:( I have a problem that i'm hoping someone can help me with...i love horses, I own 5. I love to work with them in the pasture;as long as I'm on the ground. I have the worst fear of riding! :( I am not experienced at riding (obviously) I had only ever been on a horse twice when I bought my neice (8 years old) her horse, after we put her in riding lessons for a year. I then bought myself a horse, a very gentle gelding. I then went riding with a friend (using her horses) she gave my niece her lessons and the horses I bought belonged to her...anyway.. while riding for the second time in my life, when coming out of the woods my horse slid on a rock and began to throw the biggest bucking fit I have ever seen. I managed to stay on her, but my knees were shaking terribly. After buying myself a horse, I explained my fear to my friend, we took my horse back to her farm (where he was raised) and I got on him; like a 6y/o I made my husband lead me around the field. When I finally got up the nerve to ride without my husband, we were on our 4th trip around the pasture when my horse spooked. This was just a jump to the right about a foot, well, he spooked right and I went left falling off of him and breaking my arm at the elbow, which I am now getting ready to go into surgery for( I broke it july 8th). This was not the horses fault, he didn't freak out, but it reaffirmed my fear of riding. I think my fear is because I worked on an ambulance for 8 years full time, and I have seen what can happen, I'm also a bit of a control freak because of my job. I know a horse has a mind of its own and ultimately I am not in control. I want to get over this fear of riding..I want to take my niece to horse camp and be able to ride with her at home. But right now the thought of getting on a horse makes me want to hyperventilate. Does anyone have any suggestions....I'm a horse lover/owner who is afraid to ride. I 'm going to take lessons, but even the thought of that terrifies me. I cannot understand this... I have loved horses and wanted one for as long as I can remember and now that I have them I'm afraid to get on them...they are pasture pets.
I had the same extreme nervousness of riding because all the horses I rode bolted off on me (probably because I was so scared I was squeezing them with my legs).
I found that the only thing that got my confidence back was going to a friends house and going riding with her. She put me on her 20+ yro, 12hh pony and we literally just walked around the paddock for 3 hours. The time went by really quickly and I started to loosen up a lot after I realised I could just ride behind my friend's horse and the pony wouldn't run away.
Also, stock or western saddles are great, because the hold you in more than an AP or dressage saddle. Just take it slowly. Just get on your horse and have a sit up there, there is no pressure to go walking or galloping around the paddock. Take big deep breaths to relax your body and when you feel better, just go for a slow old plod around the paddock. Or ask a friend to lunge you on your horse. That way he cannot run off and you can just concentrate on being calm and not have to worry about steering or anything.
Yeah, that's a tough problem...the horses can feel your nervousness too, so you might have issues even with a horse that is usually calm.
One thing you might try is finding a stable in your area that has either a disabled riding program or a vaulting program. Horses in both of these jobs are taught to be dead steady no matter what. Or you could always take up driving :)
Distracting yourself while in the saddle may help too. I used to get nervous during lessons, not from fear, just from concentrating too hard. So my instructor made me sing.
I had to pick a song for each gate, a song with the same tempo as my horse and sing along to his beat. Not only did I relax and stop micromanaging my horse, my seat improved through the extra tempo stimulus.
Walk- couldn't relax or he'd stop
Trot- abc's or twinkle twinkle little star
Canter- "head like a hole" by nine inch nails (just came to me and my friend one day at a show)
Thanks for the advice. I am so disgusted in myself..... when I first tried to ride my horse and had my little broken arm incident, I cried for 2 day's because I was dissappointed in myself and saddened by the fact that I knew I'd never get back on a horse. I am very bold in most things in my life and have little fear of anything...I ride a 2006 Harley Davidson Electra-glide (big bike) and I have no fear of that bacause I am in control. I figure my one positive thing that I have going for me is that I WANT to ride and overcome my fear. I'm giong to check into lessons and see if I can get anywhere.
Definitely sounds like some lunge lessons would do you good until you feel like you have a balanced seat. When you have a solid seat, if a horse does do a sideways jig, you'll stay on. It can be scary riding a horse. We know what can happen to us, especially you with your broken arm... OUCH!!
Since this is something you want badly, just take your time with it. Take it nice and slow. Our trainer always says "Rome wasn't built in a day." Since you already have horses and you enjoy them so much, don't worry about the fact that you can't ride them right now. See it as a goal you are working toward in your future. Don't put so much pressure on yourself.
Also, do you have a dead broke horse you can learn on? If not, get one. You need a horse that you can feel comfortable on. Of course, a horse is a horse, and things can still happen. But if you have a dead broke horse, that brings the risk factor way down.
It is hard if you are a control freak to understand that some issues can be a little out of our control but this doesnt mean it has to end in tragedy. You are still in control for the most part there are just some situations where things happen that take us by surprise. The key is learning how to deal with these things when they happen so that disaster is, for the most part, avoided.
I really agree that you would benefit from some time on a bomb proof horse. This will do a number of things for you; allow you to gain confidence in riding while not worrying about whether or not he is going to bolt, buck or carry on and allow you to get the confidence and experience needed to handle issues when they arise.
Since you have had such a bad experience, it is only natural that the next time you get on a horse you will probably be very tense and nervous. This could only make the next experience bad too. Maybe you can take the healing time as some time to reassure yourself that even though you feel out of control, you can still comfortably and confidently ride. The more you learn how to deal with situations that arise, the more you will learn to relax and enjoy your riding.
This has been longer than I planned so ill stop writing now. I really hope you can grow to enjoy riding more :) best of luck with your operation
Once again, thanks for everyone's help. I am very much hoping to get over this stupid fear I have. As I said before, I WANT TO RIDE. I want to be able to ride with my niece, that is very important to me, so I am working very hard to try to overcome this fear. I am willing to do just about anything for my neices and this is one of those things....I want to ride for her and for me. I WILL overcome this. I need time and proper instruction...that is my next step.
Everyone who responded to my initial post; I thank you for your advice and encouragement. I will keep you posted on any progress I make. I just happen to be one of those odd people who is not intimidated on the ground, even though horses are so much larger, I am intimidated on top....but I WILL FIX THIS for me and my nieces.