confidence low....can't control a horse as good as my kids even....
In Aug i purchased a 17 year old qh that most would describe as boombproof....had been used as a lesson horse...by owners grandkids...etc...they used for trails and barrels .....her grandkids moved away so she sold him ,Idid lots of research from calling his vet...farrier etc to verify the horses personality...she has always been the owner......
I purchased him to ride on trails and for kids to use for lessons and to do local barrel game days.....he is perfect for my kids and is calm on the trails....but we have had some issues and my confidence is low. When i am out with a group and the others are trotting and loaping i don't feel comfortable enough to do so.
But i can't control him....i try to circle him and he puts head up....i try to back him up and it almost makes it worse...i get it. i would want to run too and ignore my wimpy owner. EVERY SINGLE TIME ....three times since i have been with groups that wanted to run this has happened.
The first time today i was so terrified of the what ifs that i had to get off. My friend got on him and straightend him out....our trainer/ lesson instructor / was there and convinced me to get back on...she ponied him for a while which was humiliating......it happened later in the day when they trotted and loped again. ..even when some stayed back.....i just walked him which i know was about the worst thing ever.
I had a horse as a kid that injured me badly...dragging me quite a ways after spook and saddle flipped when itried to get off as she ggalloped away with me.....boot was caught....in a feild....like situation.....hear where i am coming from? This was my very trusted childhood pony.....
That horse was sold a year later when my parents divorced...i later took lessons in college and then 6 years ago I took a year of english because where i lived there were few Western places.....always in arena....
I understand ...the horse is anxious because i am....i am to the point that i will have mix of feeling between excited for a ride and so nervous i am going to puke.....i know i do not trust him.....i have trust issues in general not just him....people too...lol! This i belive is the root....it wouldn't matter which horse you put me on....after all....this is a kids lesson horse....
My kids do great on him....my 8 year old went on first trail ride with him and did excellent...she was ponied....
She snarks that she is already trotting barrels etc with him....my 4 year old rides him by himself in arena....
I do lessons as often as i can as the trainer is super busy.....about once a week or two weeks......
I need help....already have older horse...lessons....trainer..... i love horses and is my dream to keep owning AND ride....i want to spend time with my kids....doing this hobby together....
Also...fyi....trainer has 30 plus years experience......she also does the lessons and owns the barn where i board.....her daughter gives lessons to kids as they don't have all these extra issues i have.....
Work him in an arena or controlled area, or on trails without loping, until you have more confidence and control. I'd also work with him on stopping well.
Horse Training for the Stop & Back Up - Basic training to sliding stops for reining & cutting. - YouTube
There is nothing evil, immoral or improper about needing to work on confidence and control. Kids believe they are invincible. Adults...not so much.
It is very very very rude of people on a trail ride to be trotting and loping away from someone who is not comfortable on their horse.
I do not blame you for being upset, you have every right to be. Set your foot down and tell people, if you want to ride, you go at my pace...or you dont ride in my group. Until you are comfortable To deal with this type of situation.
I've be there. I had the worst trail ride of my life when I was on a pony I was retraining from running barrels. That's all he did was run. Thats all he knew. He was furious I would not let him run. The worst 5 Hours of my life. I was in tears, my back hurt from his prancing. And back then, when I was 15, I could outride anything.
don't you give up! Everyone gets knocked down a bit, and an 8 year old being ponied and a 4 year old riding in a round pen is much different then out on the trail. Its night and day.
What i suggest, work with your trainer. Do lots of ground work. And be firm with him. He needs to learn you are boss...what you say goes. Don't be a pushover with him. Its what he's looking for, stand up for yourself and make him do what you want to do. Your confidence will come with time.
we've had horses for 13 years now. This past year my mom had a horrible year of riding. (Knee surgery has really affected her balance) And she now has to go back to square one of basic riding in order to ride a horse shes been on for over a decade.
it happens. *hugs*
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Don't worry! Some people just aren't as assertive as others. I would reccomed that you do LOTS of ground work to build your trust and confidence, then improve your arena work before you trail ride. You have to make him listen to you. If he starts trying to speed up, make him halt. You have to be as assertive as possible. Imagine he is one of you kids who just misbehaved, that should help. And trust, no one will judge you for bin ponied, we have all been there at one point or another, and anyone who tells you differently is either lying or had divine help.
Don't be so gosh danged hard on yourself! So you're nervous, so WHAT??? You've had an experience that would scare the pants off of many people, and most of them would never get back on. You did. Big kudos to you for that!
If I saw you out on the trails, being ponied, I'd certainly not think any the less of you. So many circumstances can lead to a lack of confidence on a horse, who am I to judge? And those that DO judge? You don't need 'em anyway! You, your horse, and your safety are the only things that should matter when you ride.
Tell your instructor what you're feeling when you're nervous, and ask her for exercises to help you conquer it. If trail riding with a big group who likes to go faster than you do makes you nervous, ask a few of the other riders in your barn if they'd like to go for a walking trail ride. (I know LOTS of people who do nothing other than walk on the trails) And then, when that's old hat, and you've made some friends, ask one of them to JOG away from you, but only a few strides, and keep repeating that til you're comfortable. Baby steps.
So what if your kids seem to ride better than you do right now? Kids have no fear, and they certainly don't have the history that YOU have. Hopefully, they never will, because you made an intelligent, informed choice in the horse that you bought for them to learn on. :-) That is something you should be proud of, not trying to compete with.
I agree with Claporte:
the others should not have run off with a member of the group so insecure.
and you, you should not go out on trails unless you are with one or two others , who KNOW what you need and are willing to go slow to make it a positive experience.
in the mean time, get some lessons so you can learn the one rein stop and so you will feel comfortable enough that you do not end up panicking when the hrose starts to move faster than a walk, and do not then need to haul on his mouth, which makes him panic and it's a vicioius circle of force and fear.
you should not be ashamed of feeling anxious or fearful. it is what it is. you cannot make it go away by denying it. STEP by STEP, it's the only way;.
You sound just like me!! I beat myself up every day because of my fear and over thinking the "what ifs". You are not alone!
I agree with the others, don't feel bad about being nervous, I used to be the same way. Excited but felt like I could puke! fun.
on the other hand, have you considered a different horse that you trust? do you think there is one out there?
I recently sold my horse that was causing me huge confidence issues, she was a big draft cross, I bought a smaller 14+ hand quarter horse who is big enough to be a horse, small enough to not intimidate me. and he is older....17 and mellow. It was really hard to sell my horse and make the change, but so far all is well.
and I would go with slower riders also. and like someone said ride in an arena and built up your confidence before hitting the trails.
Loping in a group is one of the hardest things to do on the trail.....not so much because of the rider but because so many horses have a hard time with it. They get excited, they are moving as a herd, they get into race mode......it's just really exciting for everyone involved. So don't beat yourself up about that. I would ride with people who understand your horse has trouble with that and aren't so eager to lope.
Then, only when you are comfortable with trying again and feel like you have plenty of control of the horse, would I try again. But some people go their whole lives without loping on the trail. That is actually a difficult thing to do in a group. You generally have more control of your horse when riding alone because they aren't feeding off the other horse's excitement.
Definitely dont beat yourself up over this! Like others have said there is a huge difference between riding around an arena and being out on a trail with other horses. My old gelding is very similar, sold to me as a confidence builder and anyone could hop on him and plod around in an arena. Out on rides with other horses it is a different story - he wants to do whatever the other horses do and panics if I hold him back, it turns into a power struggle and not enjoyable for either of us. If we are alone he is fine but will just cruise along, there is no prancing or playing up.
When I got back into riding I felt like all of my skills from riding when younger had vanished but I've finally come to the realization that what skills I had are still there just not the confidence. Almost every horse I rode when I was younger was a well trained trekking/lesson mount so I never had any issues and was always up for a canter back then. I can actually admit now that while I was an ok rider back then it was really the horses that made me think I was a great rider!
If you can do what someone else suggested and ride with a smaller group at a walk only. There is no shame in hopping off before a situation escalates, I have done this when I have felt myself start to panic. A few minutes on the ground taking some deep breaths really helped and the person I was riding with was very understanding and happy to wait till I was back in the saddle.
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