First, a little about me. I'm 38 years old and -just- starting formal horseback training. I've always loved horses and wanted to learn how to ride properly. I had a few friends back in school that had horses but my experiences with them were infrequent to say the least. As well, it was more of a " get on and go" type thing instead of learning how to ride properly. Eventually I would like to do competition in equitation and possibly reining...but that's a long ways off.
I'm in my fourth month of training with two very good trainers who have both competed on a national level and I feel very confident in their abilities. I do lessons every week and sometimes twice a week. We've been moving along at a good rate in my training but about a month ago, I noticed that the horse (Appaloosa mare) I have been training on was starting to spook a great deal during my training times. One time it was a barking dog...another time, a chicken strayed into the arena. The horse itself has been a training horse for a long time but she spooked so much that I started getting used to her doing it and just learned to deal with it.
That was until yesterday. I was warming her up in the arena and I noticed the first lap around, she tensed and sidestepped a bit on the far side of the arena. I took note but didn't think much of it because I have just learned to deal with the spookiness. Second time around, different story. She sidestepped violently, which got my attention. She then reared up on her back legs, which really got my attention. As beginner, I did the exact opposite of what I was supposed to do. I gently pulled back on the reins and gave her a sharp 'whoa', in the hopes of calming her down.....which sent her into and more of a panic. At that point, I realized something bad was going to happen and began my attempt to emergency dismount. I got my feet out of the stirups and had begun my motion when she reared up again and we both went over backwards. I landed on my side (yes I had a helmet on!) and my helmet hit the ground. I managed to roll to get out of the way of the falling horse. All in all...a horrible experience for me and the horse. I went to the hospital today and was diagnosed with a sprained forefoot (on crutches for a week) and a mild concussion that certainly would have been worse without the helmet.
Here's my issue: I did what I felt I needed to to recover in the short term. I got back on her and finished out the drill practice, even though she was still extremely edgy and skittish. I was scared to death the whollllllle time...but I did it.
Found out later after training that the horse I was on is a horse that is shared between people to do their own personal riding on and that one of the people had been using a bridle that was very ill fitting and hurt the horse when she rode with it...and had been using spurs on her. Obviously, I can see now -why- the horse was having issues. I trust the trainers to deal with -that- issue now that we know about it...but I have a far deeper problem.
Yes I got back on and finished the practice session...but I feel like I've lost my confidence a bit. I was progressing well and this accident has made me feel like I don't belong in the saddle. How can I learn to trust a horse again? I realize that something I did caused the accident and I accept responsibility ( and if you are wondering, the horse is fine )...but I suppose I'm afraid that there is something about me that is dangerous for the horses and that I'm going to get them hurt. I hope someone can understand what I'm trying to say because I know it's not coming out right.
I can't say enough about my trainers...who told me over and over that it wasn't my fault and tried to keep me in the proper state of mind...but it -was- my fault because I did something that endangered the horse further.
I'm not sure if it was a good or bad thing that my first major spill happened so early in my training...but I really want to put it past me and move on. Any advice?