Help- fear and riding difficulties - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 25 Old 09-20-2013, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Ireland
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I can relate to what you are experiencing, LilacsBloom.
I started (at 36 years of age) on a big horse - or big for me anyway, being only 5.2 ft
I have a general problem with heights and I'm afraid of losing control and get thrown, so sitting on a taller horse can be an issue!
I was open about my fears with my instructor and I was later moved to a smaller horse (he is about 13.5 hh). I felt better with him, as he would "fit" better: my legs, for example, were long enough for him! LOL
I loved all the horses I've ridden but I can tell you this: when I moved to the pony, I knew what my instructor meant when she said "It's not their size, it's their temperament". I loved my pony to bits and would miss him when I could not attend the lesson, but boy, he was a good teacher too - where my big horses had been patient about all my mistakes, he would try and buck me off my seat if I wasn't getting it right after a couple of times
One day he also "took over" and I can definitely say ponies can be fast!
Once we got to know each other and I improved, we were like two peas in a pod! If I'd lose my balance, he would stop and wait for me to be fine again. I miss him so much!
But well, what I'm try to say is: I later realized that my instructor was right, big horses can be as gentle and as safe as small ones and it was a big mare who baptised me into riding and I owe her a lot.
So do not be afraid of bigger horses, they will give you lovely memories too and yes, groom your new horse because it helps bonding!
You also seem to have understanding instructors, so if you feel too uncomfortable and prefer the pony, just talk to them openly
I was never ashamed of riding a 13.7, actually I was quite proud of the two of us! I once said to a kid laughing at my pony: "If you want to ride the wind, you should try him!". That shut him up
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post #12 of 25 Old 09-21-2013, 02:15 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
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I've done the re-wording thing myself to help me through things. 'I'm not nervous, I'm excited!'
If you were nervous or stressed that could have caused you to be more tense which might have been why the two point wasn't working quite as well for you as normal. It sounds like the up and down of the posting helped to loosen you up more though. :) Maybe you could talk to your coach about doing some exercises on the horse to help with balance next time and just spend a lesson getting secure. ?
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post #13 of 25 Old 09-21-2013, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Idaho
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Just keep trying!

You just need to continue to ride him and work him nothing but getting used to it will make you realize that he is not at all scary. I think going and brushing/getting to know him is a great idea!
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post #14 of 25 Old 09-22-2013, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Thanks for your thoughts everyone. Didn't mean to post and run.

I'm doing some baby steps. I watched some lessons yesterdaay and saw people having fun, successful rides, so that helps.

BlueSpark, no, you don't sound rude.: ) I agree. I have two choices. Both are ok but only one will move me forward.

I watched an interesting video yesterday about fear and learning, which said you need to be at between 5-7 on a 1-10 scale (of how afraid you are) for growth to occur. It said that from 1-4 you are in your comfort zone, and no growth happens. At 8-10 (10 being a blind panic) there is too much fear for learning to occur. I guess since I actually got on the horse I couldn't have been as high as an 8... But maybe a strong 7! Lol anyway, I thought it was fascinating. It was interesting to me that being at least somewhat uncomfortable was necessary for growth. I will think on that.

Tinyliny, yes, my intstructor moved me off the pony because she felt I was ready. Also, she wants me to have a horse that is easier to keep going, I think so that I can practice my two point, posting, etc. Pony has a very slow, lazy trot (ha! I don't mind slow and lazy! ). Interestingly, a ten year old girl is now taking lessons on the pony, and is jumping with her, so pony CAN go if she is made to. I think there is an element of me not being a strong enough rider to make the pony move enough to improving the skills I'm working on right now...maybe? So the pony was great at first because she didn't have a get-up-and-go that would frighten me, but now I need someone who will at least keep trotting. Does that sound right? My trainer said I had "mastered" the pony ,

I do trust her. She is very safety-minded. This horse actually a lesson horse for the barn, rather than being one of my trainer's own horses, so I know she was intentional about choosing a horse that would be a good match for me. She also rides this horse herself, and I've been told he's just beautiful when she rides him. So yes, my mind trusts her. My body, however, is not so sure! Lol. I don't think my fear is/was necessarily rational. That's partly what was so frustrating about it. But I will keep working on it and it WILL get better.
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Last edited by LilacsBloom; 09-22-2013 at 09:36 AM.
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post #15 of 25 Old 09-22-2013, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Originally Posted by DancingArabian View Post
What is it that's going on in your brain when you're with him? What's the scary thing that keeps popping up? Sometimes addressing that will help.

Posted via Mobile Device
A lot of what I'm dealing with are images and what ifs.

For instance, I had a hard time making him walk in a circle. I kept "seeing" him fight that I would try to make him turn and he would toss his head and pull and fight against it. Now, this did NOT happen, but it was one of the things I was afraid of. I don't know where this has come from. When I was a kid, my cousins had a TBxQH. She was definitely too much for me, so I only rode her a few times. Usually I was on one of their ponies. I don't recall her doing that though, so I really don't know why that fear is there. I can tell myself he is not going to do it, but I "feel" like he will. Well, I will just have to get over it.

Also, I was afraid he was going to run my leg into the wall because he stays closer to the wall than the pony did. I was afraid he would trip and I wouldn't know how to get off. I guess overall, a lot of fear that "something" (even if it was something i couldnt name) might happen, and that I didn't have a plan or preparation for all the somethings. Feeling a lack for control, maybe? And, trying to find the balance between "I just love horse and am totally unaware that they can hurt me" and "a horse can kill you and not bat an eye". I think I'm feeling hyper-aware of that.

Eh, I don't know. I probably just need to keep riding (which I will) and it will get better.

Last edited by LilacsBloom; 09-22-2013 at 09:50 AM.
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post #16 of 25 Old 09-22-2013, 11:46 AM
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That actually helps.

Getting your leg smushed into the wall is really not a big deal most of the time. If you're riding in an arena made of those metal tube panels I'd worry but otherwise you get smushed, your boots get scuffed and you get so mad you give the horse a whack with your foot.

For the other stuff, since you're afraid of falling, maybe look at some videos or even take some lessons on tucking and rolling. And emergency dismounting. The key is to put tools in your toolbox so that if the what if happens you feel confident in how to address. My big piece of advice about emergency dismounting is don't use it unless you are about to get creamed if you don't. People learn how to do it then start using it way too often and end up hurting themselves.
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post #17 of 25 Old 09-22-2013, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Baytown, TX Close to Houston
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I also have a major fear of heights, and in anticipation of being able to one day ride again (I'm disabled) my daughter convinced me to "just sit" on one of her mares, I did and I was scared, the ground looked so far away, all 3 of our horses are 15.2, 15.3, and I'm wishing we had one 14.2 or so. My fear scared the horse, and she began throwing her head and acting up, so I got off. Our trainer is going to help me, once my mare gets in the condition to be ridden. She's a quiet, laid back mare.
Good luck, I understand your fears.
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post #18 of 25 Old 09-24-2013, 03:19 PM
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I saw some really good suggestions in here.
One I'd like to reitterate would be to spend time with lots of different horses but the key here would be to learn their body language. Learn to interpret what each action means, how they interact with other horses and people and you.
When you learn their language you can be confident in knowing a movement of the head isn't a problem. You can decifer a stomp to get rid of flies vs a sign of impatience.
With your circle work, I'd almost put you on a horse that would fight you, but also a horse I know you'd win that fight on. For me when I'm working with my horse to do something it doesn't want it, it's a huge victory and relief when they do what I tell them to. Not to mention a confidence booster that you won! I realize this treads a fine line but it's just a thought.
Maybe you could watch another rider's lesson on the same horse to see all that horse is capable of and how safe it is.

I'm a firm believer that horses know... They just do. They can read you, feel you that you're tense, nervous, angry, sad, happy, excited. Be a master of your own thoughts and breathe. I'm sure a solid lesson horse knows how to cope with nervous riders and not react. But someday you might ride one who is more reactive to your emotions.

One last remark, like someone previously said, set goals. Then DARE yourself, challenge yourself to get there. Discuss a goal with your trainer for that one lesson. When you can do it well, the lesson is over or you move on to another goal previously discussed. It gives you an end point, something to strive for, and the reward of relaxation when you're done.

I hope this helps and you can accomplish all your horsemanship goals.
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post #19 of 25 Old 09-29-2013, 06:32 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Iowa
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When I first read your post, I almost thought it was written by me!! I have come a long way in a year of being around horses. My horse is kept at a barn on a property that is an equine campground. The owners have 400+ horses and I never know from day to day what horses I will encounter at the barn. Last year I was fearful of just being around horses, but now I am able to halter and lead almost any horse there. Just spending time with different horses has really helped me! I still have major issues with riding! I am like you, as I question and over analyze everything the horse is doing. I believe it is a "control" issue. I always like to be in control but with a horse there is always that fear because of their size and power. Good luck to you!
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post #20 of 25 Old 09-30-2013, 03:11 AM
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Why u r having fear? u have no reasons to feel that! he is a just a horse but is big, i ride a really big horse the biggest on the farm, and i have no afraid and i ride for 3 months, she sometimes is a litle bit crazy, she try to get me on the floor
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