Hi HF, I need a little help. Yesterday I rode a new lesson horse. He is not new to lessons, but rather new to me, as I have been riding a different lesson horse until now. He is a lovely guy. But he is much bigger than my nice little lesson pony, and I'm realizing that I was and am really scared of him.
I'm trying to some really good self-talk today and instead of saying that he is a big, scary horse, say that he is a strong, reliable horse. He is a large, gentle horse. Etc.
Has anyone else dealt with fear? How have you overcome it? I feel silly being so scared when it's something I want to do so much. I'm a forty something year old woman, but feel reduced to about seven year old. I was constantly checking with my trainer - "He's not going to run, right? He's not going to run my leg into the wall, right? He moved his head, is that Ok?" And on...and on...I needed constant reassurance. It was really annoying.
We have been doing walking ant trotting, but I did ask if we could just walk yesterday, so that's all we did. Whew.
On to technical issues.
There is just so much MORE of him. His neck is so much longer -- it's a lot further from the saddle to his head than it was on the lesson pony. My trainer had me do a little two point toward the end of the lesson. I just could not make it happen, . I would try, but I'd be up for a second or two and then down again. She said my feet were a little too far forward and that was making it hard, so I would try to move them back a bit, but wasn't very successful. I'm not sure if it was mostly from fear, or more because he is a different/bigger horse and I don't quite have the feel of it yet on him. I remember it was really hard the first time I tried it on the pony too, so maybe it will get better in time? I did a little posting just at the walk too, and that did help me get my feet under me more. Is this normal?
Secondly, we tried to walk in a circle. It did get better by the end of then lesson, but it was ridiculously hard. Lol. I definitely don't have the hang of really steering yet. I'm ok on the rail/wall, but definitely haven't mastered the circle. This particular horse would start going in toward the trainer a little, and then when I would try to bring him out more his head would turn it his body wouldn't quite follow. (Insert images of him fighting me here. He didn't, at all. But it's what I would see in my head and added to my fear). All this was at a very slow walk. It got better as we continued, with my instructor telling me to give him more leg/ride more forward. It was not perfect by the end of the lesson by any means, but there had been small improvements. Any tips or suggestions are appreciated.
I think I might call the barn and see if I can come out and just brush him or something a few times before my next lesson. I am welcome there any time, so even if I can't take him out, I can stand by his stall and visit him and pet his nose. Maybe it would help me feel more comfortable around him. Honestly, even typing this out brings up the sensations associated with fear. Sooo weird!