Loss of confidence in riding

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Loss of confidence in riding

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    06-27-2011, 01:35 AM
Loss of confidence in riding

I had been riding since I was 6 or 7 up until about 15 or 16. Hunters, jumpers, reining, western pleasure...and I was fearless. I loved going fast, always wanted to gallop if allowed, would jump and do sliding stops bareback, etc...fast forward to 25 and here I am being iffy about certain things.

Up until about three years or so ago, I hadn't ridden in a while, then my ex-boyfriend's mom had some horses that I'd ride. Trouble was, her horses were all problematic. Barn/herd sour, super spooky...all were gaited, on high-energy feed, never got worked or properly trained...you get the picture. You can imagine how going from a long period without riding to jumping on spooky, untrained horses went...

I got bucked off a few times, taken off with while mid-air during mount, etc. Now, I just feel like I have lost all my confidence. My horse is great, and I keep expecting him to do something silly, and to this day he still has not. But I still find myself holding my breath and praying while mounting, and being rigid and too-far into my own head when trying to canter (another feat I have yet to overcome...)

The only thing I can think of is taking a few lessons to regather my confidence (and also touch up on my riding because I know that it is very, very rusty). Just was curious if anyone else has had this problem? I think it's because when we're young, we are fearless and don't worry so much about getting hurt. But now I don't want to end up in the hospital and out of work for weeks! This is so frustrating and upsetting.
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    06-27-2011, 02:21 AM
I have had the same type of fearfulness due to horses I should not have been riding. I love it when people tell you they are well broke, or bomb proff, or even kid friendly when THEY ARE NOT. Unbelievable what soem people will do to sell a horse. I have been on some green broke flat out crazy horses after being away from riding for 25 years! I understand completely, and I have spent some time riding some friends horses that are well broke; it has helped. I have also thought of taking some lessons, and have been told by trusted friends it would be a good idea. I also think about getting hurt now, where before I never gave it a single thought. It saddens me now to think about how cautious I am now. I intend to keep working it out, and I hope you will too. Good luck!!
    06-27-2011, 03:58 AM
I think you will find that most people have more fear as they age due to their increasing awareness of their fragility and the reality of what riding means. Not to feel bad, just realize that you are not all that different. I think everyone I ever met who rides over the years becomes more cautious.

Don't hold yourself to some old expectation. INstead of riding strong, ride SMART!
    06-27-2011, 07:49 AM
I think the key to overcoming your fear is to ride as much as possible. When we got Big Al last month I thought "what have I done...buying a horse at 59 years old"...So many people depend on me. What if I get hurt or worse?

Well, now, after riding and knowing my horse, that fear is gone. Just ride all you can. And soon after every ride your fears will lessen.

It is not an uncommon feeling as we age. We know we are not immortal. But we can't waste good riding time giving in to fear. Ten years down the road I don't want to have regrets about not riding enough.

Again, the more you ride, the quicker the confidence will return.

Last night Al and I watched 3 deer running through the fields. We stopped and watched and I felt that "moment" when life is good and my horse and I shared something great. That is what riding is all about.
    06-27-2011, 08:05 AM
I second all the above comments. When I was younger I would blindly (and stupidly) get on anything. When I fell (oh, did I fall) I wasn't bothered. Now, after a year coming back into riding at 30, I definitely have an 'awareness' of the potential dangers. Riding without incident builds up an immunity to this but it's something I still struggle with, even not having anything bad happen after a year back in the saddle.

Regular lessons on a 'confidence builder' sounds ideal. Let us know how it goes:)
    06-27-2011, 10:19 AM
Thanks for the advice and encouragement guys! I think I also need to get back into shape/regain some strength and flexibilty. The days of jumping up bareback seem so long gone, but my guy isn't too tall so maybe I'll get there again haha. :)
    06-28-2011, 06:37 PM
Try yoga if you can. It really helped my balance and flexibility.
    06-28-2011, 07:29 PM
I hope the anxiety lessens as you go along.

Every ride you get under your belt, will chip away at the uncertainty. If I can do it, so can you!!

Good luck!!
    06-28-2011, 08:45 PM
It's a shame we cannot keep that youthful ignorance and ability to do stuff without tensing up. :( I used to be the same... never thought about falling, now that's what I almost always think about. With practice you will see that the anxiety will wear off bit by bit as you gain confidence.
    06-28-2011, 11:26 PM
Yes, this absolutely a normal feeling/reaction! Honestly, the best thing you can do is get training time in the saddle with a nice, reliable schoolmaster as well as the problematic horses. You may have some more life experience that tells you to be more careful, but I would be willing to bet that much of that confidence and relaxation will come back as you get everything back up to speed! =)

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