I wish I could stop being afraid!

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I wish I could stop being afraid!

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    05-11-2011, 07:04 PM
Angry I wish I could stop being afraid!

I don't know why I let myself get so intimidated by horses but it's really frustrating!!! I have ridden most my life. Done jumping, competing etc...I don't recall being too nervous when I was younger but now that I'm older I find myself getting intimidated by horses attitudes on occassion. Maybe it's because I remember all those times I HAVE fallen and I know it can really hurt! I have been taking lessons on this little mare for a while now, I even leased her for a month and rode her three times a week. Normally she's really good and I know what she has an attitude about and brush it off. One time I was riding her and working on transitions and doing small circles. I think she just got irritated about me doing it over and over and over again and she let out a pretty big buck. I didn't come off so it wasn't a really big deal, but now when she get's pissy I'm afraid she's going to buck. Today she didn't want to canter. It was taking a LOT of leg to get her to do it and then if I took my leg off for even a second she would break into a trot. Then she started getting pissy when I would go to ask her. She's NEVER gotten this pissy about it! She pinned her ears back, stuck her nose out and bent to the outside like she was trying to get her side away from my leg before I even asked. Part of me was saying 'smack her with the crop and don't let her get away with that' but I was afraid she would buck if I did. I guess then she figured out what my 'button' was and she KEPT doing that and I couldn't get her to canter at all. So I asked my trainer to get on her and just so I could see that it was just ME and not something wrong with her. She hopped on her and she started a little attitude and my trainer just whacked her with the crop a couple times and she straightened up and worked just fine. Although she did fine for her, in the end my trainer noticed that her hips seemed like they might be a little 'off' and is going to have the chiropractor look at her. Still, it's frustrating to me that I'm AFRAID....
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    05-11-2011, 07:17 PM
Green Broke
I know the feeling, when I adopted Hunter I had only been back into riding for a year (I'm 45) (he is 3 almost 4). He did a few things on the ground that scared me and when we backed him that fear transferred to the saddle. I had Hunter buck for the first time last summer out on the trails (had eaten too much tall sweet grass). I think I was too shocked to be scared, but when we were in the arena after I asked for a canter he bucked again. So then I was afraid, I would have my trainer come out and ride him and even thought about selling him (so glad I didn't). It's not fun when you are afraid. Part of our problem was his lack of respect for me and I'm not really sure how I overcame my fear but I just stuck with it and said OK we are going to work on this and as my fear went away and I earned his respect he has calmed down and is less antsy. Though lately he has taken to doing a small buck when we first set out to canter on the trails, going backwards a few times 20 feet or so seems to have cured that. All I can say is just keep trying, I know it is frustrating and it took me about 6 months to transform from afraid to now I will tap him with the crop if he is not behaving and he smartens up pretty quick. There were times when I almost gave up because it wasn't even fun but keep at it, it is well worth it.
    05-11-2011, 08:14 PM
I don't think that is an uncommon fear at all, especially as we get older.
For myself personally, having kids had a lot to do with any fears that pop up for me. I certainly used to be fearless, and had no qualms about riding any horse, as fast as possible, lol.
After I had my kids, I started wearing a helmet, and became very aware of potential dangers, so became a more cautious rider. Had to protect myself for my kids.
I have no worries riding my old guy, I've had him 15 years, we know eachother very well. I know his triggers, and know what to do with him if he Does get wiggy.
My 5 yr old gelding is another matter. He is generally good, but can explode over certain things. Afraid of the water hose, puddles, flinches if you sneeze, lol. I have only had him a few months, and do not completely trust him under saddle. He is good in the arena, but I mostly trail ride. And there are actually few 'trails' around here, mostly just open fields. So I seem to be afraid that he will bolt, even though he never has before.
Anyway, I certainly sympathize with your situation. I think we should do square breathing!
    05-11-2011, 08:29 PM
I just went through something similar myself. I have no idea how it happened or when it started but I lost all my confidence. My mare being an anglo arab is very sensitive and in tune to emotions. SO needless to say when I would mount she could feel my anxiety and insecurity and responded in kind, I wasn't even able to get her to walk more than a few steps without her starting to prance and break into trot, it was incredibly frustrating and resulted in me, embarrassingly, bursting into tears on a few occasions. I had my sister get on her and she was an angel walking calmly around the ring totally relaxed. So what I did was took 3 weeks off from her, I got my sister to ride her for me instead and I took to riding a tiny little paint stallion that was all try. He was adorable, fun to ride, and even when he didn't know what I was asking he would try his heart out. It really brought my confidence back up and reminded me why riding was fun. I've had 2 rides on my girl again and they've both been great, although I don't know the reasons behind what happened I know I'm relaxed and confident again because my mare is. Your situation may be different but if things get overwhelming and you get scared there's no shame in taking a break and riding a confidence booster
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    05-11-2011, 09:27 PM
I'm sure many riders go through the same thing...it just makes me feel like such a WIMP! I would ask her to canter and she'd pin her ears and turn her body sideways and I just KNEW if I got after her she would buck. So I told my trainer that I was afraid she was going to buck and she said I just have to not be afraid, unless I feel really unbalanced and like I'm going to fall, I just need to push her through it. I just couldn't MAKE myself do it! I was SURE it just wasn't ME and that there must be something wrong with her, that's why I asked the trainer to get on her. After she rode her, without incident, and I got back on...she told me to do something different so the horse didn't get irritated with doing the same thing over and over again. Which is also frustrating for me because I WANT to do it over and over until I get it right, but I understand why I shouldn't. So I just did a couple small cross-rails. Even then she got her 'pissy' attitude when I asked her to trot to the crossrail but I tried just to take a deep breath and keep going and she went over it. She didn't canter after it, which she was supposed to do. So I did it again, got a little less attitude before the jump and then she cantered after the jump but only with lots of leg. One more time, barely any attitude and my trainer said "See, now she's not so angry with you" and we went over the crossrail just fine and cantered away. But she's talking about having me switch to a different horse in future lessons. Part of me thinks I should ride her again, after the chiropractor looks at her, just so I can have a 'successful' trot, canter etc...on her again before I switch. My trainer knows that my ultimate goal is to be a more confident rider, because I TOLD her that was my goal...so I gotta trust her professional opinion. I was trying to ride a friends TB for a couple lessons but he was a real handful and she said that she didn't think he was good for my confidence and most likely BAD for my confidence so I shouldn't ride him.
    05-11-2011, 10:26 PM
Green Broke
Wow sounds like you made some improvement on the second ride, congrats. I would keep riding her, I still have days when I don't know if I want to ride Hunter (Only in the arena though) we both love the trails and hate the arena. But, I know I have to do it and the more you do it and her attitude goes away the better it will be for both of you. Good luck!
    05-11-2011, 10:37 PM
You know I think it definitely comes with age. I also find the more i'm out there riding and jumping (for me) the less afraid I am (that's my fear point - or used to be - jumping over 3'). It's taken several years but i'm in my 30s and the past two years i've been able to ride 4-5d a week and that's made a huge difference. After not jumping much yet this spring I was able to warm my one horse up over a 3'6" fence to prep for our hunter pace last weekend (we have VERY aggressive paces around here all with a full foxhunt team). It was the first time I can remember that I wasn't like OMG OMG.

Sometimes it's just a matter of going out there and doing whatever makes you nervous as much as you can even in little increments at a time until your brain reminds your body - hey! You can do this! :)

Good luck!
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    05-11-2011, 10:56 PM
I understand your fear as well. I have a horse that everyone (except me) was terrified of when we first got her. She showed her butt the first time we saw her and that impression stayed with us for a long time. I don't scare easily working on the ground, and she has gone from a pushy bit** to a well mannered girl (for the most part) in the two years we've had her.

I'm a very large (around) person, and very short. I had absolutely refused to ride my Dancer for fear of hurting her. Daughter's trainer finally told me to bring Dancer over for an evaluation to see if she was rideable. She was a dream - trainer had one of those jaw dropping moments when she rode her - we all did! Then the evil trainer made me get up on her - would not take no for an answer...and I loved it. I'm supposed to be riding her for a few minutes every day until we both build up the muscles we need - but I haven't been able to get back on her. I need MORE than a mounting block - I used a picnic table at the trainer's. Son in law is supposed to be working on something for me - once it's finished, I hope I can get the nerve up to follow trainer's advice!
    05-12-2011, 05:59 PM
I would like to ride more but there are no horses available for lease right now. There is one that is leased out on 6 month terms and he was JUST leased so it will be at least 5 months until he's available again. The mare I was speaking of is a lesson horse. She used to be available for lease but the trainer sold one of her other lesson horses so she needed one that back for lessons.
    05-12-2011, 09:45 PM
Riding more would certainly help - familiarity breeds contempt as they say. At least you have the excuse of not owning a horse you can ride whenever you want. What's my excuse? I own mine...

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