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JessXxX 03-31-2012 04:33 PM

My worst fall so far..
Ok so about 2 weeks ago now I think I fell off an ottb. I was at the yard where I work and I was gonna get to ride Archie for the first time he's an ottb with us for dressage training. I have never ridden an ottb or even a tb for that matter so I had mixed feelings but was mostly excited to get the chance my instructor took me through the quirks of an ottb and made sure I was happy, which I was, so she put me on the lunge and I gave a reasonably long rein and just sat quietly not nagging or asking much of him and he was going great we started trotting and my instructor said he was going really well and I was riding him nicely. She asked me to go into sitting trot, which isn't my forte haha, but still I sat quietly and made sure not to grip but I think I might have squeezed him a bit by accident as he started to canter I grabbed hold of the front of the saddle and tried to go with him, which I did for a while but he started to get faster and faster and I tensed up which is when I fell off also the saddle slipped and ended up on his side which I think was another reason I lost my balance. I was ok just a grazed arm from the sand and a little shaken but I got back on after my instructor had walk trot and cantered him and he was fine. Now I hadn't fallen for just under 2 years so you could say I was due a confidence knock ;) but yeah I got back on him ad was a little nervous this time I was off the lunge because my instructor thought that could have been part of it. So I walked him round andhe was fine I kept my riding quiet and just led him round at a slow walk then my instructor asked me to trot which I was alittle unsure of but thought I was just being silly so I asked him to trot and he was fine until we got to one end of the school, where I had fallen last time, he started to go sideways like he was spooking and then all of the sudden we were at a very fast canter heading towards the fence I panicked and tensed up again but tried togo with him I didn't want to pull on the reins as I know this just makes them go faster but I froze up and just sat there we got to the fence and he stopped the sudden change in momentum threw me off and I hit the fence and landed on the floor at first I couldn't move or breathe or talk and started to panic but then my brain kicked in and I realised that I had just winded myself after I got my breath back I was ok. It turned out I'd sprained my wrist and also bruised my hip quite badly. so anyway the next week I was riding my pony a 14.2 10 year old new forest gelding called Rascal I've owned him for almost 2 years now. He always spooks when I change sides with my whip but this day I was being careless and forgot to prepare myself for it I had ne stirrup as was changing the length and changed my whip side he took off I froze up thinking 'oh god not again' and just bounced myself out the saddle I was absolutely fine just frustrated because normally I would not fall off that easily!! I got back on and had an amazing lesson but now whenever I think about riding him or anyone (especially the horses where I work even though they're all impecably behaved) fear just fills me and I'm so frustrated because I don't want to be a nervous rider I even thought about selling Rascal if I was just going to be scared to ride him now but I think it's too soon to say I wont get my confidence back.

Anyone who reads this novel well done! and thank you! I'm really only posting it to get support as I have no one to talk to about my confidence issues who have been through the same thing and any help would be greatly appreciated :)

Crimsons Clover 03-31-2012 05:12 PM

The sbest advice I can offer is to ride what you can handle. Shame on your instructor for not guageing your ability properly. Also, always check your own tack, don;t leave that responsibility up to anyone else, as that is asking for trouble.

But going back to the riding aspect:

When you become a strong enough rider to stay on through bucking galloping stopping rearing etc, you are ready for an OTTB. They are a special horse reserved for special people with instinctive skills and a rare ability to communicate with horses.

They can be ridden by anyone and never show any problems, but in my opinion rather than risking it I would retrain that horse from the ground up, building a trusting relationship all the way, and only when we both had confidence in each other would I get back on that horses back. It can take years but is well worth the wait.

Don't give up!!!

JessXxX 03-31-2012 05:21 PM

Yeah me and my instructor think that it was because I was 'new' he's a very nervous little horse although he's normally so well behaved I'm honestly not as bad a ride as I made myself seem I've been riding all my life and walk trot canter gallop regularly with no problems I think after the first fall it shook me and then the second and third time I just froze which is the worst thing to do I know but thank you! I definitely will not be getting on any ottbs any time soon haha

MyBoyPuck 03-31-2012 05:29 PM

Sorry to hear about your fall. Unfortunately TBs can pretty much read your mind. You were probably behind the 8 ball before you sat in the saddle. On the flip side, if you can trick yourself into thinking you are a confident rider, you can usually trick the TB too. Maybe go back to the horse you were riding and stay with him until you are absolutely bored with him and want more a challenge. Then you'll be ready for that TB. They are great horses, but they sure can be tricky little buggers!

ohmyitschelle 03-31-2012 05:31 PM

I'll try not to write a novel back but as a writer I can't promise anything haha!
When I was younger and was learning to ride I had relatively good confidence. This had me put on the more naughtier mounts (especially one who liked to buck and do weird as things like go around in circles to get out of work and a notoriously stubborn mare who you had to work your magic on to get her to go ahead and do what was being asked of her!) and I enjoyed this. I would also jump anything until I had an accident where I broke my elbow. I'd fallen before in more nastier ways but this was the first time that when I got up again on the mare I had to get right back down again ad it hurt too much. From that incident it took me 6mths to even canter again.
Not long after this I decided to leave the riding school and get my own horse. She was four years old, green as can be and a rescue. Not the most appropriate choice. I managed to own her for 7yrs but at the same time I rescued another mare who I was more suited to. Over the years my confidence grew a little but never back to the point I was at before breaking my elbow.
When I sold my second mare on, I bought on a project horse. I felt ready for this but I also had a lot of support. Unfortunately I suffered from a non horsey injury to my leg that I still struggle with. My confidence waned. Over the first couple of years my gelding and I didn't do a great deal and he went through a rebellious stage which my instructor took him on and retrained him - then he was amazing. At that time though I had three horses, another mare I had gained from my instructor. This mare was another project and was the easiest to back and start. My confidence grew and my riding improved. But I was in a freak accident and shattered my leg. For sone time I doubted I would ride again.
Three years later my mare and I are at the level we were pre accident. She is my only horse I managed to keep after the accident. I suffer from great nerves from my history. However if you don't push yourself and put faith in yourself and the horse you're on, you're going to get no where. For me personally I know I could do with a well trained plodder to really give me that boost. I'm thankful that my mare is willing and forgiving and we worked incredibly well together. But my confidence us something I have to build up. I don't ride out in massive open spaces anymore. I have excuses I have to tell myself to get over etc.
The reason I wrote this all up is to show you that I know how you're feeling but there comes s point where the frustration youre feeling will be a great tool for you to use as a 'just get on with it' option. It takes a bit but you will slowly return to some level of complacency in the saddle. You just have to have more faith and not think of the risks.

Sorry for babbling and any mistakes. I'm on my iPod writing this and can't see it all!! All the best!!
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JessXxX 03-31-2012 05:31 PM

Yeah I only ride at that place to get lessons on other horses and cos I enjoy working there I have my own horse at a different yard which the one I fell off the 3rd time haha I'd love to have a tb but for now? I think I'll stick with my pony haha :D thank you!

JessXxX 03-31-2012 05:40 PM

Ohmyit'schelle - Thank you so much! Your falls were much worse than mine! But I guess if you lose your confidence, you lose your confidence I think if I carry on riding my pony I'll eventually get better he's not the easiest ride but I know him which I think makes a huge difference, my instructor that teaches me on my pony is great for this because he's an eventer and getting off cos your scared or not doing something is just not an option he's not horrible about he just tells me straight like my horse was backing up and i said I weanted to get off his reply was 'well you'll never get anywhere with him then will you?' This made me gather up my courage and just get on with it that lesson turned out to be the best lesson I've ever had I really hope it comes back soon! and good luck with your mare aswell :D Thank you!

Prinella 03-31-2012 05:50 PM

I'm going through confidence issues now without even falling off! I've had pron for 7 years and she cut her leg so I didn't ride much then because of the arthritis it was very slow getting back into work. The other day I had to convince myself that yes I can do 65cm. The highest we've done in the past was just under 5ft. Then out hunting yesterday I was so convinced she was going to step in a hole! I've had no fall to batter my confidence but it just went away!

I'm slowly getting it back mostly by forcing myself to suck it up and do it. Reminding myself to trust my horse who's never let me down.
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ohmyitschelle 03-31-2012 05:56 PM

My mare isn't the easiest to ride. She's a pleasure in most ways but she's still green and sometimes get too excited for herself. Shes not all that fond of contact on her face (was abused) and so there are times where we argue and she can give it good!! Just the other day as we are working on more connection and working underneath herself more in preparation for asking for schooling work. Naturally it has envoked a reaction from her - it's not so cruisy anymore! She even threw in a wee leap up in frustration the other day and me a year ago would have taken quite a knock to that. But I just carried on like it was nothing so she calmed down and started working. It's all about knowing your abilities and not letting fear confuse you think you can't handle things. Good luck with your little pony he sounds a little like my first mare hehe!!
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JessXxX 03-31-2012 06:02 PM

Yeah he's funny one :p but he's an angel most of the time yeah I'm just gonna take it easy for a bit and go back to doing what I'm comfortable with before pushing myself I think i'll be ok it'll just tahe time but thank you so much for taking the time to reply! :)

Prinella - Yeah I think forcing yourself to do stuff is good as long as it's not completely out of your comfort zone cos then when nothing goes wrong you feel like such an idiot for even being scared in the first placE Thank you! And of course good luck on getting your confidence back and with your mare :)

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