Getting So Frustrated with Myself =( (rant rant rant) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 02-06-2010, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
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Thumbs down Getting So Frustrated with Myself =( (rant rant rant)

Lately I am just so annoyed with myself when it comes to riding. I don't know what to do at this point.

I've been riding for over ten years now and used to ride every day. I had a horse I would ride ALL over..for awhile he was staying at a sort of mountainous property and our "arena" was a hilly little gravel path around her property and we'd gallop down that path and jump over logs, I'd ride him all over the trails behind her house and he'd happily go wherever I told him, but even when he was afraid I never was. From time to time we'd trailer the horses down to the beach or out to some public trails and he'd be a little nervous at first but I could handle it well.
Then I moved him over here to my current stable and I'd be out every day riding him, working on anything and everything I could think of from reining stops to collection to bareback and brideless..I was truly loving riding and I like to think I was as good as I could have been at it. I'd even sit his very rare bucking sessions and random decisions to take off running like a maniac without a bridle on..haha
I felt like nothing could possibly phase me.
Towards the end I got a pretty bad non-horse related injury that kept me out of the saddle for about six months, and maybe it made me a little bit more aware of the chances that injuries could happen, but after it I went back to riding the same as always so I figured I was mentally unharmed by it.

I eventually decided to pursue an actual discipline and I chose jumping (though now since all of this and general change of interests I've switched my sights to dressage), but with that decision I decided that it was time for me to finally make a late graduation from large pony to horse, so I made the tough decision to sell the little guy back to my friend (who now lives much further away) and purchase a horse that could help me learn to jump.

So I found a horse that seemed suitable. Kainne is a 13 year old 16hh TB gelding who is really very sane for a TB..but he still is a TB if that makes sense. He's in no way bombproof, but he's mellow and does clearly have experience. He was ridden and jumped by a timid kind-of-beginner rider and carried her well. He does carry me well, too, I have to say..BUT.
When I brought him home I was fine. His trot is a lot bouncier than I'm used to so I didn't ride it much and saved that mostly for my first lesson. So I took my first lesson and my trainer had us trot along on a lunge line while I worked on getting in better tune with his trot. It was going well, I believed, but as she told him to pick up the pace (he was being lazy) he thought he was supposed to pick up a canter so he did, and I tensed up because I wasn't paying attention, then we both asked him to stop and he sort of slammed on the breaks..he has some pretty good breaks on him. I flew, I guess. I got hurt pretty bad, it was my sacrum..couldn't "get back on the horse" that day for sure. Or for quite awhile. So guess what happens when I do get back on? Of course, I'm nervous as hell. But I push myself to keep getting on..and I do, until eventually I can ride him around okay, a little nervously at first but I settle down and we do fine. But I just can't get to that trot. I just can't get myself to do it. I've switched totally back to the western saddle for now until I can calm back down, but it's still not quite enough to get trotting. Well, not on him. I've ridden my former horse a few times and it was like old times, as though nothing had happened. I've even ridden my mom's horse (a rescue who was severely abused before and doesn't trust a human on earth except for my mom so he's really nervous if I ride him) So it really is just this horse. This one horse, who is actually really sane and well-behaved. He really is actually safer than the other two, which is the funny thing.

Anyway, I've been avoiding my trainer because of the sheer fact that people watching me riding makes me nervous now. I feel like I have to be doing everything perfect. I used to ride all over the place and had no issues no matter who was there, but I used to be able to RIDE. But I know this is a stupid issue I need to get over because she's a really great trainer..she's very patient and kind with just enough "push" at exactly the right times, never before you're ready. And I'm pretty sure she understands very well just what I'm going through right now, so it's really dumb of me not to have already just talked to her about it..I'm sure she would be more than willing to let us amble around in the western saddle and get me back in the right frame of mind so that I can ride like normal. I've decided that for sure I'm going to contact her ASAP and schedule a lesson.

But at the same time I'm just SO annoyed with myself. I haven't taken a single lesson since I was about 10, I've never relied on a trainer. Any obstacle I reached I would cross on my own. I just think at 17 I'm too young to have so much unrealistic fear of a horse. I've never been afraid of a horse before in my life. I was always the one who would get on all of the crazies. Awhile back I came about an inch away from buying a bit of a wild mare who was horribly mismatched with her owner at the time and because of that had a really bad bucking habit that I was going to work with her on, and I could have because the same thing happened to a slightly lesser extent with my former horse and the only reason I didn't buy that mare was financial.

So just looking back at everything, I just get SO frustrated. Sometimes when I'm sitting here thinking I wonder if Kainne and I are just mismatched, but at the same time..when I'm with him I don't think that for a second. We get along great and I've really fallen in love with him. On the ground not a thing he can do phases me, just once I'm on his back I'm a different person and he knows it and is less sure of himself, too. It's become this huge disaster and I just need to work with my trainer ASAP.

It's just awful though. I've come to treat him like an entirely different species than other horses. Other horses I'm never afraid of, just him. Just because of a stupid accident that wasn't even his fault. I get so upset thinking about it. I just wonder how I became the horsewoman I am right now, after everything I've been through. I swear it's driving me crazy..

But I guess I'm not really looking for any advice, only support. I know just what I have to do and that is to buck up and get back to work with my trainer, so I will be doing that.

But anyway, I'm sorry for ranting on like this, I just have a lot pent up I guess on top of my usual tendancies to go on way too much.. if anyone actually reads through this they are an absolute saint and I thank them a million times over.
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post #2 of 5 Old 02-06-2010, 09:01 AM
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Hello Rockyxpony, I'm sorry that at such a young age ( and from where I am sitting 17 is young) you are feeling your own mortality and fragility. This usually occurs much later down the road.

With that said, I can relate to a few things that you said is your post. At least, what came through to me after reading it.

First thing that hit me, was that you had no fear while riding your pony. That was probably due to your tender age, as I had no fear when I was riding every horse the riding stable would throw at me when I was young. It is natural to not have fear when young, though not wise, we don't feel our mortality than. So here you were , happily riding said pony anywhere and everywhere with joy, confidence and a self assurance in your ability and skill.

Fast forward to your injury (not horse related), and you 'connect the dots' between how you rode and the 'what ifs' . You could see that if something happened, you could be possibly injured and not 'walk away". Welcome to the other side of riding. ;) That is something we older riders are aware of every time we step into the stirrups. But we have learned how to be aware of what could happen and still enjoy ourselves.

It's just at your age, you have 'glimpsed behind the curtain' as Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz, and can no longer ride in that wonderful bubble of unrealistic belief that nothing bad can or will happen to you. You will learn to rebuild your confidence while still keeping the wisdom you have acquired that , yes, you could get injured. And, you did, self fulfilling prophecy, because like you said, you were not paying attention. Broken rule number one, be a rider not a passenger.

You will probably not just go blindly into any riding situation now, without first assessing the possibilities first. That's a good thing. Doesn't mean you won't ride where ever, but you will have an awareness. And I do not look at awareness as fear. I look at it as a tool where I am using my brain to analyze the situation to keep both me and my horse safe. (btw, I am a confident trail leader and my friends trust me completely because of my analytical abilities, and yes we still have a fantastic, exhilarating ride).

Second thing that stood out to me is what starting happening to you when you began riding lessons on your current horse. The trainer sounds very capable and I hope you have talked to her about your fears and frustrations. Part of your frustration sounds like any other rider who has discovered that there is still so very much to learn and master. I understand this, and sometimes look back on the earlier days with both a wistfulness and embarrassment.

Wistful because I was so confident in what I did and what I thought I knew. Embarrassment, because I didn't know what I thought I did! The more you learn the more you realize there is so much more. It is ever demanding and can be frustrating. You probably are a good rider, but now you are on the path to be a better rider. It can be so frustrating and demanding and we sometimes look back and say, I didn't have this trouble before. Nope, we didn't, because we didn't even suspect that there could be so much more. Not sure if I'm making sense, but I think you get it.

That might be part of the reason you are nervous when people might be watching you ride. Push that aside. You are riding for your own joy and are on the path of improvement. It's all good.

Persevere, you are at a 'speed bump' and with the help of your trainer, you will regain not only the confidence you lost, but a confidence you will have earned.

Best of luck to you,

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post #3 of 5 Old 02-06-2010, 11:20 AM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Oregon
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I've had similar experiences so I can kinda relate. I've never been hurt as badly as you have but I definitely understand the feeling of knowing you have a fear and feeling kinda silly because you feel mentally like that fear is "irrational" but then physically you just cannot move on past that fear. I'm 19, so kinda close to your age. =)
If it makes you feel better, my fear is cantering. About 5 years ago I rode a lesson horse that had a severe bucking problem. Usually I could ride it just fine but knowing hat he was going to buck at least once a lesson, at the canter, scared me a little. Then one day he was having a really bad day and really went bronc on me. I still remember flying through the air, I can still see the ground coming up towards me, and I can still remember the feeling of impact. To make matters worse, half of my back slammed into the arena doors as I fell and I got a pretty bad cut on my back that I still have a scar from.
Anyway, I have a very intense fear of cantering any horse I don't feel completely safe on. If said horse has shown any inclination to bucking, there is really no way you could ever convince me to canter that horse.
What helped me out quite a bit was riding tons of horses I don't know, just walk and trot, by myself. Eventually I started feeling brave enough with the calm, dead broke ones to ask for a canter. It also helped that my "trainer" understands how scared I am of cantering so she never pushed me. She tried once and discovered how much that backfired and now she just kinda lets me choose if I feel safe cantering or not.
Another thing that has helped me out is that Lacey never bucks at the canter. She'll buck sometimes right after I get on (very very rarely) but she loves to run so much that she just doesn't want to waste precious running time, bucking! Heehee

Maybe riding a bunch of different horses, maybe not your horse yet, at the trot will help you get more comfortable with your horse. Maybe your trainer has a horse of a similar size and trot to your horse that you can practice on? That might be helpful, if you can feel totally comfortable with the Kainne's trot before you even are on him. And definitely talk to your trainer. If she's worth her salt, she'll try to help you get past this fear in a way that doesn't scare you more.

Hugs! I've kinda been there and I can tell you, you'll have to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone, and you will have butterflies, but it's THE BEST feeling when you do the thing you're afraid of and discover that you can handle it!
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Rest peacefully, Lacey.
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post #4 of 5 Old 02-06-2010, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2007
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Thank you guys so much =) it's so nice to have people who can better understand what I'm going through! Most of the people I'm around are not horsey so they can only really have so much understanding of my horsey problems..haha usually anytime I'm talking to them about a problem I wind up having to give a detailed explanation to every other word I said (common question received: "What's a trot?" *rolls eyes* hahaha)
That's a really good idea to try riding other horses at the trot more..there really aren't that many available for me to ride because I'm at a smaller stable mostly filled up by very very casual riders who just come out once in a blue the moment there aren't any lesson horses at all (but my barn owner is working on that so that could help)
But I will definitely try to ride my mom's horse on his better days and will be trying to get up to visit aforementioned pony ASAP because I miss the little guy =P it's a four hour drive though! I'm hoping she'll move back closer soon..but anyway. I notice that I do feel more confident about Kainne after I do ride other horses..especially little Rocky because I remember all of the problems we've worked through together and everything..

So I'll definitely work on that ASAP and start talking to my trainer as soon as I recover from this awful flu, haha
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post #5 of 5 Old 02-06-2010, 07:02 PM
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I completely understand where you're coming from. When I first bought my boy Ice, and OTTB, I had no fear of him....I just hopped on and went like any other horse. We were fine for awhile, until he decided he just didn't like his saddle anymore. He bucked and took off on me, which I got under control and managed to stay on. However, I was just a little shaken by the incident, and took a few weeks break from riding him. I got back on on a particularly chilly and windy day, and as we were slowing down to a walk, he decided that wasn't what he wanted anymore, LEAPED into a gallop, I lost my stirrups and my reins, and chose to bail out over his shoulder. Its been.....two months? since I've been on him. I'm getting a new saddle pad sometime this week, and I'm going to see if some shoulder/wither relief will do anything for him. I might end up having to buy a new saddle. I KNOW I need to get back on, but he just keeps making excuses for me :)

However, what REALLY helps me is seeing him behave. My trainer is going to start conditioning him at the beginning of March, and she came out to give him a go around yesterday (in her english saddle) and he was absolutely perfect. Completely crappy form, no stamina, but he was super willing and awesome. Maybe you can have your trainer ride him for a bit to calm your nerves?
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