Getting back in the saddle after a major fall
Ok so last year was the first summer my colt was broken. For the most part he had been doing well and I had llittle problems with him, except during a canter, he would canter nicely for a few yards, then completley spaz out and buck me off. All his tack was fitting well, and he canters very nicely when I ask him to in the round pen. A few months later, I was riding him when he spooked causing me to lose my balance, he then proceeded to flip out bucking and kicking, I am not sure what happened entirely but when I fell I hit the ground and my collar bone snapped like a dry tree branch. I ended up needing a plate with ten screws to fix it and months of recovery. Even now 9 months later I still have problems with it. I have never really feared being bucked off before, but now I am slightly hesitant. I have ridden him since the accident, but only at a slow pace. My question is, what would be the best way to get him learning to have a controlled canter without risking being thrown again? He does so well in the roundpen, but as soon as we are out of it, he loses it. I am also afraid that he is going to sense my anxiety when I ride him and cause him to misbehave even more. I would never admit to my family and friends that I am afraid, but what are some good exercises for both me and my colt to ease back into this?
Can you lunge him outside of the roundpen? He might just be scared or think that there's a set of rules for the pen and a set of rules for the outside world.
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I havent tried that, but its definitely a good thought. Though I think having someone on his back is the x factor that makes him flip out. In addition, how can a teach him that the same rules of a controlled canter apply to when he is not being lunged? He understands lunging well, but I think once he is out in the riding pen he is just like "Whoo!!" At least once you ask for the canter, walking and trotting he has no problem.
I also second work outside of the round pen. If it was me, I'd put him on a lunge line walk over to a likely looking spot and work on the canter then I would walk over to yet another likely looking spot and work on it some more, etc. Do just a couple of rounds at the canter in each place and in both directions. And remember he's new to the riding business and a good controlled three beat canter is a learned skill so this will all take time for him to coordinate and balance himself. And he will also not learn much if he races around on the lunge line so bring him back quietly and restart quietly. I'm also thinking he may need more outside time -- just moving around getting used to the big world around him. If you feel safety may be an issue when riding then I by all means walk him in hand (tacked up) here and there or do a combination of riding and walking. Once you have him going quietly that way that should mean he's not so overwhelmed by his environment and he will be in a better place to focus on you. Then start working your canter on the outside -- go a very short distance with it and quietly ask for him to return to a walk (what you are doing here are two things: 1) helping him find balance for himself with weight on his back and 2) getting the idea that he's not going far so don't bother hurrying or getting in a fuss over it). If you get a chance try for some clinics for him (great for getting him some more experience) and/or some lessons for you (great for getting you some more experience and restoring confidence, critiquing your form). There are a great many factors in creating a successful partnership between you and your horse and to try and discuss them here would be a book so just take your time, think things through and take care.
Thanks for all your help! I went out today and rode him lightly, (with my busy work schedule I dont always have time to ride :( ) and he was very calm and relaxed. Since I have the day off tomorrow, I plan on putting the lunging advice into action. Hopefully soon we will be cantering with no spaz attacks :)
I got my first horse to train a couple years ago -everything was going really well with her and then a green broodmare threw me, she reared, bucked, then reared and threw me over the saddle where I rode at a canter for 80 feet before being able to get my foot unstuck from the stirrup. I woke up on the arena floor 5 minutes later with my mother in law standing over me not remembering much, I thought it was summer (it was christmas) I thought I was riding a different horse, I was so discombobulated.
It took me MONTHS to get my confidence back, I took some lessons and went slow, when I got nervous i counted, sang, had verbal puking of the mouth and babbled non stop to my other riding companions -anything to take my mind off of the scary. Suddenly one day I realized that I had just ridden through something spooky and wasnt counting anymore, I wasn't scared and I had built the trust back in myself as a rider.
Just take your time and go whatever pace is comfortable for you. It is really tough coming off and having your first hard fall -makes you question your own abilities. The fact is, everyone comes off at some point -even the best riders. That's all part of learning, no one becomes a great rider without a few falls in the process. :)
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