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jfisher256 05-14-2012 01:00 PM

Feeling nervous and apprehensive at barn..[need to rant].
This is going to sound quite pathetic. But whenever something comes up that gives me the opportunity to go back to the barn I've been working at, or just another barn in general, I get myself all worked up and apprehensive, and worried that something awful is going to happen. Obviously horses are such an unpredictable animal and if anything happens I can't blame myself unless it is blatantly obvious that it was my fault, like I wasn't paying attention or didn't do something that that I know I should have done.

Anyway, things have happened, although not my fault, that have actually made me reconsider just staying away from this barn completely. One thing that happened was I brought a horse in that was briefly turned out in the covered arena the BO has right outside the main barn. I took her in and she got very cautious, I guess because the lights were off in the barn? It wasn't like her to do that and she's never done it before. I had her on the cross ties right by the open doors that led to the arena and when I turned around to go flick the barn lights on, next thing I know she gets herself completely out of the crossties (halter and all) and runs to the arena. I didn't even get close enough to the lights to turn them on before she got loose. I actually got really upset over it and the BO was like "Seriously, that is not a big deal at all and obviously wasn't something you did wrong. This whole thing is a learning experience for you and you can't let a horse breaking lose get you upset." Which she is right. It's not like I let the horse get loose and she ran onto the street or something.

Things like that make me not want to be there. I also hate dealing with the fields which is my main source of apprehensiveness (they're not even fields, they're mud/dirt piles). Obviously you're going to have horses all running to the gate to all get out at once, and of the course the horse I need to take into the barn is all the way in the back of the field not budging. I end up getting frustrated and telling the BO I don't want to do the fields. Recently, I had to get a workplace set up for career study and just asked her if I could do it there since I did it last minute (I would have honestly liked to go somewhere else just to get into something new that I would like to actually learn about-instructing lessons is not my forte), and told her through facebook-but will do so in person too-that I want to come during lessons, which she is absolutely fine with-and want absolutely nothing to do with the fields. If there is a lesson horse turned out, someone else can get it. I know I'll have to deal with fields eventually but something about her fields just works me up to the point where I actually worry for days on end before I actually have to go. In the end, nobody went to the hospital, and after a bit I actually got more used to the fields except for one in particular I really never liked from the get-go. I actually ended up inflaming an old foot injury because of an issue I had with that particular field. But I won't get into that.

Sorry, I'm just rambling now. That was more of a rant that I needed to get out if anything. I have to be at the barn in 3 hours which will probably get here pretty quick.

I don't know, I feel like if I went and worked somewhere else (there is a small dressage barn about 45 mins from me with max maybe 6-7 horses? Was also considering a tack shop about 5 mins from my house) I would be more relaxed and excited to go. Right now I'm not excited at all. In fact I'm the total opposite.

My mom has pretty much given up on what to say to me. She's told me before, "find another barn, find another field of study to work in that doesn't deal with horses personally" and my favorite "have you considered any other interests?" I have plenty of barns to choose from within a 30-45 minute radius. I was actually at this dressage barn before when I wanted to take dressage lessons (but ended up being $100/lesson and she wanted me there at least 3 days a week), and use it for my career study too. I feel like I would have enjoyed the much smaller atmosphere better. Not a lot of horses, small property with miles of trails nearby, and just a relaxing atmosphere. May I also add that the horses there were quite lovely too? :lol: But trust me when I say my mom is 110% the biggest supporter of my love of horses, but has ran out of things to say which I can't blame her for.

Granted, this career study program is only about 3 1/2 weeks and will probably be over before I know it. I actually graduate high school the week after CS ends. Plus I will only be there from 3-6pm and if I'm grooming, tacking up lesson ponies, and working with the younger kids during lessons, I will be perfectly happy. As long as I don't have to deal with the field. Also, the pony in my avatar-Spencer-is the most adorable and fun pony ever so that is one of the only positives of going back.

I guess I'm also nervous about her reaction in person. Over facebook she seemed fine when I straight out told her, but for some reason I get all worried like she's going to knock my teeth in if I tell her. She's not like that at all. She's the sweetest and kindest trainer I've had the pleasure of knowing since I was nine. She apparently talked to my mom when my mom came to "visit" one day (really I had her there because I was only going to be there for a short time and didn't see it necessary for her to drive all the way home just to pick me up 45 minutes later), and the BO was telling my mom, which my mom told me, that it saddens her to see my confidence level drop so much, and how I would message the BO things like me wanting to ride in big shows like Devon and then I never pursued it further. Do I regret not pursuing it further? Absolutely. But Devon isn't going anywhere and I know I will compete there one day.

Sorry I ranted even more.

I guess it's just a fear I need to get over. Which is what my mom said. This is what I love to do-ride and be around horses. For a while, all I said was "if I had my own horse I wouldn't be nervous and would just go to another more convenient barn." but realizing now that anything can happen at any barn. Just look at the TB mare that threw me off in the summer of 2011. If anything that definitely knocked my confidence level to about a 2 out of 10. :? Which was one incident that was the owner's fault that I had no idea would happen. Before that, I was all "Yay put me on big fast horses!" now I'm like "eh, can I start out on a little 14.1 hand pony please?" and not even having the confidence to canter. This is coming from the person who leased an ex-racehorse and all I wanted to do was canter! Boy was it a fun canter too!

GAH more ranting! I'm done.

jfisher256 05-14-2012 01:23 PM

Also-here is a video my mom recorded of me cantering the ex-racehorse that I leased for the first time after healing from a back fracture.

Ignore what I say about him having the "right lead this time" in the beginning. We had been working on lead changes previously and I just commented on it. Sound isn't necessary.

Daisy25 05-14-2012 04:36 PM


Sounds like you are experiencing some serious anxiety issues.

It may or may not be due to horses - it can be as simple as a chemical imbalance in your brain. It's very common and happens to a lot of people.

Before you quit horses and / or a career path - why not visit a professional and see if there is anything that can be done to help?

You may find that an anti-anxiety med makes a world of difference!

Good luck!

heymckate 05-14-2012 04:50 PM

Agree with everything the previous poster said.

If it's purely a confidence issue, it sounds like the barn owner might be willing to work with you one on one to gain some of that confidence back. Like, can she go into the field you don't like with you and work with you there?

I hate to say it, but in a life with horses there will be thousands of moments where you're trudging through mud and poop to get to that horse in the back of the field... or worse still, chasing it several times around the field. Have your barn owner or someone else go with you and help you find confidence again. Otherwise your mom might be right, and you may need to consider other options. Because right now it sounds like horses aren't making you happy the way they should be. And more important than anything, you need to do all you can to live the happiest life possible.

Best of luck to you!

Almond Joy 05-14-2012 05:16 PM

Trust me, I know what you mean about fields. Hate them.

But, it's just part of horses. If you're going to ride, you're going to need to go into the field to get the horse, whether you like it or not. Although it can be frustrating getting them from the field, you still need to do it. I used to get all worked up the same way, however just think positive thoughts, and think nothing bad is going to happen. Most of the time, it won't.

furbabymum 05-14-2012 05:44 PM

If this is something you really want to do then you are going to have to suck it up and deal with it. I get anxious as anything the day of a jury trial. I'd really rather not go but it's part of my job and I love my job so I deal with the anxiety.
I saw a therapist for anxiety related issues for quite awhile. He always recommended meditation and it really worked for me. After years of being so twisted with anxiety that I could hardly breathe I can now breathe easy.
For you, I think the main thing is not avoiding what makes you anxious. The field may suck but it's part of the job and you need to go do it. Being anxious should not stop you from functioning out in society. Decide that you are not going to let it stop you. Decide that you will overcome your fears. Then do it.

bnayc 05-14-2012 09:34 PM

I have severe anxiety and feel this way too. I have to take medication every day for it. But trust me stick with it!!! You will really feel down on yourself if you leave now. Find someone to help or show the proper/safe way to go about things. All this experience now will pay off when you get a horse of your own! Feel free to private message me if you want to talk about anything! Seriously.your story sounds a lot like mine!
Hang in there

Saskia 05-14-2012 10:12 PM

I agree that your anxiety is causing you a problem. I've felt that way before but I eventually had to deal with it, and carefully monitor myself so I don't get like that again. Maybe you should consider seeing someone about this.

I really hate getting my horse out of the field. We have 7 horses in the paddock and they're all 16.2hh+ and my horse is bullied. The gate is in a corner and I just feel so unsafe doing it. Usually I call my horse, wait until there is an opening and just open the gate without catching her, she goes straight through and I close it, then I halter her.

But sometimes I have to suck it up and do it. I don't like it, I don't feel comfortable with it, but it's part of horses and if I want to do that I have to do this.

To be honest, if I was a BO and someone wanted to work for me and told me that, I'd be very unimpressed. I'd be of the attitude "suck it up or go home".

In your case, I'd either stop doing horse stuff besides riding, or maybe not that at all. Or do it over and over again until I felt comfortable with it. I'd just go to the field, catch a horse, brush it a little, put it back, go catch another etc until it became routine.

You've got to face your fears and decide who wins.

jfisher256 05-14-2012 10:37 PM

I agree with what everyone has said. I do think it is an anxiety issue and I have brought that up with my mom before. What is ashame is the more I started working with the fields I didn't like, the more I got used to them and was like "huh, this isn't so bad." then I have another issue with my foot that keeps me from the barn and when I go back I go into shut down mode, and actually the only fields I really truly don't like are the mare fields, the gelding fields I'm completely fine with.

Honestly I'm surprised she hasn't told me to suck it up. She's super nice but the problem is I think sometimes she's TOO nice. Like if I told her I didn't want to groom a certain horse because I was afraid he would bite or kick me, she would be okay with it. (I don't have a problem grooming any horses though, that would just be bad!). But I am definitely willing to talk to her about it. The one reason I hated the fields was because of the way they were built. The gate to get them out of was awful and it was on an incline. Luckily it's not like that anymore and the fields were fixed and seems a lot easier to get horses out of. I think I just always get the "omg something's gonna happen to me/the horse/etc." and come to think of it there were times when she told me "just do it, the horses won't do anything to you. You need to take control." and she's right. There were also many times when she's just opened the gate and they just ran right into their stalls. Now granted, she filled up their feed buckets before bringing them in and they all knew it too :-P

I appreciate all the responses. I was just going off on a rant so I wasn't really expecting many answers haha. Just needed to get it off my chest. I went today and it wasn't bad at all. In fact it went quite well, but I'm bummed because apparently she sold Spencer :-( I overheard her talking with someone when I was cleaning the arena. Oh well, she has plenty of horses/ponies if she doesn't mind me hopping on every once in a while.

I actually had to stop myself at one point writing the original post. What am I thinking? Quitting being with horses, this is what I want to do and one silly fear like taking horses out of fields is going to keep me away from what I want to do for the rest of my life? No way! I'm going to walk into the barn with confidence from now on, tell myself it's not that big of a deal, because it really isn't. Then I'm going to go to college and when I graduate I will own my own horses. :-)

Again I appreciate the responses, wasn't expecting even 2 or 3 lol. But it is nice to see I'm not the only one who has an issue like that. It sucks, and I wish I wasn't like this.

ChristineNJ 05-14-2012 11:55 PM

Fear is a funny thing! I too love horses but sometimes if I think about things too much or hear things that have happened to people like falling off, getting bitten or kicked then I question myself like "Why are you doing this?" But so far I can always talk myself out of it and continue to ride which of course includes getting my horse out of the pasture....I just take the lead rope with me and shake it at any horse that looks like it might start trouble with me. LOL So far not one horse has bothered me. LOL

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