I used to be a hunter/jumper trainer, and as a life-long serious equestrian, I have suffered a few nasty injuries among the innumerable falls that probably didn't help either. The result of this -- and possibly other things too -- is that I now am quite fragile. I've been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, myofacial pain syndrome, hypertonia, and arthritis, along with the re-emergence of a tail-bone pain issue that probably is the result of breaking the dang thing in an insane bucking incident fifteen years ago. I now get hurt REALLY easily...I still don't fall off easily, but I don't need to fall off to get hurt nowadays. I feel like I am made of glass, and I have also ended up kind of twisted and rotated in the pelvis, putting my balance off.
None of this makes for confidence in the saddle, and my horses are not exactly "old reliable". They are awesome and fun, but you need to be a RIDER, not some old crippled thing all stiff and sore, to do well with them. I have pretty much given up riding my morgan, who at 18 is still amazing and perfect about 98% of the time -- but it's that 2% of the time that will get me. Last time he had one of his "airs above the ground" moments, I tore something on the inside of my pelvis and could barely walk for months, even though I stayed on. So, he's kind of retired!
My other horse is a spunky young TWH, only 14hh so not very scary. He's the one I still get on when I'm feeling up to it. He can get excited and a bit full of himself at times, but I figure that even if I do fall off, the ground is pretty close!
My biggest problem is that we don't have an arena where we live now, so I can't even get any practice in in a safe, controlled environment. I have friends with arenas, but our road is horrific to trailer on (up and down and TWISTY), and I just can't do that to my horse with any regularity or he starts not wanting to get in the trailer, and I can't blame him at all.
I'm hoping that maybe this Fall, when the weather cools off enough to be outside, I might keep him at a friend's place for a few weeks and try to get to feel a little better in the saddle. I did get on him the other day for a little ride, just around in the 1.3 acre paddock the horses live in. We had a break in the heat wave, and I was feeling inspired. What inspired me? This article about an amazing young woman, who had A LOT MORE to deal with than me, and wanted nothing more than to ride and "go fast" on a horse. Here is the link: Riding Magazine
If you don't cry after reading it, you are tougher than me!
Anyway, I am planning to ride in the paddock if I can't get anywhere else, even if there is only good enough ground to walk and trot a few steps here and there. I will then hope to feel brave enough to head out on the trails.
As for those of you who are afraid of riding on asphalt, is this because you fear getting thrown or fear your horses slipping? If the latter, try keeping your horses barefoot if they are not, as barefoot horses slip a whole lot less in general, and a ton less on asphalt. Booted horses (Renegades are my fave boots) have mad grip!