Stop anticipating a problem? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-24-2011, 11:38 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Hey My Little Hunter, how did the desensitizing session go?

I have some suggestions in addition to the good ones that were already made. These come from sports psychology. It's human nature to focus on the bad things that might happen, but as you've found out, that tends to snowball. So make an effort to focus on the positives as much as the negatives. You've had this horse for 11 years and this is the only time this has happened? Plus, the circumstances were terrible. It's no wonder your poor horse spooked. But it hasn't happened again. Every time you have a good ride, make a point of going over it in your mind right afterward and think about the things that worked well.

If you're worried before you even get on your horse, do this: "He might spook today, it's windy. THEREFORE I'll either lunge him first so I can tell how flighty he might be, or ride less aggressively than I usually do, or really focus on keeping my body position perfect and breathing well, or if I might just do groundwork today." Then remind yourself, "But probably everything will be fine."

This might sound weird, but do you jump at all? My instructor pointed out that jumping has some of the same motions or issues that you can use to stay on a spooky horse. And finally--my standard advice to everybody for everything--lunge lessons will help you improve your seat. I know you might not have all these options in your area, but if you have any of them, you could think about it. Good luck!
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post #12 of 19 Old 12-25-2011, 09:29 AM
QOS
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I took a really nasty spill 3 years ago after not riding for 26 years. I was trying a horse to buy. Years ago I was a very confident rider - I still bought a horse after the spill but have spent the last three years getting my confidence back. My riding skills went to pot after the spill because I was nervous.

I have a very nice horse who is not spooky but he can also be a little bit of a pill. We just logged 501 miles as of yesterday for 2011. Lots of rides this year, concentrating on my skills and confidence. My barn buddies have helped me with my posture, training, etc which has helped.

Still, I was riding yesterday and I am always a little nervous to start out. Biscuit will refuse to go forward if the other horses aren't right by him sometimes (not all the time) and will back up no matter what cues I am giving him. This makes me nervous that he would bolt and the horse has NEVER bolted with anyone. The horse that threw me 3 years ago bolted, bucking like an idiot and my old butt came off so I still have the fear of a horse bolting with me.

Miles and miles have helped me but not totally erased it. Don't know if it ever will but the progress I have made is wonderful. My barn buddy said to sing while riding - she said it makes you breath and is a connection to the horse. They hear your voice (it is amazing that Biscuit doesn't turn into Mr. Ed and say "if you will shut up with that warbling I will NEVER misbehave") and seem to calm down and really listen to me. Biscuit has had to hear loads of Christmas songs lately and some Three Dog Night songs! Give it a try - sing your favorite songs softly to calm yourself and your horse.

Good luck and I am so sorry you were hurt. Gaaaa...I remember how bad that feels!!

Enjoying my Garmin and mapping trails
Visit my trail riding blog at
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post #13 of 19 Old 12-26-2011, 10:43 PM
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Originally Posted by QOS View Post
I took a really nasty spill 3 years ago after not riding for 26 years. I was trying a horse to buy. Years ago I was a very confident rider - I still bought a horse after the spill but have spent the last three years getting my confidence back. My riding skills went to pot after the spill because I was nervous.

I have a very nice horse who is not spooky but he can also be a little bit of a pill. We just logged 501 miles as of yesterday for 2011. Lots of rides this year, concentrating on my skills and confidence. My barn buddies have helped me with my posture, training, etc which has helped.

Still, I was riding yesterday and I am always a little nervous to start out. Biscuit will refuse to go forward if the other horses aren't right by him sometimes (not all the time) and will back up no matter what cues I am giving him. This makes me nervous that he would bolt and the horse has NEVER bolted with anyone. The horse that threw me 3 years ago bolted, bucking like an idiot and my old butt came off so I still have the fear of a horse bolting with me.

Miles and miles have helped me but not totally erased it. Don't know if it ever will but the progress I have made is wonderful. My barn buddy said to sing while riding - she said it makes you breath and is a connection to the horse. They hear your voice (it is amazing that Biscuit doesn't turn into Mr. Ed and say "if you will shut up with that warbling I will NEVER misbehave") and seem to calm down and really listen to me. Biscuit has had to hear loads of Christmas songs lately and some Three Dog Night songs! Give it a try - sing your favorite songs softly to calm yourself and your horse.

Good luck and I am so sorry you were hurt. Gaaaa...I remember how bad that feels!!
I have never heard that before ....but it seems like a brilliant idea! I might try that next time I am riding.

My advice would be to just keep riding! The more we ride the more confident we get ( normally).

Pocket - 8 yr old, 15.1hh Thoroughbred Mare
~You know you're a horse person when you say 'whoa' to your dog~
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post #14 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 05:15 PM
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It has worked for me and my riding buddy. We sing as we go, which is hilarious because I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. I sound like a dying cow in a wind storm!
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-27-2011, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by QOS View Post
It has worked for me and my riding buddy. We sing as we go, which is hilarious because I couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. I sound like a dying cow in a wind storm!
Haha that makes two of us then

Pocket - 8 yr old, 15.1hh Thoroughbred Mare
~You know you're a horse person when you say 'whoa' to your dog~
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post #16 of 19 Old 12-28-2011, 09:14 AM
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I take my phone with me every time I ride and I found the other day that it was helpful to set my music playing and sing along! I looked and sounded like a complete idiot but hey I had fun.
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-28-2011, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Location: New York
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The desensitizing went really well. My friends threw stuff at me, cantered their horses at Dallas, shook tarps. We only had one minor melt down and then it all went good. We did more yesterday and Dallas didn't spook once. Amazing how much better he does when I'm not a nervous wreck. I'm getting back to not being afraid and not taking any of his crap. Dallas is an awesome horse but if he thinks he can get away with something he'll try it.

@Rule of Reason: I've owned Dallas 6 years, been riding for 12 years. I've been trying to focus a lot more on the good rides. So thank you for more good advice. ^^ And I do jump. Dallas and I have most of our titles in Hunters. It was really a bad day to ride and I was nervous, and yeah things just went bad. I was stuck on how bad it hurt hitting the ground for a long time. I've fallen off my fair share, but that one was very painful because it was on my back.

<3 Dallas, Dakota, and Shaymus <3
RIP Shaymus 8/16/13
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post #18 of 19 Old 12-28-2011, 10:33 PM
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Hey, I broke my back in a riding accident, I know what it's like. Broke my nose in another one (which also included spraining both wrists and breaking my glasses, think MAJOR FACE PLANT). I'm also convinced I broke my tailbone once long ago.

I'm still nervous before just about every jump, and I only jump 2'3" (but then, I'm really old). But I tested myself a couple of years ago by not allowing myself to jump at all for at least 2 months. I only allowed myself to do dressage. One day I found myself sneaking into the arena when nobody was there just so I could jump a little. Huh, turns out I really, really wanted to jump. I remind myself of that fairly often when my nerves start acting up. "Remember, you WANT to do this." Oh yeah, that's right. Heh.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-29-2011, 07:54 PM
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I have the same problem to an extent... Think panic attacks by just sitting on a horse. Or throwing up because you know you have to ride that morning. Or having to hook your arm around the horn because you're so dizzy that up and down have switched and your riding friends are scrambling to keep you from face planting the ground.

Oh, this was all made so much better by the incident in which I was hooked onto a fence by my foot, dragged off my bolting horse and stuck in the stirrup. Getting close to fences still gives me jitters.

What I did is ride every day. Push your comfort zone every couple of days. I was so afraid of falling that it effected the aspects of my riding... So I mounted and dismounted my patient boy, over and over and over until I had a feel for the distance... And realized its not that far. Glad you're working through it- it'd be easier to quit the horse world altogether, and some days I sit and wonder about it, moreso now that we've hit a rough patch lately. But where would the fun be in that? Its like eating one bite of a brownie and being told the rest of it is waiting.

Too bad I'm too attached to my **** horse. Then again, he might be dog food if he steals my coffee one more time!

Step one: Mount horse. Step two: Stay mounted.
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