After Falling/Being Chucked Off 5 Times I've Lost Confidence!!
I've been riding since about january this year & my mum thought summer was the right time to get me my own horse, after she saw how much I enjoyed it & how quickly I had learnt the ropes. So when the horse arrived I gave him a week and a bit before I started to ride him, & then gradually bought him back into work with assistance from my mum (I'm 16), he was nice to ride but just a little spooky. I fell off him within the first 3 weeks of having him when he saw a motorbike & reared up in the school, I came off the back of him & landed on my back, luckily I was wearing a body protector! I've came off 2 times whilst jumping, another time during schooling & once when I was having a lesson, this was the fall that really knocked my confidence down, the lesson was going very well, after about 30 minutes I saw a pony in the opposite field galloping along the fence & then I heard a bike, I was going to stop but thought he'd just be worse, so I continued to trot, the bike shot past him when he had he's back to it, he went galloping off, done 3 big bronchoes (came about 3 foot off the floor) & I came off... This has really knocked my confidence & I now know he has a major fear of bikes! But is there anything I can do to bring my confidence back up? I can ride the horse I learnt on with nothing to worry about, its just him! Any advice would be appreciated. :)
First off, so sorry for what happend to you, it happens to the best of us. My first word of advice that I would offer for the spooking is usually a simple fix. I have done this to all of my horses and they do not budge for anything. It's called desensitizing your horse. Start with something small, maybe a plastic bag, and approach the horse let him/her smell it and retreat the bag if he/she gets spooked; do not push the horse with its fear. Repeat until the horse no longer spooks with the bag in that manner. Then attach to end of whip and make noises with it, wave it around, etc until no longer spook again stop when spooked, eventually work your way up to rubbing it all over his/her body while attached to whip. Start small and work your way up with objects, he will learn that everything isn't a big monster that's going to eat him.
Also, if you do not want to completely desensitize to everything that you may come in contact with in the arena or trail, you can always start with the bike. Note: Always keep slack in the rope and never pull and tug on it to try to calm the horse down= turns into a fight. Lead your horse up to the bike while it is off until and basically repeat the steps as I explained with the plastic bag, allow him/her to know that the bike is harmless. This could take several minutes to hours/days. Always desensitize on the ground first rather than in the saddle. Repeat with someone starting the bike, keep the horse a distance from the bike, and do the same while the bike rides around the vicinity of the horse. Put the 'threat' there, take it away, put it there, take it away. Allows them to understand " hey there's nothing to worry about". When, and ONLY when, he/she is completely comfortable on the lead rope with the bike off, running, or idling, get on the horse and try slowly riding up to the bike until calm. The horse may be hesitant since you are not by their side anymore, but be patient. For the running or idling motorcycle, the horse may bolt( I can recommend a method for controlling a horse if it bolts or get out of control if you are interested, just message me.) Try to keep it under control. Basically keep working with your horse until you feel comfortable.
For your confidence, I really and truly think that the ground work for the motorcycle, plastic bag, etc will really bring back your confidence. As for getting back on the horse, which I have had to do many times. Get on the horse, and sit there, pet it, love it. If you feel nervous when you get on depending on if you can get your anxiety under control or not, continue to sit there and breathe deep several times, but if anxiety is too high, get off and get on once your heart starts racing. Other ground work exercises help a LOT with mutual respect and trust between you and your horse. Best of luck!
I'm just going to throw this out there, but it sounds like you're a bit inexperienced for your horse. You need more mileage and so does he from what I'm gathering. You said you're taking lesson? Does your instructor know about your confidence issue? Maybe he or she could help you out. I'd also suggest(if possible) to have some more training put on your horse. He seems too reactive for a rider of your experience. The fact that he reared with you really bugs me. Rearing very dangerous. I've seen horses flip over on their riders. The bucking isn't good either, but I personally will take a buck over a rear any day. A good trainer is far more capable of dealing with dangerous behaviors than a rider at your level. I would hate to see you or the horse hurt if he continues to do things like rear or buck whenever a motorbike goes by.
As for what you can do in the mean time to help you confidence, see if you can ride a horse you feel really confident on. This will help you have faith that you can ride, and won't always fall. I'd also do a lot of ground work with your horse and work on learning as much as you can about his personality and what makes him tick. Also work on desensitizing him like the above poster said, but please do it safely and with the help of your instructor if possible. A frightened horse can become very dangerous very quickly. You need to earn his respect and trust from the ground up. When you do ride your boy stick to things you know that you can do safely(even if it's just walking) and slowly work your way up.
I don't want to come off as rude or like I'm trying to scare you. I just want to encourage you to do things as safely as possible. I have gone through a roller coaster with my confidence in the past, it's not easy but can regain you confidence once it's lost. :-)
Thankyou! Never even thought of that myself, its definately a must try! On the ground with him I'm happy as can be, its once I'm on I really worry! I will try what you have said & let you know how it goes, hopefully it works out in my favour! Thankyou so much! & thankfully I am fine, just had a few bumps
MyLittleHunter- I've been told that before, & it doesn't hurt to tell people ablout the dangers of what could happen, I get where your coming from, I started riding an ardennes draught & I could do anything on him if I really wanted to, he's fine when he's doing roadwork & see's a motorbike, its just when he's on 'hometurf' so to speak, which really baffles me!
They do do things that we don't understand some times. It takes awhile to figure them out. Haha.
I just hate seeing rider's lose confidence. I ended up in the hospital after a really nasty fall and it took me a long time to get my confidence back. It sounds like you're willing to keep working with him and aren't afraid of him which is excellent.
I am definately willing to work with him, but only once I've seen that he can be sensible! He's sensible with my mum when she rides, but then she does have a lot more experience than me! Which could be why, I think its gonna be a case of taking things slow& steady with him untill he shows he can be the true gent he is! Thankyou for all your help :)
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