Haven't ridden in years... nervous getting back on. Advice?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 01-01-2011, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SE PA
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Red face Haven't ridden in years... nervous getting back on. Advice??

Hello all,

As y'all probably know I've posted quite a few times on here and we are buying horses for riding (pleasure/trail type riding). Well, it's been about 12 years since I've been on a horse and I'm REALLY nervous!! Especially since I'll be riding a horse that I don't know anything about. I don't want to make the horse nervous as I know they can feel your "tenseness" ... if that's a word LOL... but I would like some advice on how y'all relax yourself before riding.

I do have quite a lot experience riding as the first time I ever rode a horse was when I was about 6.. he was 17hh and my feet wouldn't reach the stirrups!! He was a trail horse and my dad took me trail riding at a local stable.. I also had lessons when I was about 12 that were paid for by me working at the trail/lesson stable I mentioned above. I also used to take trail rides out at that same stable LOL.. My parents then bought me a horse of my own when I was 14 and I rode her in barrels and such but mostly just riding on the fields around our house.

I then went away to college for Equine Studies and part of the courses was english/western riding, driving and hunter/jumper. I hated the jumping part but it had to be done... well the instructor put me on a horse that had A LOT more experience than I did thinking I could handle his little "problem".. although it probably would have helped if she had of told me what that problem was!!! He had this ability to suddenly change direction just at the time when you'd expect him to go over the jump!! Needless to say he threw me into the jump.. my foot got caught up in the stirrup and I was dragged around the arena... I woke up in the hospital a few days later and was unable to move my legs for about 6 months.. had to re-learn how to walk and all that stuff.. and yes, I did get back on ONCE after I came back but never again.. I was too scared.

A few years later a friend of mine that I met in 4H horse club took me out for a night time trail ride.. back at that same stable I worked at all those years earlier.. and the owner remembered me.. and my riding ability (I'm assuming) I told them I wanted a "follower" not one that had a mind of his/her own as I hadn't been on a horse in a while and was scared outta my mind! I had a good time that night once I realized that I still knew how to ride and I ignored my fear.

Even though I've owned horses and worked with horses through the intervening years I haven't ridden since that night ride and now that I'm facing the fact that I have to ride IN FRONT OF HER OWNER... I'm really getting scared all over again!! So I need some advice before I make a fool of myself in front of everyone.

Sorry for the LONG post but I wanted to give y'all some background into why I have this fear... and why I need your help.

TIA for any help/advice given
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post #2 of 4 Old 01-01-2011, 11:58 PM
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Considering your harrowing exerience (I cringed just reading it!) at the jump lesson, no one could possibly fault you for being scared.

All I can say , is that you know you can ride, you did so on the night trail ride. so, no worries there. Anyone can have an accident like iwth the big jumper.

I guess I'd first spend some time on the ground iwth the horses. No need to ride them right off the bat. AND, let someone ride each of them first. I know I just hardly ever get on a horse that I have not first watched be ridden by someone of equal or better skills than me.

Take your time. Don't blame yourself for having fear. If today isnt the right day to get on, then wait til tomorrow.

Let us know how it goes.
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post #3 of 4 Old 01-02-2011, 12:51 AM
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: West Central Illinois
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First off, you are EXTREMELY Brave for getting back on a horse after your accident. Most after an accident like that would completely forget about horses, but you didn't, and I want to congratulate you on your bravery.

Riding a horse basically like riding a bycicle. You may be rusty at it, but you quickly relearn how to do it. You know how to ride, and you can do it!!!
I have been on rides with a few people who have been in similar situations as yours. There is no simple "quick fix" for fears after a fall, but you can overcome it. I have seen it happen.
Have the owner, or another horseman you trust, ride the horse first, and do some groundwork with the horse before you mount. Don't feel like you have to rush into this. You should push your limits, but there is a point where you can't take anymore. Whne you start feeling/thinking, "This is getting to be too much for me", go back to something easier, or more comfortable for you to do.
The time before you ride will be the point where your emotions will build up. Do something that keeps your mind off of the fear and relaxes you. If cleaning the house distracts you, then break out the vaccume and pledge. If you want to talk to someone, bring a friend along (espically if its a long car ride to this persons house.) Keeping your mind somewhat elsewhere will take the edge off your fear.

Again I congratulate you for getting back in the saddle and I hope your ride goes well.
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post #4 of 4 Old 01-03-2011, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: SE PA
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Thank you both for your confidence boost!! You have no idea how much encouraging words can help... you see I tend to over-think things and this just happens to be one of those things.. I get all worked up over it, more than I should but it's not easy to control. You both have some very good advice that I'm going to use... the drive out to the lady's farm is 2.5 hours one way and my husband will be with me the whole time.. I'll be asking the owner to ride the mare for me and my husband is also going to ride her too as he has to be comfortable on her as well.

I don't know if any of you remember but I posted about my husband's issue with the spider bite in his groin giving him blood clots in his leg? Well, he's going to give it a try on her. The lady says she has a "plantation" saddle.. whatever that is.

I'm sure that once I see her ridden and how she acts I will *want* to get on her regardless of my feelings... the only way to get over a fear is to confront it ... right??

Oh... I guess I should also add that the main reason I'm fearful isn't really to do with the fall itself as I don't remember the actual fall... my fear comes more from what the doctors told me and that is I can be paralyzed permanently if I have even a minor spill off a horse!! I have two slipped discs as well as degenerative disc disorder in my spine and sciatica too.. (I know, I'm falling apart!.. LOL) But I'm not going to let that deter me from getting back up there as I love being on horses too much to never ride again!

Thanks again to you both.. and I'll let ya know how it goes. :)

Last edited by mysticdragon72; 01-03-2011 at 01:58 AM.
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