Need advice....
 
 

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Need advice....

This is a discussion on Need advice.... within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

     
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        11-27-2009, 02:18 PM
      #1
    Foal
    Unhappy Need advice....

    Recently I have been feeling a little down, for various reasons which i'm sure are mostly stress related. One of my sources of stress is the horses I care for. I've been riding since I was 9, for many years at riding schools, where I was quite confident and was always praised for my good posture and how connected I looked with the ponies I rode. After my riding school closed, I started working at a Manor's stables, caring on my own for 5 shetland ponies, 3 shire horses, an arab, a thoroughbred and a large pony. They live outdoors as a herd, and I am the only person who rides them, usually the large pony every weekend, and occasionally I bring everyone in for a groom or whatever else they need when I have the time. Naturally, they all have behavioural problems because of the lack of handling, riding and training they recieve, and this has slowly but surely edged away my confidence.

    I have been working there for 2-3 years, and I now find myself thinking I am a poor rider, have bad posture and am scared or riding and handling the horses. Every week I dread the weekend, thinking 'how are they going to hurt me this time' or, 'what will the owner make me do this time?'. The owner is a crazy 70-year-old man, who lives in the manor house and has no fear whatsoever, and I panic everytime we go riding together because he finds it 'exiting' to do dangerous things. I can vaguely remember going for my first gallop with him, and finding it exhilirating, but now I too scared to let my pony or horse gallop full speed.

    Has anyone had similar problems or fears? If so, what helped you let go of that fear and put your faith in the horse again? I cannot simply stop riding, because there would be no one to take care of the horses if I left, and it would look quite bad for my veterinary medicine application.

    Sorry this is really long-winded...
         
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        11-27-2009, 02:44 PM
      #2
    Green Broke
    Well, yes.

    Example -- Summer of 2008. I had been riding for a year and a half, And I was jumping 2'6 - canter, doing advanced stuff. Weelllll - I was helping at a Beginer's camp, and the mare I was on took off on me. I couldn't stop her - after that I didn't canter (voluntarily) for a year. Heck, I didn't even ride.

    Now, in April, we got 2 ponies, and 2 horses. I started riding the smallest pony (Savannah) and every ride - she would bolt, rear up, and buck. She screwed up my back by throwing me into a tree. She taught me a lot. I now am re-training her.

    My other pony - he spooks 24/7, very jumpy. Prince and I started ring work, and brought up my confidence 100%. I now gallop/jump/canter him every time we ride!

    I think all you need is to take a day off, pick a horse/pony you trust most, and start lunging and playing game with it. Then ride in the ring, and slowly go out on trails. I think that'll help you.
         
        11-27-2009, 09:35 PM
      #3
    Weanling
    ^^^ Agreed..
    No one is asking you to stop riding to bring up your confidence but maybe just take a step back, take a breath and think... you are the only one making you do the things that make you panic. Insted of going for a ride why not try lunging that pony/horse like ilovemyphillip said. Try bonding all over again and you will be suprised how quickly your confidence soars.
         
        11-29-2009, 01:19 PM
      #4
    Banned
    I have self-doubts all of the time. I own an 11 y/o OTTB, but he was racing for nine years of his life, so he certainly knows how to go and go fast. There are some days when I just feel crappy, so I don't ride on those days. Other times I get up there, and it doesn't quite turn out like I want to. I've just now noticed about myself that when I trot, I get really tense. I make it a point to actually stop my horse, just sit on him for a minute, and shake everything out before continuing. I constantly tell myself "ITS GOING TO BE OKAY" because I frequently talk myself in to thinking that if I ever do actually get up the nerve to canter, he's going to take off on me and I'll kill myself.

    How many days a week do you go out there? Is it possible that you could visit more? Maybe take your homework out there or something? Just make sure to KEEP AT IT and BE ASSERTIVE. Since horses know when your confidence sucks, keep good positive thoughts going through your head any time you're with them. Try and remember how you were at your previous barn. Remember all of the things you did when a horse was naughty and apply it here, but make it ten times more assertive than you usually would. Stand tall, walk tall, shoulders back and with steps like you have a purpose in life. If a horse tries to get in your space, step in to theirs, wave your hands out and make yourself as physically big as possible. Since they are obviously a little wilder than most horses, the first thing you have to do is think like a horse.

    I do agree with lunging them also. Lunge for respect, don't tolerate any kind of slowing down, stoppping, turning their butts in to you....beat it into their heads that YOU control the circle.
         
        11-30-2009, 04:09 AM
      #5
    Started
    Why are you still there, may I ask?
         
        11-30-2009, 01:07 PM
      #6
    Started
    ^^ Right, If the man is crazy and the horses are dangerous, the situations making you uncomfortable then maybe its time to find a new place with horses?
    Don't feel bad, No one would like that situation.
         
        11-30-2009, 07:46 PM
      #7
    Foal
    Thanks for all the advice guys, it's really encouraging. I ride every saturday, but that particular horse I only ride once every month, sometimes even less frequently. I'm trying to get into vet school so time isn't what I have the most of, especially with the days shortening I can't go after school because it's already dark by the time I get there. I know I could improve the situation if I could ride him several times a week, but unfortunately that's not happening until summer. I've never done any lunging, all we have are rectangular fields of various sizes, none of which are ideal for lunging him I think. Not to mention that he probably hasn't been lunged since he was broken in, and he panicks whenever he's on his own. I think it's just too much for me to handle without the proper facilities or at least experience. I guess I just have to keep it slow and ride him more often, and eventually maybe i'll get the courage to let him gallop again.

    Yes, certainly any sane person would have left that place ages ago, but I don't like the idea of quitting. It's a bad habit I think.

    Keep your advice and stories coming, it's really helpful. Thanks a lot for the replies so far!!
         

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