Horse riding grandma nervous to ride? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Horse riding grandma nervous to ride?

So my grandma has had horses since she was 25 (She's 62 now). She had one horse who always made her nervous because he always got tense under her and he felt like he was about to take off, but he never did. That was her excuse when I asked her. He passed away about 2 years ago and ever since then she always gets nervous about riding. We have two great horses who will take you just about everywhere and every time she says we're going on a big ride around the farm it ends up being a walk around the field because she gets nervous. How do I get her over this? I think it might just be because she's getting older, but she still seems like she's 40! Any advice?

-Gracie, Scout, and Sky
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 12:11 PM
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Yes I have advice, having been there and done that.

You let her ease back into it at HER pace, now what you think it should be. When we get older, we can think of thousands of things that can go wrong on horseback and that makes us nervous. We also don't bounce like we used to, and falling off has serious consequences on older limbs, bones and tendons.

If you let her go at her pace, even if it's just walking around the pasture once, then the next time she will go further with you. Don't put pressure on her, she knows where her comfort zone is and will venture past it at her own time and on her own terms.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 02:51 PM Thread Starter
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Well that's the thing. She needs to be pushed. She has been doing the same path/ ride for 2 years. I take the horses out more so they don't get spoiled just going in one circle and being done. I feel like she needs a little push to show her that nothing will happen. Not a big one, but just maybe down another trail and around the field and back.

-Gracie, Scout, and Sky
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:12 PM
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It could be fear, and irrational fear at that. It took me a few years just tacking up the horse, then putting him away to get to the point where I'd actually mount up. If someone had "pushed" me at that time instead of letting me get to the next stage at my own pace, I would have dismounted, sold the horses and never ridden again rather than face that gut-wrenching, irrational fear.

But once I was ready to take the next step, then I rode the horse. Butterflies in my stomach, gripping the reins, hands shaking, then I got off. At least your grandmother is riding around a field. I'm still working up to that.

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:12 PM
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She needs a more whoa than go horse.
Let her ride it on her usual trails for a few weeks Then she needs to venture off a bit. Even if she's nervous. I'm nervous before going on a fair ride, Once I do it . I realize it was fun and wanna do more. She might need some pushing


But that's If she wants to do it.
I really wouldn't want my grandma on a horse lol

Last edited by Janna; 05-15-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:21 PM
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Oh one minute, I should have asked, is she complaining that she doesn't ride out on trails or ride more? Or is she happy just going around the field and back?

Sometimes I wrestle with my demons. Sometimes we just snuggle.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by horsesgs View Post
She has been doing the same path/ ride for 2 years.
And is she unhappy with that?

If she's happy with what she's doing, leave her alone and let her do what makes her happy.

If she's actually verbally told you "please help me get off this same path" then fine, help her. But if she didn't ask you to help her .... well no one likes to be pushed or forced to do something they don't want to do.

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post #8 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:32 PM
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Exactly, Red Gate. If Granny has no desire to venture any farther or faster, that's her right. Nobody gets to tell an old campaigner they're not doing it 'right' or 'enough'.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 03:39 PM
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You could always get her a mammoth donkey

When I was on the old Yahoo forums for riding donkeys, many, MANY older people (a lot of them grandmothers and grandfathers) bought donkeys for their "old age" because they are not flight-driven like horses were. Their movements are more gentle, and they are naturally cautious and careful. They tend to freeze or retreat a short distance. That's not to say they won't spook or dump you, but it's a lot less likely and 95% of the time nowhere near as dramatic as a horse wreck. Plainly, they're less likely to hurt you just by you being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It certainly wouldn't solve your speed problem, as many donkeys are not very forward, but it might help her feel more confident and eager to ride knowing she has a safe, intelligent, gentle mount she can rely on.

It seems silly when an older person feels nervous, but she's got every right to be nervous. Younger people heal much more quickly and easily from injuries than an older person, and it could have much more severe repercussions for her if she did get hurt.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-15-2014, 06:32 PM
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I was just about to ask if she is happy with the current riding she does and I see others beat me to it.

If she's happy with what she is doing, leave her be. Its supposed to be fun for her. Her fun and your fun are necessarily the same, or even alike.

If she wants to do more, then I would encourage her to try new things in her safe zone in the fields. Don't ask her to go to new places when she is not confident with just the riding itself. Get her to practice lots of turns and stops. Get her confident that SHE tells the horse what to do, when and at what speed. Teach her what she can do to make the horse stop when she wants to and if the horse doesn't want to (ORS, or circling; not likely the pulley rein for a nervous rider on a generally calm horse).
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