I just wanted to let anyone (especially newbies, like me) know how valuable working with a trainer can be.
After being injured by two horses that needed major retraining, I bit the bullet and paid some decent money for a well trained, well broke, older horse to be my first horse. (something I should have done to begin with...would have saved me a lot of pain and medical bills)
I rode Izzy two different times at the owner's farm before I bought her. I was recovering from broken ribs from being thrown a week before. I was on narcotic painkillers and VERY RELAXED. We had two very good trail rides...on one, we encountered a fox hunt club as they came flying by. Izzy didnt flinch. I knew she was the horse for me.
Once I bought her and had her settled in at the place I board, I was no longer on the painkillers. As soon as I sat in the saddle, I had visions of being thrown off the last horse I had ridden. My confidence was completely gone. But I thought it was something I could work through on my own.
Izzy became very barn sour. In addition, any time she showed hesitation or refused to do something I asked to do, I got off of her because I was afraid she would buck. I had never seen her buck...wasn't even sure she had it in her. But I was scared.
When it got to the point that I could not even mount her, because she would pin her ears and try to bite me, I started to believe that I bought a horse that I would never be able to ride.
I decided I couldn't let that happen. I spoke to one of the trainers at the barn and asked for help. We spent the entire first lesson working on mounting. The trainer attempted to mount her first and Izzy actually kicked. I then watched her patiently and firmly work with Izzy until she was able to mount her without any pinned ears or moving feet. She warned me that Izzy was going to test me the same way...and she did. But I kept with it and within an hour, my mare stood patiently while I mounted from the ground or a block.
It was then that I had an epiphany. My horse wasn't any different than she had been when I had ridden her before. I was. I had no fear when I was on the pain pills. I was a shaking, nervous mess now. It was either get back on pain pills. (never a good idea) or continue with lessons until my confidence came back.
I am very proud to say that within a month of taking lessons, I am now able to ride my incredible horse without any fear. We went on our first solo trail ride yesterday and I have even ridden her bareback. I have developed a wonderful relationship with my horse. She has tested me and I handled it. I have seen what her horsey temper tantrums consist of, and it was nothing I couldn't deal with and work through. Talk about building confidence.
If someone had told me a month ago that I would have my confidence back this soon and be riding the way I am, I wouldn't have believed it.
I had my last lesson tonight. The trainer feels she has taken me to a point that I can continue on my own. If I feel the need for a refresher, she will be there for me but she has accomplished what I asked her to do for me. I have my confidence back.
The reason I wrote this long post is I want others to know that when people suggest you work with a trainer or riding instructor, it really is the best thing you can do. There has been many posts lately about being scared or nervous and I can say that I was in the exact same place....and I can't believe what a great place I am in now. Lessons are invaluable!!!