Low confidence after accident
Sorry if this is long. I started riding at age 30. Loved it, accuired my own horses. Then I had a bad accident, spend some time in hospital. Started riding soon after I came out. Two years later had another accident, could not ride for a couple of months. Two years later I had another fall. Not serious bad quite painfull. After this I lost my confidence. My husband who is an extremely good rider started riding my horse. We then sold our horses and stopped riding for several years. My daughter started riding from the beginning of the year and soon was joined by my husband and then I started as well.
I started by riding the riding school horses. My husband then got involved with a horse with severe problems. Depression, wind sucking, kicking, bucking, difficult to catch, impossible to load etc. He could not be used by the school due to his bad track record of running off with riders, off loading every single rider ever trying to ride him. He also did not do so well with the other horses. He became a very unloved, unliked, lonely horse. I fell in love with him and started doing ground work with him.
We have formed a strong bond. He has changed so mutch that nobody can believe it's the same horse. He comes to me, no more running after him. He seldom kicks, bucks, even the wind sucking has improved to sutch an extend that he hardly does it anymore. I am able to load him. He spends lots of time just standing next to me.
The owner has some problems and can not look after him at the moment. We started to 1/2 bait him. My husband also ride, show jump, another horse. The costs were adding up and we had to decide to either stop the 1/2 bait of CC or I had to stop my riding sessions with other horses and started riding CC. Due to my confidence in riding being so low after my previous fall CC is not the best horse for me to ride. He is strong, extremely strong, spooky and has all the above mentioned bad habits.
I however could not give up on him and allow him to go back to his former self, so I agreed to start riding him. I have to be honest with everybody here, I am uncomfortable riding him. I don't want to fall again. I don't have the confidence needed to ride a horse like him. On the ground I have no problem, but on his back it's another story.
He has been a real angel, has not done anything bad, scary so far. Is very strong and pull a bit but as soon as I speak to him he calms down and I can almost enjoy a slow trot. I can't give this horse up, he needs me!! Could anybody give me advice, how do I get my confidence back so that I can be the rider he deserves. He is putting in everything he's got to be my friend and have confidence in me, on the ground I feel the same, but once on his back I start losing confidence in myself, in being able to handle him.
I believe if I can get over my fear we can be best of friends and I can be the human to show him that it is possible to love a human. He has had some bad experiences with people. I want to help him. I want to help myself.
First, I want to commend you for not only getting back in the saddle when your confidence has obviously been knocked, but also doing everything you can for a horse that obviously needed the attention and bond. The fact that all on his bad habits have vastly improved make me think that they are the result of bad treatment and/or loneliness and that makes me very sad.
I have come off many times, I admit I've been lucky and have not had major problems from the falls, just the occasional sprain or sore back, but I have a good friend that had a severe accident and I don't know if she will ever get her confidence back.
Do you have these nerves on other horses when you ride? Is it a result of what you've heard about him? You said he has never done anything bad with you other than be a bit strong, right? How experienced were you before you lost your confidence? Having taken lessons, and also assisted in giving lessons, I can tell you that often a horse really acts up due to the riders A) inexperience, or B) Foolhardy over-estimated skills and arrogance, 99% of falls are the riders fault. I am not saying that he has not acted up in the past, but some horses just aren't made for lessons, they need the bond with THEIR person and are ONE person horses. I am sure he already had a few issues before he ever started being a lesson horse but they could have been magnified 100 fold by numerous inexperienced riders. Also, in my experience people sometimes exaggerate to make themselves look and feel better when they come off. Of course I can't say anything for sure since I don't know him and his situation, and you should certainly be cautious with him, but it sounds like the one on one attention and work he's been getting with you are exactly what he needed.
I think all you can do is exactly what you're doing, start very slow with him in a controlled environment. Work on everything you possibly can at a walk, when you're comfortable with him at a walk, start some slow trotting, even just a few strides a few times per ride and bring him back to a walk. Not only will it reinforce his training, it will help you to know that if you want him to ease off he will as soon as you cue for it. Don't jump ahead of your comfort level because you feel you're not doing him justice, that will just make it worse, you'll dread it and he will pick up on that. Take it slow and steady, reinforcing your confidence AND your bond with him.
I have to agree with Jacksmama. You have to start slow and work from there. I had a similar spill at a show where my horse took off while I was mounting... long story short I broke my chin and both knees. I still even 7 years later still have trouble swinging my leg over. He hasn't done anything since that day and
IMO other wise he is perfect. My husband has been my pusher to continue to keep trying. I just have to trust my horse and my self. So just keep doing baby steps and do as much as you are comfortable with. Remember that horses feed off your emotions and if you are freaked out so will he.
Keep chuggin along and do as much as you feel safe doing. If you try to push your self too hard too fast it could end in disaster.
Keep us posted on your progress!
Oh almost forgot one thing to try is picture your self riding him confidently. i do it before shows and it helps. If you have it in your mind your body will follow more easily.
Wow me and my horse have exactly the same thing going on. I am extremely confident on the ground, but when I get into the saddle.. he gets nervous and then I get nervous and I can walk him well and post-trot him well.. but if I try to sit trot, he flails his head and freaks out. Under supervision from an instructor, he does better because they are always telling him that he is OK and he just has to let me find my balance and seat. When we are alone, he USED to bolt on me very badly and avoid the bit so I basically had a runaway horse. Just the other day, though.. we were in a foreign arena and I was practicing a few strides of sitting trot and his head wasn't 100% quiet, but there was a HUGE improvement.
I think it's just a case of not pushing too far and practicing what you can do safely and then slowly adding little pieces of things that you aren't sure about.. like extended trot or in my case, just parking my seat in the saddle instead of posting.
I always feel like I'm the one causing the problems.. so I am taking lessons at two different barns. One for just working on my seat and my balance, and the other is with my horse and working on just riding together and working things out.
I just want him to be confident and feel safe whether we are bareback (never attempted...) or on the trail, or in an arena.
Thanks everybody. Had a bit of a low over the weekend. He could never be boxed, not even on a trailer without being drugged. I have been able to get him on a trailer, no drugs and was so greatful. I wanted to start working on loading him on a horsebox the weekend. I worked everything out and was so confident. I was able to get him halfway into the box without any stress, felt that we have accomplished something. Problem is the other people made so many remarks, like " See you licked his ass and nothing happened." I felt we made some progress but after their comments I felt down and like I have not accomplished anything. At first felt that I am not as good with him as I thought. But after thinking about it I decided that people are the ones that caused the problem in the first place, they think if you hit the crap out of the horse but get him on the box you accomplished something. I feel you only accomplished creating a problem horse. So stuff them, I will do it slow and without any discomfort to the horse.
Saturday they loaded horses and had to leave horses behind. So there way is not working. Mine will.
Good for you stick to your guns and don't let them rattle you! You know what works with your horse and obviously if they had to leave horses behind their way wasn't all that effective was it :)
I will be following this thread as well, as I too have a confidence problem after a nasty fall a few years back. I now own a horse who is very sweet, and smart, and does like me, (no major bond, but she does nicker when I come to the barn) I know its me, its all me, and when I get nervous she gets nervous, and then things just sky rocket from there. I have owned her for 2 years now and still have not cantered her, will only trot once around the arena at a time, and have not trail rode her yet this year. So any and all advice on how to build confidence will help, I really really miss the feeling of being one with my horse, and I so want that back.
little by little each small step is in the right direction....
Well another weekend over and here is what happened over the weekend. I tried trailer loading again. Got CC half way in without any stress. Think it will take another weekend. Then on Saturday everybody nagged me into jumping some 40cm combination jumps that were set up in the arena. I was so scared and don't know why I listened to them. CC was great, I did everything wrong and he tried his best to get me over. I almost fell but he was an angel and kind off moved in under me and lifted his head stopping me from falling over his head. Why I allowed them to bully me into it I don't know. Yesterday when they were jumping I told them no I'm not going to risk falling and starting from scratch again. So we are back to taking it slow. One good thing is that I have even more confidence in CC. This horse that used to have this bad reputation is turning into the one that is helping me with my confidence problem. I have just started cantering, but only for a very short distance, 1/2 the arena length. All I can say is lets take it slow and don't allow anybody to bully you into doing more that you feel confortable with.
You know Raficca, I don't keep my horse at a stable, she is in my back yard, yet I have the same problem. Every time I saddle up Hubby comes to watch me ride in my arena, (for moral support he says) and I keep things simple, for me, so the horse and I can build together, I want to go slow cause like you, if I go down again, I fear I am done.
So while I am "walking" around the arena working on building my confidence, doing bending, and yielding exercises, he is on the side lines, saying things like you know she would be happier if you trotted or cantered. I try and tell him I am riding for me not to train the horse, and I am not comfortable yet going at the higher speeds, and he just doesn't understand. I would ride when he is not around, but, my fears won't let me do that, what happens if something spooks her and she jumps sideways and I fall off whacking a fence rail or something and get hurt. Who is going to help then?
I just wish I could snap my fingers and get over this low confidence thing as I miss just saddling up and going, but the monsters in my head won't let me!
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