Overcoming fear after a fall - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 9 Old 11-28-2010, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 14
• Horses: 0
Overcoming fear after a fall

I got my horse, Wildfire, 2 weeks ago. Before I bought him I had ridden him about 5 times and he did really well. The day after I brought him to his new home I tried to ride him. I wasn't going to go faster than a walk, I just wanted to take a relaxing walk around the trail. He had other ideas. He started sidestepping and backing up really fast and trying to ram me into a fence. I was able to calm him down enough to dismount and I decided that I wouldn't try to ride him again until I had a trainer come out. So a few days ago a trainer came out and we worked with him and established that it would be safe to ride him since she would be right there. He was a perfect angel (of course). Yesterday he was in a really sweet mood and I thought "ok. I can do this." and I took my time tacking him up and he was really calm the whole time. I got on him and he immediately moved into a trot. I was able to slow him down for a few seconds but then it's like he turned into a totally different horse. He started cantering and was headed straight towards the barn. I knew I was going to fall at some point and I decided it would be better to just fall onto the ground rather than waiting for the roof of the barn to force me off. I broke my fall with my arm, and I'm really lucky that my head didn't hit the ground at all. However, my leg hit really hard and I'm pretty sure Wildfire stepped on it. I don't remember a whole lot other than it was really scary and it really hurt. My leg was killing me but I got up because I was worried Wildfire might have hurt himself. He was walking kind of funny for a few minutes, but then he seemed okay so I just groomed him and turned him out so he could rest. After that I went to the ER and it turns out I frayed the muscle in my calf, and i've got some lovely bruises.
I'm not supposed to be walking around but I'm still going to go see Wildfire today to make sure he's okay and to let him know that i'm not mad.
Even though I know I still love him, I'm having a really hard time with all this. It's just so discouraging to work so hard with him and think you're making progress and then something like this happens. Especially since I don't know why he's doing it. He was fine when the trainer was standing there, and I didn't do anything different yesterday. Even if I can't ride him, I still love being around him. I'm just confused and frustrated and I'm actually kind of scared of him now. The fall was really painful, but it could have been sooooo much worse. And thinking about that scares me. When we (my mom and I) were driving home last night, my anxiety was really bad because every time we turned a corner or went from a red light to a green light I kept feeling like I was on Wildfire and he was taking off. And I had nightmares last night about the whole thing. I feel really silly that I'm letting it affect me this much. It was just a fall. But it was my first fall.

Do you guys have any advice?
Lucky89 is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 9 Old 11-28-2010, 10:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 163
• Horses: 1
I am so sorry, it really is scary when you have a bad fall. I'm a lot older than you and a few years ago my Arab bucked as I was leaning down to put my foot in the stirrup and I landed on the saddle horn, he bucked at the same instant I landed and that time I came off. I did get right back on but for a very brief time. I can tell you, I'm terrified of horses bucking me off (I had two other Arabs buck me off when I was a teen, same horse. Sprained an ankle and hurt my back pretty severely, which bothers me to this day).
For me, I usually am pretty nervous of something happening, but I stay extremely calm and pray a lot. Once I'm on I start relaxing however I'm always alert and paying attention to the horses movements.
It will come, just take your time. Maybe you can work him in a small area a round pen or an arena. Wear a helmet and work with him on a one rein stop, that could save you someday if you both know how to do it. And maybe learn how to do a quick dismount in such situations. I wouldn't be taking him out on trails or an open area anytime soon.
Good luck and I hope you heal fast (both mentally and physically).

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

JennKzoo is offline  
post #3 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 04:07 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Posts: 4,847
• Horses: 1
Horses are dangerous animals - lots of people get them and forget this so in a way its good you had a fall early on that didn't hurt you. Now you know not to be irresponsible or muck around too much.

Its sort of a rule in the horse world that if you fall of you get back on right away. I find if I fall off and get back on I'll be fine the next time I ride, if I fall and don't get back on then my confidence takes a dive. If you're badly hurt its not a good idea to get straight back on, but in the future remember to get back on if you can.

There is no quick fix to getting your confidence back. It takes time - and it does come back.

Often horses test new owners, which is what Wildfire is probably doing to you. Ride him in an enclosed area for now, and always wear a helmet. Take lessons with him as often as possible and do not go out alone. Slowly your confidence will improve, as will your control over him.
Saskia is offline  
post #4 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Minnesota, USA
Posts: 2,034
• Horses: 3
Im glad to hear you didn’t get too seriously hurt and while muscles and bruises will heal it will take some time to get the confidence back. At one time or another it seems like everyone who has ridden a lot will fall off- I have been riding since before I was born (my mom rode while she was pregnant with me) and I will still find myself eating dirt from time to time. Horses can be unpredictable and even the most laid back dead headed ones will throw in a “naughty” moment which will catch the best of riders off guard.

Like mentioned above I think it would be a good thing to work your horse in an enclosed area and with another knowledgeable horse person for awhile. By unsaddling him and turning him back out after you had your spill your horse may find himself trying to run away with you again since for him running and acting crazy = pasture time. Try having someone work with you for a one reined stop. Basically when he takes off, you can crack his head over to stop him. Then I would get off and lounge him and make it much harder work on the ground then in the saddle… over time he will discover that it is easier to behave when under saddle then having to lounge around when he tries being naughty.

I hope everything works out but most importantly stay safe!

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.
- Paul "Bear" Bryant (Former college football coach)
Angel_Leaguer is offline  
post #5 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 10:41 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 22,213
• Horses: 7
It sounds like he is barn sour. You will want to do alot of very basic ground work in an enclosed space. A round pen would even work fine. Some horses are jerks when you ride them in their pasture so I would stay out of that. If you don't have a confined space then stay near the barn and do small circles and serpentines. Do tons of downward transitions. walk then trot then halt then walk then halt etc. Keep his attention the entire time you are on him. No looky looky.

When you rode him before was it on trail? And if so, was it with other horses?

Don't hit the trails yet. I know the ring work is boring but this is going to be important for you if you and this horse are going to get along.

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
farmpony84 is offline  
post #6 of 9 Old 11-29-2010, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: In a land far far away, or so I wish.
Posts: 12,825
• Horses: 0
To add to what Farmpony said, I would suggest you consider having the trainer out regularly and take frequent lessons. This will get you on the right track.

It sounds like Wildfire knows you are a novice and has the ability to easily take advantage of you.
Alwaysbehind is offline  
post #7 of 9 Old 11-30-2010, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Loudoun County, VA
Posts: 655
• Horses: 3
I'm sorry to hear that you got hurt. Could you clarify for me - did you purposely jump off the horse? If you feel like he's out of control again, don't bail off him, you will just teach him that if he's bad, you will get off of him. If he takes off, try a one rein stop, or turn him into a fence.

Reading this while remembering your other thread, I think that you may be being too gentle with this horse. You think you are being sweet to him, but he's thinking of you as a huge pushover. He knows you'll let him get away with murder. I'm guessing that he behaved for the trainer because she made him behave, and wasn't afraid to get mean.

I think what you need to do is step it up and be a lot more assertive to get what you want. Ask, then tell, then demand. Eventually he'll start listening by just asking without the demanding. You will have to get mean. But the sooner you get mean with him, the sooner you can be out there enjoying your rides.

I wish you all the best with your horse. I really hope you guys will be out there having fun soon. Just remember: don't be passive! Make him respect you!
ptvintage is offline  
post #8 of 9 Old 11-30-2010, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 163
• Horses: 1
Lucky, everyone is giving great advice. I just wanted to give you an example. Yesterday I rode my Morgan, he has not had a lot done in a year, I took him behind the pasture and he continued to spin around and try to go back. I'll be honest I was terrified that he would buck or bolt on me and I'd go flying. But, I just took him in small circles each time and then he had to keep walking down the trail till I said he could turn around. After a half dozen times of going back and forth I was very comfortable with him and not nervous and he realized I meant business and decided it was to his advantage to just do what I said and all would be good :).
This was a great exercise for both of us and was an awesome confidence builder.
Don't know if this helps but I thought I'd share with you that when you demand you are the boss and that you mean business they will decide to give in.
Oh I should add, I've only had him for a month and this was the 5th ride I've had on him.

When you give a personal lesson in meanness to a critter or to a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.

JennKzoo is offline  
post #9 of 9 Old 12-02-2010, 08:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: In a land far far away, or so I wish.
Posts: 12,825
• Horses: 0
Lucky has not been around in a couple of days, I hope she did not get hurt.
Alwaysbehind is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Overcoming Fear of Sound/Indoor FreeNFoxy Horse Training 3 06-13-2010 05:53 PM
Post Traumatic Fall Disorder - fear and riding xxBarry Godden Horse Articles 7 03-14-2010 05:21 AM
Fear after fall... help! woof99 Horse Riding 20 11-27-2009 06:39 PM
Overcoming Fear RazberriRider Horse Training 27 03-04-2008 01:23 PM
Overcoming FEAR Vidaloco Horse Talk 15 11-14-2007 02:29 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome