Keep riding or get out of horses? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 08:47 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
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I think Phantomcolt has great advice. I had a nasty accident this past summer involving another boarder's mare. She asked my friend and I to help her out with saddling and riding her mare for the first time. We saddled her up, got her in the round pen, tried to lunge her a bit (she had absolutely no clue what we were asking), even weighted the stirrups and everything was great...until I got into the saddle. My butt wasn't even in the saddle and she rodeo bucked me off over her right shoulder. Ended up with a severely sprained ankle and a week in a splint, then two weeks in a walking cast. When I was all healed up and cleared to ride, I found that I was terrified to get on my horse. Granted, I have a greenbroke two-year-old, but still. I would have panic attacks thinking about mounting up. I found excuses to avoid riding. Everyone told me to just "get over it and ride [my] ****ed horse," but it wasn't that easy. Finally, it took almost two months of going out almost every day and playing with him (similar to what Phantomcolt suggested), and the help of this forum, for me to finally get on my horse and ride without absolutely freaking out every time he twitched. I had to make a game of it to psyche myself out because I was over-thinking it. I pulled on a pair of big, white, satin granny panties (my literal big girl panties) over my riding pants and had my friend take pics. All of a sudden, I could ride again and wasn't so focused on everything that could go wrong.

So, I would honestly do as Phantomcolt suggested. I think if you get out of horses right now, with this unresolved matter hanging over your head, you'll regret it for a long time.

Just my honest opinion, though.
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post #12 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2011
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I think we've all probably been there at one time or another Bella. Good for you for even trying. Don't rush it, if you aren't ready & feel shaky about it, you're mare won't be ready either. If you don't have any outside help, I'd go about it as Phantom suggested also. Baby steps, each one will get you a bit closer to the end goal.

My suggestion would be finding a trainer sympathetic to your fears who would be willing to ride your mare while putting you on an old faithful type of mount.
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post #13 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 09:01 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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I keep thinking it was 4 years ago, but I looked it up and it was 3 years ago Jan 24th that I had a mild accident. From my email to a friend:
Remember my saying Thursday I hadn't come off a horse before? First time for everything.

I was working with Mia on the street, and our across the street neighbor decided to also work on his dune buggy engine. Meanwhile Lilly was calling out, so I decided it was time for a strategic retreat to the corral. However, I should have done a strategic dismount first!

As we turned into the drive, my neighbor gunned the engine and Mia bolted. The gate was closed so she couldn't get in, but she was still terrified. I had already figured out I needed to get off ASAP, but there weren't many opportunities. At the gate, she panicked even more, reared and started spinning around. I pretty much knew her next step would be to bolt across the rocks, so I tried to dismount.

Dismounting a rearing horse is a bit more awkward than I would have anticipated. She spun out from beneath me and I landed on my back. I did manage to twist and avoid smacking my baseball cap clad head against the rocks...did I mention I want to go buy a helmet?

Whatever her faults, Mia is still a lady. She bolted across the rocks, but jumped over me first. She somehow made it to the top, and back across and into the drive. I pulled my butt off the ground and called to her. She raced towards me, and I got out of the way. Then she quieted enough for me to grab her reins and lead her back to Lilly, who spent the whole time squealing like a stuck pig. Thanks, Lilly!

I'll try a ride on Mia in a few hours if my back loosens up. If not, then tomorrow. I think Mia is OK, but I'm too sore right now to go check her hooves.

Motrin is my friend.
As it turned out, I landed back first on a small rock. Sounds pretty innocent, but in Feb 2012, I just walked across the kitchen with pain in my hip. It looks like I've got a sore that will be with me for life. Oh - and it was a week before I could crawl back on a horse, and then I needed help. I also needed help just getting off 10 minutes later...

I eventually rode Mia again...quite a bit, in fact. Last spring, she got so spun up that I spent two hours trying to get her to stop...and jumped off in the end. Since Nov, she has been in training.

She can be a wonderful horse at times, but the only reason I haven't sold her is that no one wants her. She isn't safe for someone who isn't really good, and no one who is really good wants to bother with her. I have ridden her a couple of times recently...

So what does this add up to?

It is possible to get your confidence back in a horse, or riding in general, but only you can decide if you want to do so. Because the hard truth is that it COULD happen again. Or worse. Every time we get on a horse, we accept risk - more risk than we often care to think about.

The friend I emailed the above message has regained consciousness in the desert with a broken pelvis & ribs, no phone and quite a ways to crawl back to a road. If that happened to me, it would be the last time I rode a horse. I like horses, but they are not my life. She is still riding, and in fact is the one working with Mia.

Not me. A severe injury like that would make me quit! But my injury that time was one I didn't bother going to the hospital for - no idea it was going to cause me stabbing pain many times/day for 6 months, and nagging pain for years.

There are other things we can do. I'm convinced an Australian stock saddle with grab strap is what I want to be in when things go to hell on a horse. A bucking strap on a western saddle can improve the odds. Sometimes a change of horse can help. But the truth remains that it CAN happen again. I wouldn't decide now, but it won't mean you are a wimp if you decide to call it quits later on. That is a perfectly understandable and honorable choice to make - if you make it.

Give it a bit more time. See if you react the same on a different horse. Then decide what is best for you and your family.

BTW - after my injury, my WIFE gave up riding. It was only in December that she rode a horse a couple of times. Friday, she took a lesson on Trooper from the lady I emailed. Trooper was a perfect gentleman, and she seems to be slowly getting more comfortable. She asked him for a trot, and the gelding that loves to canter just did a slow jog...and when she settled back in the saddle, he slowed without any other cue. Good Trooper!

We also picked up a BLM mustang who is only 13 hands tall. I've been riding him by himself out in the desert, and he is doing great. My wife finds him much less intimidating. He may become the small, level-headed horse that gives people confidence - the 10" difference in height, plus a different attitude, makes him MUCH less intimidating than Mia.

Good luck and best wishes to you no matter what you decide.
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post #14 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Utah
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Thanks for the support everyone. I am going to try to find someone with experience giving lessons to a person with fear issues. See if I can build some confidence before trying to get back on my mare.
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post #15 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:17 PM
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Location: Colorado
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My daughter was nearly killed when she was ten when she fell of her trotting pony and hit a gate face first, her helmet didn't help... after a broken jaw, hip, and neck muscle contraction that required 6 months of physical therapy, I wasn't surprised she was no longer interested in riding...

Because our family was very involved in the horse activities, I got her a miniature mare and as Katie got stronger, she started working on getting her ready for fair, showing her in showmanship, halter, and in hand trail and jumping... she really enjoyed the time with her little mare, but she never enjoyed riding from that accident on. She was just too nervous to be a safe and effective rider, despite having well broke horses to choose from.... and since horses are supposed to be fun, I didn't push.

I guess what I am saying is there are ways to enjoy horses without riding....
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post #16 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:25 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Little Elm, Texas
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When middle age snuck up on me, I realized I was nervous about riding. As a kid and teenager, I'd been thrown off or fallen off multiple times. Back then, it was much easier to just get back on and try again. When you're older, I think a lot of people think twice about putting themselves back up there. Unless you've always been a confident rider and feel that you understand the nature of horses.

I hope you're able to get back up there!
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post #17 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:29 PM
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Any chance you can ride another horse, while someone else rides your mare? Maybe for a month or so. That way, there are no negative memories attached to the 'temporary' horse, and your mare is getting worked too. The mare doesn't remember why you are scared, try to keep that in mind. Once you've had a few good rides on another horse, you might find the transition back to your own horse, to be much smoother.

~Horse & Hound Artistry~.

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post #18 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:34 PM
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It's good that you are going to give it some time and also look for guidance from someone who's been there. I would assume that most trainers have :)

As for the hubby that doesn't get it -- there are very few that do. Actually, most people have difficulty empathizing (sp?) with a situation that they haven't been through themselves. You can try to tell him that just because he feels differently, that's not going to change YOUR psychology so if he can't be supportive tell him it's better that he doesn't say anything at all. But, ya... good luck with that. Sorry that your man isn't helping matters.
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post #19 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Utah
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Originally Posted by Kayty View Post
Any chance you can ride another horse, while someone else rides your mare? Maybe for a month or so. That way, there are no negative memories attached to the 'temporary' horse, and your mare is getting worked too. The mare doesn't remember why you are scared, try to keep that in mind. Once you've had a few good rides on another horse, you might find the transition back to your own horse, to be much smoother.
I can ride my husbands gelding. He has been a good ride for me in the past. I might try to ride him next time. He has lots of attitude on the ground but is pretty gentle under saddle. I probably should have got on him today instead of Bella.

I really enjoy this forum. Everyone is terrific. Thanks for listening to me wine.
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post #20 of 36 Old 02-04-2012, 10:46 PM
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Give that a go then :)

I think most of us have been in a similar situation. I was nearly killed off a 5 year old tb a few years ago, he was seemingly dead quiet, I took him out to a friend's arena, and he flipped out something shocking when he saw another horse across the paddock. Went absolutely mad, put his head between his knees and bucked, and bucked, and bucked until he threw himself into the gate, spun, fell on top of me, kicked me on the way back up and dragged me nearly halfway across the arena. I thought I'd broken my back, I couldn't feel my legs, couldn't move them at all.
Ended up tearing a bunch of muscles from my calves all the way up my back to my neck, and tore ligaments and some tendons in my groin. I still have problems there from time to time.

It took me a month to be able to walk semi-normally again, and I tried riding straight away. As soon as I got on that mare, I would freeze up, not be able to focus and ended up too nervous on her to make it worth riding. It took me nearly a year to get my confidence back riding in general, and I spent that year riding bombproof school horses.
I did get back to riding breakers, off the trackers and competing again - it just takes time :)

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