Knocked Confidence - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-15-2019, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: England
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Unhappy Knocked Confidence

Hi everyone!

So, around six weeks ago, I had my first, fairly bad fall off my horse which resulted in a cracked rib along with a lingering pain in the shoulder area. Throughout those six weeks of recovery, I couldn't wait until I got back onto my horse so I could continue on with lessons/general riding. But things didn't seem to go as smoothly as I was hoping.

So I got on today (probably my third or fourth time of getting on after recovering) and felt completely overwhelmed with my horse not listening to me. I felt completely out of control, like I was bouncing all over the place and just generally felt/looked awful. Now I know people say you must take it slow after getting back on after a bad fall and that nerves are to be expected, I just have the issue with that I didn't feel particularly nervous at all. All I felt was frustration and, after Sophie began to canter multiple times when I asked for trot, I got off of her and felt so overwhelmed that I was on the verge of tears.

I guess what I'm asking for is just advice on how to properly handle this weird feeling of frustration I get when my horse seems to be taking advantage of the fact that I'm not 100% up on my game yet. I know that she doesn't have an excessive amount of energy as she is regularly ridden by mother (close to daily, if not every second day) so I can't help but feel like I've lost all of my ability. Has anyone else had that before? Is it just my mind playing tricks on me?

I'm unsure if it's related to my fall but I highly doubt it was because I didn't fall off in the school. I decided to ride Sophie back to her stable bareback but, instead of her walking back, she broke into a canter and I panicked. I tried to box her into a corner as I could feel myself slipping but, of course, she went right and I went left. From there I collided with a wooden fence post which had a metal bolt sticking out of it (So blessed that my injury wasn't worse). Obviously I know where I went wrong and I don't hold much blame against Sophie as it was mainly a rider error which caused the issue I just really don't understand why I had this overwhelming amount of frustration fill me so rapidly when Sophie began to not listen to me at all.

Literally any suggestions/tips are welcome because Sophie and I were making so much progress before the fall and now I feel like I'm completely back to square one again.

Thank you
stubbornamber is offline  
post #2 of 8 Old 07-15-2019, 01:44 PM
Yearling
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
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Can someone else ride her before you do?
Filou is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 07-15-2019, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Hi @Filou !

My mum tends to ride Sophie before I do anyway so she was all warmed up for a simple walk and trot x
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post #4 of 8 Old 07-15-2019, 01:55 PM
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Well, do everything you can to help your rides be successful to begin with. For example, have someone ride her right before you do, so the 'edge' is taken off.
Ride in a saddle.
Wear some breeches with sticky patches
Wear your helmet, and maybe wear a protection vest for a bit.


And, you may try riding a really steady, easy going horse for a few times to get you confidence back. It's possible that because you are wary, you are leaning forward too much (the fetal position) and this causes you to grip up with your lower leg, which your mare feels and it makes her anxious, too.


I guarantee you that this will pass. Just keep that in mind, be patient, and have faith in your ability to get back to where you left off . . . and carry on.
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tinyliny is offline  
post #5 of 8 Old 07-15-2019, 03:18 PM
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What about ground work and trick training? Different ways to get your horse to focus on you. It's not all just about riding. It's about friendship, respect and focus as well. Have a look at liberty stuff. I will say that when I am working on ground work equally, if not more, that week, my horse will be several times more calmer and focused on me. Things like teaching her to pick up each leg when pointing. Bowing, laying down. "Freezing-a-pose" is our recent success! The weeks I was a bit busier and forewent the ground stuff she was far more disconnected. I ride her bareback as well but she isn't the type of horse you can just hop on. She needs a warm up (mentally and physically) and then for me to take it slow. It's about acceptance and all the things I mentioned before. If your horse rides fine for your mother but yo're struggling I'd say this is more a you issue. You will feel more in control if you can succeed on the ground with her as well. good luck and congratz on surviving the fall :) (we horse ppl are nuts >.<)
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post #6 of 8 Old 07-16-2019, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2011
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I also wouldn’t hesitate to have someone lead you and or lunge you for a bit. When I moved my horses home from a boarding barn a year ago, I gave up having an arena to ride in. While I have been a trail rider for a long time, it occurred to me once horses were home that I almost always mounted and did a lap of the arena before riding out.

In our new environment, my horse was edgy, so I was too. The first couple of rides, my husband literally led me down the road on a lead rope after I mounted. It took a couple of times for me to be comfortable going it alone, even though rationally I knew it made no sense. For nervous riders you really have to do what it takes to turn your body (more) confident because without that your horse will feed off it.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-17-2019, 11:42 AM
Green Broke
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
Well, do everything you can to help your rides be successful to begin with. For example, have someone ride her right before you do, so the 'edge' is taken off.
Ride in a saddle.
Wear some breeches with sticky patches
Wear your helmet, and maybe wear a protection vest for a bit.
And, you may try riding a really steady, easy going horse for a few times to get you confidence back. It's possible that because you are wary, you are leaning forward too much (the fetal position) and this causes you to grip up with your lower leg, which your mare feels and it makes her anxious, too.
I guarantee you that this will pass. Just keep that in mind, be patient, and have faith in your ability to get back to where you left off . . . and carry on.
I second the suggestion of riding a really stable horse for a few lessons if possible. Even getting out on some trails/paths with your mom riding your horse and you riding one you trust would be beneficial. If your mom is not having issues with your horse just watching what she does and how your horse responds may give you some clues. Tension in the rider is easily transferred to the horse. Being able to relax and enjoy the ride is a good thing.

Falling and getting hurt can shake the confidence of a lot of riders. Understanding how and why it happened certainly helps. But mostly it takes time in the saddle and successful rides to rebuild our confidence and improve our skills. Here's a solid truth about horses and riding...you will never quit learning. Just about the time you think you have spent decades figuring out this activity, along comes some horse to show you how much you haven't learned. : )

Good luck. Keep at it!

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
Dustbunny is offline  
post #8 of 8 Old 07-17-2019, 06:50 PM
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Let yourself have a bad ride. Let it be short, let yourself be frustrated. Take all the safety precautions you can to feel as comfortable as you can. Then get on, and get off again when you're done, even if it's five minutes in. Just get on, and if it's crap, shrug it off, and try again another day.

Right now you're assuming that because your first ride back was bad, that there's a huge problem. But it might have just been one bad ride! The next ride could be bad too, but it could also be absolutely fine. Great, even. It's tempting to extrapolate from one ride that everything is terrible now. But even riders in their top form on their most trusted horses have absolutely garbage rides sometimes.

In short: don't overthink, at least for now, and take it one ride at a time.
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