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Hazels 11-29-2012 12:11 AM

I need to get over a traumatic experience, any help?
(I wasn't sure where to put this, but this category seemed fitting. If this category isn't right, I apologize!)

I had my first bad experience on a horse three weeks ago, and I still can't get over it. We were just trotting, but I wasn't ready for her and she wasn't ready for me. She took advantage and took off. I'd never done anything more than a trot on a horse, and so when she broke into a gallop I freaked out. I fell off and did not get harmed, but it left many mental scars.

I stopped riding Lily and decided to take the safest routes and ride one of my instructor's horses, Kelly Jane. Just a week after the incident, my teacher told me to trot. No biggie, trotting was always easy for me. We were just going at a slow, leisurely trotting pace, but in my mind she was taking off. She was running away with me and I couldn't jump off. With all this playing in my mind, I finally decided I wasn't ready to trot yet, and pulled her to a stop.

This week we were trotting again. My instructor assumed I was over it, and asked us to practice speed control. We walked. Turned circles. ...Trotted. The minute Kelly started trotting, it happened again. This little image in my head played over and image of me falling off. Or worse, not being able to fall off. I made her stop. I rested for a moment. I nudged her back into a trot. This vision was completely controlling me. I couldn't even trot, for gosh sake.

I needed to get over it, but I couldn't. I trust Kelly. She's trusts me. But honestly, I can't get over this! I need to move on and forget about that experience, but it always comes back to me when we start to trot. I need some advice besides "she's not going to hurt you"...any help? (Don't bother to comment if you aren't going to help, please!)

Thank you,

BornToRun 11-29-2012 08:40 AM

Post trauma experiences are hard to get over, I feel for you, and I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience and are struggling with it. You aren't the only one out there though. My mum, who had bad riding experiences when she was my age, now 45, still can't get over them and only walks and occasionally trots. I was in car accident about this time last year and I still have trouble getting close to the rear end of other cars, it makes me kind of not want to get my license now. Confidence building will take a lot of time. Have you communicated with your instructor that you're still struggling? Maybe you could stick to walking and doing some obstacle courses, or trot on a lunge line.

BlueSpark 11-29-2012 10:08 AM

Make your self do it.
**I used to ride problem horses and start colts***
I have not found anything else that works. I have 3 broken bones, 4 concussions, 3 cases of severe whiplash, one case of severe tendon damage and more bumps and bruises than I can count. Each one comes with a traumatic experience. I was badly bucked off a mare, shattering my wrist. Just before she started bucking she pranced for a few strides. Every horse I got on after her that pranced sent me right back into panic mode. It took a few months, but I finally got over it.

Every time you go to trot, try imagining it going perfectly, make that the image in your head.

mls 11-29-2012 10:19 AM

My suggestion would be to set up a course in the arena (cones, ground poles, etc) walk the whole thing. After a couple of times, pick two cones to trot between, then back down to a walk. Next time trot between a cone and the ground poles, etc.

Your focus will be on the obstacles and not on your horse. Please think about singing or reciting the alphabet - out loud! That way you can't hold your breath and tense up.

Give yourself some time. There is not set time to 'get over' anything!

Best Wishes!

Charley horse 11-29-2012 10:42 AM

Tell yourself that you are "Boss"
Take control, you will gain your confidence over time.

If anytime you feel uncomfortable you can stop it.

ThoroughbredJumper 11-29-2012 10:44 AM

My old horse Gent, sweetest thing in the world, tried to take off with me all the time when i first bought him (i was an experienced rider however) and after a few tries he learned he couldnt do it with me. The most important thing is to make your mind Get Over IT! It seems difficult but the second you find the highlight of that experience "i did not get hurt" the whole thing seems easier. I had half of my face shredded by a horse kick, my eye came out and everything. By a paint. But i forced myself to buy a paint, and quickly fell in love with the Paint TB (Gent) which got me over that experience. Just get back into it. Force your mind to say "Hey, im safe, i know what im doing, im going to be okay."

Charley horse 11-29-2012 10:59 AM

Wow, TBjumper...Glad your okay! That sound terrible what happened to you.

I went off the side of my mare for the first time ever three years ago.
We were loping up a hill riding western with my feet out of the stirrups ( Due to just getting out of a cast for surgery on a torn tendon )
Yup - shouldnt have been riding....
I seen a small decline ahead leading onto an old dirt road, I didnt want to take it at a lope w/my feet out of the stirrups so I PULLED BACK...Horse had a grip on the bit...
So off I went to ride her on the side for a while just hanging there trying to figure out what to do..I thought hmmmm ground isnt to far from my back so might as well let go?!
I did and went right up underneath her all I seen was her two front hoofs coming towards my head....
I blocked w/my arms ( She really really tried to not step on me my husband said who was ahead watching the whole thing on his horse )
Hoofs came down, but I didnt feel any pain only when she caught my arm and it was underneath her as she was stepping off..She then sent me a swift kick in the lower back to push me out from underneath her..I came out with a broken Radius and loss of confidence..
I am back into the horse world and I am teaching and raising another horse..My love outweighs the fear.
Confidence is gained again over time..

Hazels I am no teacher by far~ but what I would do if I were you is that if your horse starts to get out from under you by not doing what you want it to do then pull that horse's nose in.
You are in control at all times, breath and relax..Keep your head up.

ThoroughbredJumper 11-29-2012 11:05 AM

The full story is very graphic.. i have to recall it every time i open my eyes (i cant see out of half my right eye). BUT it was worth it because now i adore paints and LOVE TB's. :) hahaha Confidence in yourself is key in any situation regarding another animal and a bad experience.

Catpeedontherug 11-29-2012 11:39 AM

Try this~ when you get on, fake confidence. Pretend you are a confident rider, and you just might find yourself slipping into that role.
I know it sounds odd, but I've seen it work for several people.

Charley horse 11-29-2012 11:55 AM


Originally Posted by ThoroughbredJumper (Post 1777457)
The full story is very graphic.. i have to recall it every time i open my eyes (i cant see out of half my right eye). BUT it was worth it because now i adore paints and LOVE TB's. :) hahaha Confidence in yourself is key in any situation regarding another animal and a bad experience.

With my experience I reacted to late...I all of a sudden felt vulnerable w/my feet being out of stirrups and I panicked.

Sorry to hear that you can only partially see out of that eye TBjumper.

Cat thats what I do..Fake till you make it! Good advice

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