Confidence for me and my horse. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 06:21 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Milwaukee
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Confidence for me and my horse.


Long story short, I adopted a horse who has a little baggage (he was mishandled quite a bit in the past), and I am having trouble gaining confidence with riding him. I am admittedly rusty (it's been 5 years or so since I seriously rode) and he is rusty as well. I think he hasn't been ridden for about that long as well.

I rode in the past, but it was a horse I had since I was very young (11ish), and now as I'm getting older, I am obviously a LOT less bold.

The past two times when I rode him he coiled up under me like he was about to bolt or even buck, but he didn't.

I have been nervous riding because I am at a new barn and always have lots of spectators, and western is a new discipline to me.

I have been told about the singing tip but what else might help?

I think I also may take a couple of lessons just to refresh me and the horse.

Thanks in advance. :)

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 07:53 PM
Join Date: May 2011
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i know what you are going though, and the best thing is to go back to basics. Grab a nice brush and give your horse a massage. Go for a walk with him. Maybe get to know him a bit better, and let him know you. You need to be very patient and show him that you can be a leader, and can earn his confidence. This will not happen overnight, and will take some time. The thing i think that you are having a problem with is not trusting the horse, which because he doesn't trust you is just waiting for an accident. You can't magically gain that trust in one day, you'll have to start small, which is why i suggest all the off-saddle stuff. You would also probably greatly benefit from riding another horse first, just so you can get back into it on a horse that doesn't have "baggage." Maybe ask for a western lesson or two, if possible. Unless you're on some sort of deadline to train this horse you probably can afford to go a week or two without riding him, just make sure he's still exercised =) To me it seems like you have a new barn, new horse to deal with, as well as a new discipline, on top of which you're not all that used to riding right now. Just take some time to get used to everything, and let your horse get used to everything.

For riding, i have found singing to help. Also, small circles help. They make you feel more in control, as well as forces the horse to balance. If a horse is turning in small circles he is less likely to speed up or buck/rear, because he is trying to balance himself. Maybe try making a small 10 or 5m circle in each corner. You could also maybe get him used to the arena first, maybe lead him through it or free lounge him.remember to let the horse have some fun too, and let him associate the arena with something good. I don;t know your horse's specific problems, so i'm mostly trying to go by what a younger, green and maybe slightly mistrusting horse would need. I wish you the best of luck, remember to enjoy your horse, you never know how long you have them =)
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 08:48 PM
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Sounds like lots of ground work is in order and develope a relationship taht he is focuses on you and trust will follow
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 10:01 PM
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I completely understand what you are saying. I have anxiety when it comes to horses well mainly riding, i'm completely fine on the ground (which brings my confindence down). When I was younger it used to be super bad! It sucked! I had such a large passion for horses and my anxiety stopped me from doing stuff I really wanted too. Well I decided I had to push through that.

My anxiety has come far far FAR down when I got my own OTTB because after a few years I trust him but still till this day my anxiety "flares" up. So this is what I have to do. I work on ground work to make sure he is still focas on me. Just chill with him. Do join up and what not. Have him go over traps for the fun of it. Maybe hope on bareback and just walk around.

What also helps me if my anxiety still has the best of me is then I ask someone to come and make sure everything goes well during the ride. Usually after the first ride someone is there then i'm fine to go for a while.

Is there anyway you could have someone you feel close with to come with you while riding untill your confindence is up?

Chad Barnes 6-16-85~7-22-13
Hero Act - Thoroughbred Gelding ~ Gunner - Quarter Horse Gelding ~ John Deere - Mini Gelding
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 11:01 PM
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^^ now that Hero mentions it, it's probably a good thing that there are lots of people in the barn, if anything happens, they'll be there for you =)
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-01-2011, 11:55 PM
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I lost my confidence after a fall many years ago. I took some lessons from a trainer that had been through the same thing. She was able to understand where I was coming from and worked me through it. Best money I've ever spent :)

A lot of ground work and time just spent with your horse will help too.

I agree with the poster who also suggested that you ride another horse first as you regain your confidence. Most trainers have lesson horses for you to ride. Work on you first in the saddle, and your new horse on the ground. When you feel more confident, you can move to saddle work with him.

Happy Trails!
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-03-2011, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks so much you guys. :)

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-04-2011, 10:02 AM
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I understand where you are coming from I had the same problems with my new AQH horse so I have spent the last 8 months getting to know him and getting him to trust me and me to trust him. Whenever I used to get on him I was scared because I did not know what he was going to do he is only 4 so very young. We are now getting a good relationship I think it was all too much for him new yard, new environment, new horses and a new owner. He was as unhappy as I was. Now we are getting it together an I can do anything with him on the ground I just have to put that into trust into riding him. I am also having western lessons on another horse which gives me confidence. I also have lessons in the school at my yard and if I ride him on my own (no lessons) I get a friend to sit and watch which also gives me confidence in case anything should happen and also she can point out if I am doing something wrong. Its all about confidence and keeping that positive energy. Its so easy to get put off when something goes wrong and takes so long to get back up to where you were. Keep thinking of the good days and don't think of any of the negative. Good Luck.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-04-2011, 11:13 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Milwaukee
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It is definitely a trust issue, as in *I* don't trust him. For the most part he trusts me, but when I get on him I feel nervous and he picks up on it.

We have a lesson (together) Thursday.
Yesterday we just hung out together, I free lunged him a bit, we played some clicker games, then I walked him outside a bit while there were fireworks going on. Scary stuff, but he was okay after a bit.

He is on Smart Calm Ultra, and when I had him at my folk's house he was getting it in the morning, the barn I am boarding at feeds it to him in the evening. I asked them to switch that for me. :)

"My treasures do not clink together or glitter; They gleam in the sun and neigh in the night."
-Arabian Proverb
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