the right barn and instructor make a difference
Just wanted to share my experience. I used to ride when I was a kid, hunter/jumper style with no problems. Showed and everything. I won ribbons, wasn't afraid of anything. Then after I graduated high school I moved to florida and got out of the riding thing. Now I'm back into it. I started taking lessons at a show barn with a well known instructor/trainer. I liked it at first but the more I rode there, the more I started to shut down. I started being terrified of anything new she asked me to do. I would about have an anxiety attack watching other riders do things that I was afraid one day she would have ME do. I was about to give up riding again because it just wasn't fun anymore. Then my friend moved her horse to a barn that was a little closer and less expensive for lessons. I went out there and they were really nice. Definitely smaller barn and more 'family oriented' type people. The guy that owned the place was really nice and told me that as long as I took one lesson a week, I could ride any of his horses for free on other days. So having been riding there for about 6 months or so I have to say I feel AMAZING. My new instructor used to say that I was stiff as a board when I rode, that she thought I was going to pass out at times because it looked like I wasn't breathing. Now she says I've finally loosened up and look more relaxed and natural. When the horse doesn't do exactly what I want, I can actually DEAL with it now rather than shut down and take the easy way out. For example, today I was supposed to do a line of two jumps. Trot in and canter 5 strides to the next one. After the first jump I could feel the horse slowing down going to the second one. I tried adding leg and 'kissing' to her but still she came to a dead stop in front of the other one. Rather than getting flustered and turning around and starting over, more tense because I had lost my confidence going to the second one, I just gave her a big kick and over the jump we went. Yes from a stand still and no it wasn't pretty. I lost a stirrup and my grip on the reigns, but we went over and continued on. My instructor applauded and said what a great job I did. Anyway, I'm happy and I ENJOY riding again!