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This is a discussion on Nervousness within the Horse Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How to overcome nervousness around horses
  • How to overcome nervousness for horseshow

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    02-18-2009, 08:01 PM

I recently began going to a new barn and my new trainers horses are.....more spirited than other lesson horses I have ridden at old barns. I've learned how to do stuff I've never learned at other barns which is great but I started to also get nervous around the horses. One of the mares I ride is cinchy and I get nervous when saddling her and also when blanketing her. I will also sometimes get nervous when I'm in the stall with some of the horses. I wasn't as nervous around horses as I am now, is this a normal thing that everyone goes through? Any tips on how to overcome the nervousness will be appreciated.
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    02-18-2009, 09:52 PM
I have been riding since I was 12, 25 now, and sometimes I still get nervous around new horses and sometimes even my own. I think it is a natural reaction being around big animals...they can do anything at any time..that sort of thing. What I do is tell myself to think calm. Clear my mind by counting to ten and taking a few deep breaths. When you are nervous, the horses can pick up on that and react negatively.

Just remember to breath and think calm. That worked for me. Also, maybe spend some time with them without doing any work. Let them get comfortable with you maybe in their stall just hanging out.
    02-20-2009, 03:53 PM
I'd much rather see a person who is nervous/aware than one who thinks they already know everything.

It's all new yet! As you get used to things, you will relax!

Are you having fun and learning?
    02-20-2009, 04:12 PM
It's totally natural to get nervous as you work with horses that you aren't used to yet, or are perhaps slightly outside of your current comfort level. What is important is to learn how to understand the horse's body language so that you reduce your chances of getting hurt, as well as working with your new trainer so that they understand what you do and do not feel comfortable with. You should never be forced to do something you are not comfortable with, but in order to get better and learn more, we need to go outside of our current comfort zones. If I only handled and rode horses I knew well or was comfortable with, then there's no way that I'd get better as a horseperson and a rider. But it's also important that you have someone with you to mentor and teach you what responses are appropriate when a horse acts a certain way and why.

In a lot of ways, it's like learning a new language - "horse" - and you want to make sure that you have good translator who can help teach you how to best communicate both on the ground and under saddle!
    02-21-2009, 11:48 PM
Originally Posted by mls    
I'd much rather see a person who is nervous/aware than one who thinks they already know everything.

It's all new yet! As you get used to things, you will relax!

Are you having fun and learning?
Yes I am learning and having fun, I just get nervous when in the stall with them or when blanketing them since I just recently learned how to blanket them. I don't get as nervous riding and I don't really get nervous at all when grooming.
    02-23-2009, 09:50 AM
I've been riding for almost 12 years and still get nervous around new horses. I changed to a new barn last year and the first horse I had to ride was VERY snappy and tried to kick me. ( I was later told that it had been abused before it came to my barn) Ever since then i've been really nervous around new horses. :/
    02-23-2009, 10:19 AM
I'm probably not quite as scared by them as I ought to be. >_< I've been around them since 7 years. When I was about 11 or 12 my mom got her first horse... who is nutcase of the century. She's not mean but she's very flighty, impatient, and sometimes anxious. Working with her I learned to be confident and take control... it's really like dealing with kids that are acting up. Some horses can just be sour though. As long as you know how to safely handle them, you should be alright. Definitely talk to your instructor.
    02-23-2009, 04:57 PM
Getting nervous around new horses is not a big deal. It happens all the time. But horses can totally tell when you're nervous. Totally. And when they know you're nervous, they'll take advantage. Trust me. I know it's hard, but just try to stay calm and relax. Tell yourself its just another horse. If you're not comfortable riding or even tacking up, and especially in the stall, just take them out and walk them around. Touch them, talk to them, just be around them. The more time you spend NOT working them, the more trust will build up and both you AND the horse will be more confident and comfortable with each other.....Does that make sense?
    02-23-2009, 05:53 PM
It's natural to feel nervous in new surroundings. Just like you would be nervous if you suddenly entered a room full of people you didn't know. Just give it some time. The more you get to know the horses, the more comfortable you will feel around them. Spend a lot of quality time with them, and gather as much knowledge about them from the owners. Study them ... learn their quirks, habits and favourite soft spots to rub. This will take some time, but the more you expand your knowledge about each horse, the more you will start to understand where they are coming from and the more confidence you will have around them.

Don't give up! I get nervous sometimes too. Everyone does, it's completely normal!

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