How to overcome fear...if it's a habit
I got my horse two years ago, and since then, I've pretty much lived in a constant state of fear and anxiety with her. Finally, I've begun taking lessons with the really great trainer ( about time)
Two years of defensive riding have led me to develop a very hunched-over, almost foetal position-like form. ( Bad bad)
She had me sit back so that my butt was actually touching the saddle I was really, honestly surprised how much of a difference it made. With a good, solid, strong seat, the rest just sort of falls into place. (Yes)
But, as she said, I'm not going to fix it overnight,
It is an uncorrected habit I'm having to break.
She is not a bad horse at all. I have never rode her every day for any extended period of time. (Then it is time you started to)
The worst she ever does is get tense, anxious, and that's usually only when I'm feeling scared and nervous. but she's got no buck, no rear, no bolt . (That’s good).
And I'm FEARFUL So WHY am I still scared?
(Sorry, but I cut out all but the relevant bits),
Being some one who has gone through an episode of fear after a very bad horse fall, I can sympathise. I am pleased to hear you have found a riding trainer but now you need to find out what is making your fearful of riding and strangely that may not be the horse. If there is something else buzzing round in your head it can show itself when you ride.
Personally I had no excuse for coming off my mare, four times in close succession. I had been riding for 35 years and I had ridden horses a lot more skittish than my mare.
Eventually I discovered that the pills I have to take daily, impacted on my balance And in addition, the tinnitus which I have suffered for years did not help. At last I understood the problem.
There are several techniques for relaxing and that is one thing you need to do. You have to sit in the right posture - head up , back straight, legs hanging down with toes up - you know, you’ve been told. There is to be no gripping, no tension in the hands, No stiffness. If you are tense then the horse for sure knows and wonders just why.
You have to relax - if you can’t learn how, then even a very placid horse is not going to help you. Cure yourself, then go back to the horse when you feel better.
Some ideas for relaxing are: singing, wiggling the toes, sitting deep in the saddle. Laying on the floor and letting go of everything.
I suggest you look up ‘Dr Alexander Technique’ on the internet.
But what helped me most was to understand the situation. It took a clinical psychologist to explain that in an old man there are a lot of bad memories and fears. Just to talk about those fears - perhaps long forgotten but remaining dormant in the back of my mind, helps to put them to one side. Banging my head when I had hit the ground had brought all those fears back and I had to relearn how to bury them.
ATPH - persist with riding. There is no other sport quite like it.
Horse riding is an adrenaline rich sport and horses are just something special in life, which those who never ride will never get to experience.