Does the fear go away? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 62 Old 01-23-2016, 09:54 PM
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Jan, some fear is healthy and I also believe lots of time in the saddle and getting better skills on a trusty horse is the answer.

But if fear is paralyzing or keeping you from having fun, then it's a problem in itself and has to be dealt with. Riding should be fun. If the horse passion is strong enough to make it worth it, there are ressources to help: books, groups, coaches etc dealing specifically with overcoming rider fear.

DraftyAiresMum: I'm the same. Fine doing crazy rides in the wild but feeling panicky in an arena at any pace faster than slow trot. Those walls-fences come to me way too fast.
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post #22 of 62 Old 01-23-2016, 09:55 PM
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You are not alone. I have fear often. I'm not afraid of my horse: I've put a lot of time into understanding him and knowing what to expect in different situations. But I am afraid when things get dicey and afterwards I have that moment of, "wow, what if I hadn't handled that so well? That could've been bad!"

The way I deal with it is by not dwelling on it. I learn from it if I can. I spend more time with my horse to make sure we understand each other. And every time I get in the saddle I have an unspoken contact with myself to stay in it. I have just enough riding experience now to know that I can handle a variety of different situations on the fly. So I try not too worry about what could happen and trust myself to handle things. Because once I'm in the saddle I have no other choice.

I think you could drive yourself crazy with worry. I have an anxiety disorder that I have had to learn to live with and sometimes it is hard to let things go. But I think like everyone else said it helps to get that experience so later you can tell yourself that you handled it before.

Work from your comfort zone, but work on pushing yourself out of it a little at a time every day or you'll never leave it. Set small goals for you and your horse. Keep them appropriate but meaningful. Then when you achieve them set sone new ones.

And on days when you find yourself lacking confidence go ahead and fake it: you never know who you might end up convincing.
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post #23 of 62 Old 01-23-2016, 10:19 PM
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Don't worry, you are just being an adult ;)

When we were young, we didn't think about risk. Now, I get on a plane and think about it crashing. I hate driving on slippery roads in the winter. And I don't like that Harley gets stressed when I ride him outside. I want to trail ride, but he gets pretty worked up about it. In the arena, he's just fine. But I keep taking him out as much as I can, even if it's just around the property. He needs to get over it and I need to stop having worst-case-scenarios of him throwing me flashing across my mind! It doesn't help that when I was a teenager, I had a horse that was terrified of cars and freaked if one went by us. One time, we met a big dump truck and I could feel him getting ready... he jumped into the ditch head first, losing a shoe in the process. Somehow I stayed on. When I took Harley out on our rural road for the first time (only for the 500 ft or so that separate our property from our neighbor's where he is boarded), my heart was in my throat. I never knew that memory had stayed with me that long! A car came and I struggled to keep control. Harley didn't even flinch. Turns out he could care less about cars. He just doesn't like going away from the barn and wants to run back home. And when he starts prancing, and I try to slow him down, and he throws his head in the air and starts to go sideways, I get stressed, but talk to him in a quiet voice.

I don't want this to prevent us from enjoying our riding time together so I've decided I will continue to take him outside and ride him up and down the road ten times in a row if I have to until he just gives up. But what if he doesn't? What if he gets fed up and rears and I end up on the road and my horse is flying back to the barn without me? Guess I'll just have to take that chance...

One of the things I realized that I really enjoy about getting back into horses is the challenges. Every time I ride, I try to improve and every time, a new challenge comes up. Nothing huge, just little things, like holding the two-point a little longer and balancing a little better. So I agree with Cathartes caballus, push yourself just a little bit, but not too much. You will become more confident and more relaxed and in no time, it will be second nature.
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post #24 of 62 Old 01-23-2016, 10:30 PM
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My unflappable 22 year old gelding spooked once last year while riding. Yep, just once in the 3 years I've had him. His "spook" felt like a small jump, kind of like a person would give when saying "eek!". That was it, but it was enough. I quickly turned around and we went home.

You see, I started riding as a 28 year old. I didn't have years as a fearless child. Every interaction with horses has been as an adult with a healthy sense of self preservation. I have no health insurance and most frequently ride alone. I cannot afford, in many senses of the word, for something to happen. But that's sort of the risk we all take isn't it?

I've noticed that even now, several months after it happened I tense at that same spot when we ride by. I don't mentally feel distressed by it but my whole body goes taught. I make myself relax all of my muscles as we approach it now and I hope that in time my mind will forget.
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post #25 of 62 Old 01-23-2016, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Folly, I hope people aren't being judgmental about you and your concerns. And I hope, that when I've told you to pass on a horse because you don't have experience or confidence, you understand that I'm not judging. I just don't want you to set yourself up for failure or injury, and I'm going by the info you have given me. We each have to find our comfort zone and figure out for ourselves if that's where we want to stay or if we want to try to push past it into other experiences. Only you can know how far you want to take something, it's not up to anyone else to tell you what or how you should do things.
Oh no - you've never come off as judgmental at all - your posts always come across as compassionate. I sincerely meant that it was nice to hear that story about your friend, and I didn't detect even a hint of criticism. Your comments and advice are always appreciated!
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post #26 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! Maybe it's just an age thing and I shouldn't overanalyze. I am not always afraid, so it certainly isn't keeping me from riding. It's just new/unknown situations and also after a spook/stumble that I get nervous. I'll keep riding for sure!
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post #27 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 10:49 AM
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The more hours you ride the more incidents will happen. The more they happen the better your confidence will grow as you deal with each event.

As said, the older you get usually the more responsibilities you have, children, job, home, so the thoughts at the back of your mind are going to kick in for self preservation.

Experience of hours in the saddle will give you more confidence.
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post #28 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Foxhunter View Post

As said, the older you get usually the more responsibilities you have, children, job, home, so the thoughts at the back of your mind are going to kick in for self preservation.
That's a lot of it...I don't have an inflated ego or anything, but I'm pretty important in my children's lives at their current ages (5 and 11). A local woman my age was just killed in a car accident and left behind her 4 kids under age 12 so that's make me a little flighty about my own mortality, too.
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post #29 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 11:34 AM
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One thing I have noticed over the years is how so many top women event riders do not compete at a top level once they have had children. Mary King (UK) is one that has but many really good riders like Lucinda Greene, certainly slow down.
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post #30 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 11:34 AM
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I was the same although I'm only 19 now ;)

When I was a child I had no hesitance around horses ! I once went into a paddock with 3 horses because I refused to wait for my grandfather and when I sat by a tree one of the horses rolled right near me almost crushing me. Luckily the farmer next door saw me and told the horses to ****** off. I had so much fun with horses.

In 2014 I had an accident and then my hesitance began and I haven't got over it. I have bills to pay and people I love that I don't want to leave behind.
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