Fear of riding?

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Fear of riding?

This is a discussion on Fear of riding? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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        03-29-2009, 02:10 PM
    Arrow Fear of riding?

    I have two nieces, and they are both excellent riders. They used to show together nearly every weekend! The oldest, Leanna, had a riding accident just last month. Her horse threw her into a fence and she hurt her arm real bad. The doctors have given her the 'OK, you can ride now' time and time again, but I haven't seen her in the saddle since February. She says she's afraid to canter again.
    It's very important to both her mother and I that she rides again because not only is she a very skilled rider, but riding runs in the family, and she used to LOVE it before her fall. I keep telling her that even the most experienced of riders hurts themselves in a fall like that, but she simply wont listen. Any ideas for how I can get her back in the saddle, and fast??
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        03-29-2009, 04:34 PM
    I doubt it would be possible to do it fast. You can't force someone over a fear like that if you want a lasting recovery. I would suggest not putting any pressure on her; let her hang around with the horses first, grooming or leading or stroking them, then gradually work up to sitting on a horse again and getting off, walking in an arena, only trot when she's completely comfortable with walking and stuff. Don't expect her to suddenly ride at her previous skill level; let her get used to everything again.

    And if she really doesn't want to ride again, you may have to just accept that - it would be a shame, but you don't want to make her hate riding by forcing her to do more than she's ready to do.
        03-29-2009, 04:56 PM
    I don't have any.. specific advice, but I do have a story that relates to this & can probably help.

    Two years ago, I was riding a very advanced horse my first week cantering. The first time another girl let me ride her horse while we cantered, so I didn't have to canter him. The rest of the week, I tried on my horse. He was stubborn and would NOT go. The last day of the week my instructor fallowed him and got him canteirng. Being the beginner I was, I fell right off.
    My confidence wasn't messed with; I was okay with it. It'd just been too hard and I'd known I was going to fall.
    For some reason, my instructor asked me to ride him again the next week. I was the only one riding him at all, and he was very hyper the first day. Going over some poles, he reared and off I went.
    I switched horses and was fine for the rest of the week, but I didn't canter.
    I switched onto a very smooth pony the next week and was excited to try and canter again. We were doing amazing until that Wednesday, another girl tried to pass me and our ponies raced. Mine got too excited and I fell. After that, I was done. No more cantering for me.
    It was only the third week of the Summer, but I didn't canter again at all. For a while after that, I was terrified of cantering.
    One day in a lesson, my instructor forced me to canter and though I was scared, I put up with it. I was too scared to realize how much I actually liked it and didn't canter again.
    I began riding another horse, whom I stayed on for months and months. I trusted him so much and after I while, I decided to let him "take off" with me and cantered a few strides. The next week, I was begging to try it. We were whizzing around the ring by the end of the day- now cantering was all I wanted to do.
    I had a few falls after that, but I knew I'd want to do it eventually so I kept getting back on. (:
        03-29-2009, 06:59 PM
    Tell her you want her on the horse just for a few mins. And then she can get right back off. That's what I do when little kids fall off then they like it and want to keep riding
        03-29-2009, 08:01 PM
    If I were you, I'd say, "Get on for ten minutes, alright?" Make sure she's on an easy horse. Be like, "Since your scared, you only have to stay on for ten minutes." And then after ten minutes, be like, "Alright, you've done your time. You can get off now." She'll realize she doesn't want to get off and won't.
        03-29-2009, 09:48 PM
    I agree she'll be begging to stay on but don't force her
        03-29-2009, 09:52 PM
    Yeah. And if she's like, "I don't wanna get off" be like, "But you said you were scared.." She'll want to prove you wrong. If she doesn't wanna stay on, just let her get off and keep building it up. Ten minutes walk one day. Twenty the next. Maybe just ten the next day but a little trotting. =]
        03-29-2009, 10:08 PM
    ask her to warm up a horse
        03-30-2009, 01:00 AM
    If she is scared after a fall don't put her on any horse resembling the horse she fell from. E.g height, color etc.
    Also please don't force her or pressure her. I had a bad fall once and terrified wasn't the word. I was beyond scared of getting back on a horse. (i broke all my ribs on one side and fractured a hip from the fall)
    Well anyways I started working at another riding school/livery yard (didnt have my own horse) and my mum after a couple of months spoke to a lady with the quietest horse and asked her to get me back up... Well she casually told me 'whenever you wanna ride just say and you can ride lilly'
    Im like ok yeah knowing I wasnt going too but one day after telling me I could ride she was riding the horse and I was like hey you said I could ride. Well the lady asked me to hold her stirup so she could get up on the horse and out of no where my mum gave me a leg up on there. It happened so fast I couldnt say no. The lady led me around on a lead rope till I said stop I feel like a baby and she took off the lead rope and I suddenly realised im doing this myself. After that you couldnt keep me off the horse :) just thought I would share.... might help. If not good luck
        03-30-2009, 04:17 AM
    I would just give her time and let her work through her fears herself. Don't pressure her and don't ever disapprove. Even if she says that she just wants to groom a horse or lead them around. So long as she is around them, she will remember what it feels like to ride and eventually, she will want back up there. The worst thing a person can do is to force someone through a fear. That just concretes it in their mind and makes it harder to get over.

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