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Riding after a fall
As many of you know, Sandie got a little stir crazy a few weeks back and bolted/bucked me off. After that, whenever I would ride her she would spook at the strangest things/times in the arena. So I started to get nervous every time I would ride her, which obviously made things worse for both of us.
We were starting to make some progress though, although I was still nervous every time I would think about riding her, and then she had to have her surgery -- and was on stall rest for two weeks. She just came off stall rest, and she's being turned out again. I show up every day to just do ground work with her and then to let her run around. But I'm going to need to get on and ride her eventually again!
So does anyone have any tips for me on how to NOT be so NERVOUS on her?? It's just making her crazy and I don't know how to stop myself from flinching each time we go past a "scary corner" or gate! I want to ENJOY riding with her, not fear it! Plus bc of where her scar from the surgery is, I can't put a saddle on her for a good while, so my first rides are going to have to be bareback on her...HELP!!! :shock:
I don't know if this will help you but it helped me. I worked a ton in the round pen and got the heeby jeebies out of Thunder and made sure he knew I was Alpha. It also made me feel in control especially when he did things just based on my body language. I wasn't out there persay to build my confidence but it did wonders!! When they sense confidence from you, it makes them more confident. Can you work her hard yet? Or just light work? Because if you could work her more than usual before getting on, that might help? Sorry, that's all I can think of...
Except everyone else will probably tell you to ride a non spooky horse for a while until you build your confidence back. In my case I cannot do that much, but if you can take a few lessons or ride a friends horse, that definitely helps build confidence back. Good luck and just remember that you have done it before, you can do it again, you can help her control her movements, and you are the leader. YOU CAN DO IT! (waterboy hehe)
Thanks :-) There isn't a round pen at the stable where I board, just a very LARGE arena (scary!! lol) but I can lounge her before I ride...I just wonder how much that would really help. I was doing it before and she would spook anyway! I am definitely riding another horse tomorrow, one of my trainer's - a horse I'm really used to and used to go running through fields with that's how safe he feels to me :-) Hopefully it will help get my confidence back a little...the bad thing is, I can usually get on him no problem - I can canter with him, jump, anything and no fear...but the minute I get back on Sandie I freeze up!
Maybe I should have a couple glasses of wine before I ride to make myself loosen up!! lol :-)
Walk her around on the ground before you ride, and if she spooks just stand there untill she is willing to go up and sniff it. Once she can walk around without spooking you can get on. When you get on, focus on the fact that she has no excuse to spook, and if she does she is just being a brat. Walk her around, and if she spooks GET AFTER HER and use your legs to push her into the corner, and circle the end untill she behaves.
FS really good advice and I agree from personal experience. Only other thing I will add is advice John Lyons gives, "ride where you can, not where you can't". In my case I did not have access to an arena or a round pen. What I did have was a good sized paddock, so that is what I used until my confidence came back and those darn panic nerves went.
Good luck, remember that it only took a second to get hurt, takes longer to come back (but we do) :wink:
Goodluck. Try and show courage. If you need a minute stand back and take a deep breath. I had to show courage 3 weeks ago when a horse kept bolting with me. I had to be ready for every bolt. I couldn't get off for and hour. When I got off I realised how much better it would have been at the start if I hadn't been nervous. It made the horse feel scared(not to mention the noisy jumper I was wearing what triggered his bolts) and noone had control..
Goodluck getting back on him..
id say do a lot of despooking work with her on the ground for a little while. like, set and obsticle course of potentially spooky things up in the arena and walk her through it on foot. if she spooks at something stand there still she calms down and then slowly encourage her towards the object until she is able to sniff it and walk past it without being afraid. once you're confident that she's okay with the obstacles, get on her and walk through it a few times. you should start to feel more confident that she's not going to spook, then you can try trotting through and cantering if possible. if the course involves tight turns, just try cantering around the outside of it. also, as 1dog3cats17rodents said. once you've hand walked her successfully through the course and you get on her, if she starts spooking at things while you're on her it is most likely not because she's truly scared, but because she's learned that pretending to be scared is a good way to get out of work. if this is the case, you really just need to get after her and force her towards whatever it is she's pretending to spook at. i know this is hard when you yourself are rather scared of her spooking, but jsut make sure you keep her head up so she can't buck, and if she rears you need to get off her and longe her like crazy because rearing is incredibly dangerous and just not okay. anyways, once you work her through one of her pretend spooks, trust me, you'll feel great and it really should start building your confidence up. hope this helps :]
One thing you can do is keep her mind on you! That means LOTS of transitions and circles. Her attention needs to be on you all all items. This is also the case with lunging, If shes paying attention to you she won't "find" those scarey things to spook at. When on the lunge, if she spooks, put her right back to what she was doing, like ASAP. When she behaves and doesn't spook at the item/spot, stop and let her rest (reward). It should help
I didnt read anyone elses advice to help so if I am repeating what someone else has said, for give me.
I think it all in your head that she spooks more. She might be spooking at the same thing as before but you were always calm about it so there for she was calm as well. Now, when she spooks you get frighten because you are afraid of falling again and she feels that.
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