even though I was happy to be back on a horse, I was so so scared.
The whole trip went just fine but when we got back to the stables, Kenny the horse I rode on, was walking a little faster than he was normally was, and it just got my heart racing!

And this monday we're going to look at the stables and talk with the woman who'll be teaching me
I'll make sure to ask her wether or not she's going to let me do some groundwork and perhaps let me do some stuff with the horse before riding

Thanks for the advice!

Last edited by Kashmere; 12-03-2009 at 12:45 AM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 03:22 AM
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I've had a few falls but I think the thing that always helps me get back up and keep on riding is knowing that I can do it! I think to myself, I know how to ride perfectly at a walk, so I'll hop back on and ride at a walk until I'm comfortable to go for a trot.

Spending time on a nice quiet horse in a controlled environment like an arena will really get your confidence back up. Remember to get lessons off someone who you feel you can trust and someone you get along with. You don't wanna get lessons off someone who just doesn't work right for you. Believe me, I've been there, done that!

These are some of the techniques my pilates teacher (who is also a horse rider) taught me.
1) Breathe! Remember to breathe at all times. Sometimes when I get a little bit nervous I forget to breathe and I tense up and the horse responds to that. So even if you are nervous, breathe because it really calms you.
2)Before you ride if you can, spend some time with the horse you'll ride. You will get familiar with the horse and just get used to its personality.
3)Pin-point exactly what you're nervous or afraid about and try to understand where that stems from. Actually this technique works for me whenever I'm scared or nervous about something, and sometimes it doesn't even relate to horse-riding.

Hope you have lots of fun! Good luck
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-03-2009, 01:20 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Oregon
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Thanks for the reaction!
Although the tips sound good, I'm a bit confused with the last one.
Yo mean where that stems from, as in, why I'm scared at this moment, or why I was scared of it so many years ago? (And still kept following me)
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