Trouble with hills - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 03:25 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble with hills

So, to put it mildly, I have a pretty bad fear of heights. Don't know why but I do. It's taken me a bit to get over that fear even just for riding Rain who is 15 hands. We went trail riding a week ago and when it came to steep hills, I about had a panic attack at each one. I managed to go down most of them just fine but not without obviously becoming scared. I think part of my issue is that I am overly worried about Rain tripping in her Easyboots.

Does anyone have any tips of relaxing more during trail rides, esp on hills?

Thank you!

*Dreams are within reach, you just have to go that extra mile to catch them*
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 03:35 PM
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you can't make yourself relax. build up your comfort with her as well as your trust. once you learn to trust her more, you'll gain a little more confidence and be able to relax. i get a little nervous about my horse going down steep hills at times as well. i'm just worried about hurting him more or less, it happens to the best of us.

Count My Strides - Shane, Bought 2-18-06, Mustang.
"I whispered to my horse, "i'm afraid of falling" and he whispered back, "i have wings".
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks! I do think that's a lot of it too! It was only my second or third ride ever on her. We are going again next weekend so I'm hoping it will be better.

*Dreams are within reach, you just have to go that extra mile to catch them*
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post #4 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 09:39 PM
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For one make sure you're leaning forward uphill and back downhill, that'll keep you stable on your horse. And remember--you aren't any further off the ground!!! Actually, going uphill you're closer to it if you fall forward. =) I think you probably just need to keep on trying it and realizing it's okay so that your confidence builds, just like countmystrides said

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post #5 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 11:11 PM
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I have the same issue with hills sometimes. going up them is fine, but if its a steep downhill i still get a little worried. What I do is try to concentrate on myself. I think about making sure I'm leaning back and my heels are solid. That way I'm distracted from worrying about the hill so much.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 11:17 PM
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I was that way when I first started riding. I am very chicken of heights, even on my own two feet. Anyway, time has pretty well cured it as far as riding goes. I actually feel safer now on the horse then on my own two feet, if we are on a mountainside or something! I think time is the only cure....just lots of riding in your comfort zone and gradually pushing your comfort level and getting confidence in your horse. Remember your horse doesn't want to fall either.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-11-2010, 11:38 PM
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Ahhh heres a suggestion for you...

Ride Claymore around for a few minutes first. Just a few minutes...

THEN get on Rain. She will feel like a Shetland!

While I am not afraid of heights...I don't like tall horses. Anything over 15 hands kinda intimidates me. While I still had Nico (14.2) I started riding Rosie (16.3). If I would ride them both in the same day, I had to ride Rosie first. If I rode Nico first, Rosie felt 20X taller. When I rode Rosie first, I actually felt guilty about getting on Nico because he felt like a freakin pony to me. Its all about decieving yourself.

Oh and from someone who gets motion sickness, I always throw this tip in. Keep your eyes on the horizon. Even when you are getting anxious...keep your eyes locked on something in the distance. It tricks your brain into thinking that nothing is moving at all. It should help with the heights thing too.
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post #8 of 19 Old 09-12-2010, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by trailhorserider View Post
Remember your horse doesn't want to fall either.
Yes....We always talk about getting your horse to trust you, but going down steep hills is a great mental excercise to learn to trust your horse!

On the sixth day, God created the Quarter Horse.
On the seventh day, he Painted the good ones.
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-12-2010, 08:22 AM
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I am terrified of heights but I do not consider a horse in my fear of heights :) I have a hard time going past the 3rd rung on a ladder and will not go past the 4th. Balconies are out of the question and flying will never happen again!

Go down the hill at a slant as much as you can, let your horse pick his way down. He will learn to get his butt under him to make it easier if he doesn't know how all ready. Make sure you are leaning back in the saddle and enjoy the ride!.

Look under the picture section for pictures of the ride I was on yesterday. Over 250 riders it was a great time!

Last edited by WickedNag; 09-12-2010 at 08:25 AM. Reason: added last sentence
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-12-2010, 10:25 AM
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Amarea, seems like it will get better with more time on trails. Some things are just really scary until you get used to it.
When on steep hills I trust my horse more than at any other time. He's got four legs and can maneuver the incline so much better than I ever could on two legs. I just remember the first time I rode in the Texas Hill country and someone told me,"Just trust your horse", and I did. Of course, the horse has to be experienced on steep inclines and in shape for it. Uphills get to me more, but I'd rather the horse canter up the incline and get it over with as soon as possible. What still gets to me occasionally is that last leap at the crest of the hill (usually a ravine) when my butt isn't up enough and I get jarred by the horse's hind quarters hitting up against me. Anybody have any suggestions on that one? I've never had any jumping training ha ha
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