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SorrelHorse 05-01-2010 09:49 PM

I don't know what to do....
So, in these past few months I've noticed that my confidence and my abilities have been suffering. It started about the time my stud horse Jester started pulling lame more often. He started getting pissy and threw me once, then the next time I was riding in a backyard reining show and I asked for a flying change and he stumbled and nearly fell on top of me. I felt so bad and haven't done anything on him since to give him time to heal, but even with the other horses I have been very unsure.

It not so much that I'm afraid of the horses, its just that I think I'm going to do something wrong and in turn it happens. Especially with Rebel, being the new addition to the barn. He's so unpredictable because I don't know very much about him yet and he's hotter than my other horses or the ones I ride at Toni's. And with every mistake I make my confidence just plumets even more. And even when I ride Annie, the one I would trust with my life, I still am having these problems. I'm naturally nervous and had gotten better at it, but now I'm not so sure. I know I need to ride more but sometimes I'm just too afraid to go out, and when I do go out I either end up feeling so much better or so much worse. If it goes badly, I know its my fault. I know the problem is all me, and the horse has done nothing wrong. Situations I once knew how to handle now send my mind into a panic because I can't think straight.

How is it this is happening, when I used to react without even thinking about it and never once got nervous? And its not like what happened with Jester was the first time I'd fallen or the first time I'd experienced something that scared me. Could it be that it was just because it was Jester? He's the best horse I've very had and we are very close....he was the first horse our ranch bred and we are the same age and share the same birthday. I grew up and learned to ride on him from the time he was broke to now when he's middle-aged and on his midlife crisis. ( :D )

That was long.....cookies if you read it all ....... =/

horselover1428 05-01-2010 10:46 PM

get away...and take a vacation.

koomy56 05-01-2010 10:49 PM

Dont get in over your head. Do only what you know you can do well & with confidence for awhile until it gets extremely boring.

SorrelHorse 05-01-2010 11:15 PM

Mmk, first, NO vacations. No way in hell is that gonna happen. Vacations and me don't mix.

And I don't understand why it bothers me now, because the things I'm doing now are things I've been doing my entire life. I could successfully sit a slideing stop when I was six. By the time I was ten I could competitively cut and was winning.....But recently I can't even focus. =/

I really appreciate your reponses...Maybe it's all in my head.

BarrelracingArabian 05-01-2010 11:21 PM

maybe yu just need a change up like start doing something else such as more trail riding or just fun rides not including the reining or cutting it could be that you are just tired of focusing on only those sports

IslandWave 05-02-2010 01:11 AM

Taking a break and getting away for a little is a good idea.

It sounds to me like you're maybe thinking too much and like you said, when you worry that something bad might happen, it will.

Go back and do things that you know you can do and that you're good at.

When I'd start to doubt myself and get nervous when working with horses, I would make up mantras in my head and repeat them to myself. xD Stuff like "I'm number one, not number two..." and other sayings that built me up. They worked!

ilyTango 05-02-2010 03:16 PM

Just don't ride for a while. Go out and brush and feed and walk your horse but don't ride him. Reversed psychology. When you tell your brain you're not allowed to ride for a week or something (a time period that fits your personal problem), that entire week you just spend building your confidence with easy and boring stuff, and then you look forwards to the end of the seven days when you are allowed to ride again. Also, by doing this you don't have to worry and stress about "Oh, I should ride....but I can't...yet I need to...I'm nervous though, and something bad is going to happen!" and you give your nerves-and head-a break to recuperate and rethink things.

sarahver 05-02-2010 03:43 PM

Hey, sorry to hear about your accident with Jester, I can see how that would affect the way you look at riding.

Treat yourself like you would any horse that has lost confidence - build yourself up slowly and surely, humans are mentally conditioned just like horses exept we're likely to be much more unforgiving towards ourselves. Also, just like horses, we tend to remember one bad experience much more vividly than 100 good experiences and that is how both people and horses can lose confidence overnight. Start off with the things you find most enjoyable and the least challenging and move up from there. Don't be embarrassed to ride in a round yard on a lunge line, like a beginner! (I know I do when I jump on someone elses horse for the first time, makes me feel more secure until I can suss out how I feel about the horse and what they might do). Even though you are more of an experienced rider, if it helps you feel more confident, do it! If there is one thing horses can sense, it's fear and they react to it very strongly because they look to us, the rider, for guidance and reassurance.

Also, don't be so hard on yourself - beating yourself up won't help you (or Jester!). Think about what you would do if a horse suddenly lost their confidence going over jumps after having a bad fall or something: Would you yell at them and tell them they were hopeless? Probably not, my guess is you would do everything possible to re build their confidence in a compassionate and supportive way.

So be as nice to yourself as you would to your horses! Everyone goes through times where you feel disheartened, whether it is riding related or not but the best thing you can do is find an activity that will allow you to gain confidence and don't rush yourself or set timelines, you'll know when your ready!

Good luck. (a long reply for a long post, sorry)

SorrelHorse 05-02-2010 11:57 PM

Thanks Sarahver, and I'm sure you're right. Easy stuff then, or at least until the summer circuit starts in a few weeks. That will give me time to get used to Rebel and give Jester time to heal his injury. I could probably start riding more at Toni's and taking more lessons there. She's breeding her mares to Gringo so maybe I could just do that in exchange for lessons instead of a stud fee, then, until I get back to normal. Just hard for me to accept that this is actually happening :/

TabianoPaint 05-05-2010 06:03 AM

i went through a stage like that... i admit i was 12 but anyways i thought i couldnt trust my horse and i was even considering selling her... but i kept riding and now i have turned her into a lovely horse. You just have to stick it out for a while. im sure it will go away! well situations are really quite different but y'know :P

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