Petrified of trail riding/hacking. - Page 5

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Petrified of trail riding/hacking.

This is a discussion on Petrified of trail riding/hacking. within the Trail Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    03-12-2012, 12:17 PM
A couple of extra notes...

1 - I sometimes sing to Mia. It is hard to stay tense if you are singing "A Four-legged Friend" - although Roy had a better voice than mine.

Fears are not strictly rational. For example, when flying over Iraq, I found I was not afraid of being shot at. That is just as irrational as being afraid of the wrong thing - but to me, it felt like I was in a movie, and I was waiting to see what the ending would be.

A good book on how our minds work and how fear can be present or absent is Deep Survival:
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    03-12-2012, 12:23 PM
BSMS thanks so much for the lengthy reply!

At work so can't watch the video right now, but will do when I get home.

Fear is protecting me right now, because I don't want to be put in a position where I lose control, freeze, and I'm being taken advantage of.

You ring true so many of my own fears.. trail riding, no issues, but I think it depends on the horse. A horse that knows its job, I have no problems with.. but an unknown quantity is another thing.
    03-12-2012, 12:26 PM
Bob, I think we need video of you singing that while might even go so far as to get some tapaderos like Roy's Congrats on your progress with Mia btw!

Sophie, it's totally normal to have fears. How one conquers them though can vary greatly. Some folks need pushed, others need to take baby steps. You might want to talk with your trainer and other riders in your barn about it.

I'd suggest finding a friend to ride out with and ride a been there, done that quiet mount. Maybe one that you won't need a mounting block for lol! I don't know that I'd take Duffy out myself, unless I knew there would be a TALL tree stump available Make the first trip short, end on a good note.

There has been a lot of good advice here. The breathing exercise is a fantastic one to do, one I will still make myself do if I'm on a spaz youngster. They don't make me nervous so much but I do tend to get annoyed and they feed off that too.

At any rate, I know you can do it!
    03-12-2012, 12:29 PM
Green Broke
For once I actualy agree with BSMS (fairly rare thing I admit).

Fear is very real, one incident is enough to put you off for life.
Various people have various methods for dealing.

Personaly I prefer to work on mine in private, I take all precautions nessecary but then I throw myself in at the deep end when no one is watching.

Since I broke my wrist I have developed a fear of cantering Reeco (other horses are fine) simply because the accident happened at canter and we have had many many issues at canter before.

This weekend I grabbed the bull by the horns and after ensuring I had everything possible to stack murphys law in my favour (hat, gloves, body protector, long sleeves, telling people where I am going, what I intend on doing and how long I will be etc) I took Reeco out for a hack on our own and on a quiet uphill stretch of bridle path I asked him to canter.
I felt sick before hand, and sick afterwards but I did it and I feel so much happier about doing it now.

This will NOT work for everyone and I'm currently teaching a girl who needed hand holding every tiny step at a time, but we are getting there!
    03-12-2012, 12:35 PM
I like the deepend if I have to do it, but this is a serisouly deep rooted fear for me, and even writing about it send my heart ten to the dozen!

I think, in this case, baby steps are the way forward. If she was known to be good out, I'd be more inclined to go for it, but I don't know what she is like at all, hence my feelings of pure sickness and horror!

I will keep you all updated, however, on what we do, how it goes, and everything else!
    03-12-2012, 12:37 PM
Originally Posted by DuffyDuck    
I If she was known to be good out, I'd be more inclined to go for it, but I don't know what she is like at all, hence my feelings of pure sickness and horror!
Do you have a brave friend/trainer/another rider that you trust that might take her out for you? Maybe if you could do that and saw that she can handle it well it would be easier to go for it. If I were close to you, I'd do it...if you promised to give me a leg up ;)
    03-12-2012, 12:39 PM
Originally Posted by MHFoundation Quarters    
Do you have a brave friend/trainer/another rider that you trust that might take her out for you? Maybe if you could do that and saw that she can handle it well it would be easier to go for it. If I were close to you, I'd do it...if you promised to give me a leg up ;)

LOL how bout I fly you over here... I always use a mounting block though haha!

I would have to see.. there is one girl who has a nutter horse and she's calm as anything..

But on the other side, if my horse tanks and hurts the girl, I don't want to be responsible for doing that, so I think I may be better doing it on my own step by step (fingers crossed)
    03-12-2012, 01:44 PM
Green Broke
Duffy, how far are you from the Belgian border? I'm over in Belgium later on in the year, could do a day trip and take her out for you (provided I am supplied with a step ladder to get on with!) am quite happy to get on anything (as evidenced by me repeatedly getting back on Reeco!) and I'm very very hard to unseat.
    03-12-2012, 02:03 PM
Green Broke
Weird question, does she have a good one rein stop? I ride lots of very reactive ottb's out on their first trail rides. Had some pretty scary things jump out, as long as you have a good "emergency brake" and a good seat you/other rider(s) should be fine.
    03-12-2012, 02:11 PM
I didn't read through all the replies here, so if I repeat something someone else said I apologize. My main thing I tell beginner riders, or riders building back confidence, is the wonder of groundwork. Lots and lots and lots of groundwork. If your horse doesn’t respect you 100% of the time on the ground, and trust in you as a leader, you will have a horrible trail horse.

I like to use more of a natural horsemanship style when I start building a good trail relationship. I’m 5’4” and 115 pounds, so I don’t have much strength. I like to just a training stick/whip and a simple rope halter.

I start by doing lots of hand walking. The horse has to keep in perfect step with me, and stop the second I do. It seems to become a sort of game to them after a while. If the horse crowds my space or starts the walk ahead, I give them a gentle tap with the stick, stop, and make them back up and do it again.
I like to go jogging with my horse. I put on my running shoes and go for a jog with them just like a would a dog. I like to stop suddenly and give the horse a smart tap on the chest if them don’t stop the second I do. It makes them pay 100% attention to you and ignore everything else. If they’re watching the scary dog across the street, they might not notice me stop! I also will do what I call the old lady walk, where I take tiny slow steps and the horse has to barely move to stay in step with me.

I also work on flexing, giving to pressure, and simple things like picking up their hooves. I’ll stop randomly on the side of the road, or along the trails, and make them pick up their feet, flex at the pole, or just a couple leg stretches. It helps relax them and show them who’s in charge. Horses LIKE for someone to be the boss, it takes that worry away from them.

Keep walking her for a week or two until she’s 100% relaxed and comfortable wherever you lead her. You’ll also notice that YOU will become more comfortable and will have more confidence in your horse. Challenge her as well while leading, make her slop through puddles and go through brush and trees. Walk her calmly past barking dogs or loud vehicles. She’ll start learning that there’s nothing to fear and spook at when you’re with her. The transition from you being on the ground, to you on them bareback or in the saddle barely even registers to them.

I hope this helps, and good luck! I’ve been where you are and I once again LOVE anything that challenges me and my horse.
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