How to restore confidence after a bad fall? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 02:30 AM Thread Starter
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Question How to restore confidence after a bad fall?

My 16 yo daughter has only been riding for a short time. She started weekly lessons around February after a several-year long hiatus from lessons a few years ago. We got her a horse about a month later, which she was riding for her lessons. In April she was riding on a very windy day (and in addition the horse had gotten his annual shots and had his feet trimmed earlier in the day) and when the wind banged the door of the arena he spooked, bucked, and she fell off and broke her arm. She had to have surgery and is still wearing the brace.

We've gone and visited the horse but so far she hasn't wanted to have him out of his stall and she is worried about being around him and riding in general now. She said she isn't sure if she even wants to ride again and sometimes she thinks she does and sometimes she doesn't. She's lost her confidence and I feel awful. She's loved horses ever since she was little and has always wanted to have her own and to ride so I think if she says she doesn't ever want to ride again and we sell him, she'll regret it. She already gets upset just talking about it.

Her teacher is going to do some training with him, but in the meantime I wonder if I should really encourage her to see him and groom him to get used to being around him again. Kind of ease into it. This was her first fall, btw, so it's probably a lot tougher to bounce back than if she had some minor falls under her belt. Also her teacher said he would put her on a different horse at first (the one she started lessons on) when she's ready to ride again until she feels ready to ride Hank again. We've also offered to buy a different horse, one that is older and better trained, but she likes Hank.

Does anyone have any tips or words of wisdom for us? thanks :)
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 02:36 AM
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After I fell off- I just had to take it slow & cowgirl up. :)

Also, getting right back on after the fall helped me alot. (not that it would have been possible in this situation, but in the future)
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 02:42 AM
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I would not allow her to get rid of him without at least trying to work things out.

What if you allowed another girl to come and spend time with him. Maybe that would make her feel so jealous that she'd start to come out and see Hank again.
I think it's probably a bit soon for her to recover. But, if you stress the angle of "Hank needs you", that might get her out there.

bummer that her first fall was such a doozy. It is better if you have lots of the "whatever" kind of falls first.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-04-2012, 07:42 AM
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I can definitely relate, as I am getting over my own fall! I agree with tinyliny, talking about Hank's need might get her in thru the back door! Keep us posted!
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-06-2012, 12:59 AM Thread Starter
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Just a mini update. We visited Hank today. I got him out and my daughter brushed him and we both just pretty much heaped attention on him. He ate it up and she was happy that we did it, and I think it helped a lot. Baby steps. :)
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-06-2012, 01:08 AM
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Just lots and lots of baby steps. Maybe she can hop on a quieter horse and build confidence there and hop on her horse later on?

I got bucked off of a mare, landed on my head.. sprained my neck (thank goodness it wasn't worse) and I was in tears and in pain and I got back on that horse and trotted her ass off (in hindsight a TERRIBLE idea.) That fall spooked me off of horses for over a month. I couldn't even sit on one without having an anxiety spark. I slowly got on a green mare (different one.. one that I had been schooling for a year) and she helped me get confidence to ride again and I could get back on any horse and I was fine.

People just need to take it easy after a fall. Don't let her quit. We all get hurt but if we quit then we would kick ourselves from here to Cancun because we would miss it a lot.

It's okay if she's not ready to ride again, but I'm glad she's going out and brushing him :)

Hopefully the trainer works on his spook reaction so it never happens again.

Best of luck :)

"Strength is the ability to use a muscle without tension"
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-06-2012, 01:33 AM
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Ride it out. She just needs to have a few incident free rides and shell build her confidence back. Thats what I did, I fell about a month and a half ago and only last week started jumping again. The fall wasn't nearly as bad as your daughters, just winded me and scared me off jumping but now that I did it, it feels great!

Equestrianism; 10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will, 5% pleasure, 50% pain and 100% reason to remember you're absolutely insane to be riding a beast that big.
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-06-2012, 04:35 PM
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I had the same thing happen to me. I was riding in the field, my mare jumped and bucked, I came off and broke my arm. About a year or 2 after that, I had lost my fearless attitude about riding, and was a LOT more timid. What helped me get over it was a quote that said, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." There should always be a little bit of fear toward a horse, that's called respect, but when you let it rule your thoughts and decisions, that's when it becomes a problem. If your daughter loves horses more than she fears them, then she will be fine:) It took me about 2 years to get over my fear, and I feel like it has made me a stronger horse person. Consider your daughter lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to overcome a big fear and learn from it. Let her know she's been given an opportunity, now make good use of it:)
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-06-2012, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. She had a dr appointment today and her ortho is not exactly encouraging her to ride again. He doesn't like horses because he's only seen the bad from them. Hopefully she'll decide that she wants to ride more than not.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-07-2012, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by gale View Post
Thanks. She had a dr appointment today and her ortho is not exactly encouraging her to ride again. He doesn't like horses because he's only seen the bad from them. Hopefully she'll decide that she wants to ride more than not.
If the doctor says dont ride tell her the doctors are cityidiots that dont know better. haha. And if horses are dangerous so are cars and butter knifes.
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