Does the fear go away? - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 12:14 PM
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The thing that keeps me in check is that I have no fear. I have a healthy respect for these great beasts but somehow I pretty much just don't have sense enough to get scared. Now that I'm "ahem" older, I have good head knowledge of what can or could happen and that makes me a little more cautious. I've never been afraid even when circumstances dictate that I should be, and when I was a kid that meant I sent a few Guardian Angels into early retirement. Now, looking back, I can say, "Oh my God, what in the world was I thinking?" and that little demon on my other shoulder is saying, "Oh yeah, but it sure was FUN wasn't it?" and I have to say, "OH YES it sure was!". I was extremely lucky to not have had nearly as many bad outcomes as I deserved. So now, since I firmly believe Karma will get you, I am a whole lot more cautious and try to control my tendency to leap before I look. But I still leap....LOL!

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post #32 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 12:34 PM
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Aha, DreamCatchers post makes me think of something else

"I have no fear" there are individuals who have their threshold set so high that they do not feel fear, I always remember my Dad talking about a guy he knew in the war, who simply did not feel fear. The important thing here, there is a difference between not feeling fear, and being brave.....if a person is genuinely fearless, they get out there and do their thing, as DC says they may run a sanity check if something is sensible, but that is it.

Us nervous, scared types, well we are the ones who are BRAVE, feeling the fear and doing something anyway, that makes you brave. So IF and WHEN someone says something about fear to you, remember that you are in fact BRAVE, because you are fighting through it...

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post #33 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Golden Horse View Post
Aha, DreamCatchers post makes me think of something else

"I have no fear" there are individuals who have their threshold set so high that they do not feel fear, I always remember my Dad talking about a guy he knew in the war, who simply did not feel fear. The important thing here, there is a difference between not feeling fear, and being brave.....if a person is genuinely fearless, they get out there and do their thing, as DC says they may run a sanity check if something is sensible, but that is it.

Us nervous, scared types, well we are the ones who are BRAVE, feeling the fear and doing something anyway, that makes you brave. So IF and WHEN someone says something about fear to you, remember that you are in fact BRAVE, because you are fighting through it...
I LIKE that GH, it's very true. There's nothing brave about not having sense enough to get scared, you actually do some pretty dumb things until you have amassed enough experience to realize what you've done.

Being afraid, like having the kind of wreck you had, and then working through the fear and getting back to things you were doing and being able to do them again even though you're scared spitless, now that is brave! Hopefully, with time and distance and repetition, the fear will go down and be more manageable, but that first try......WHEW!

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post #34 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 02:48 PM
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I started riding my mare when I was in my early 30s. I first took lessons on her, and I was nervous to canter because of some falls. Then I started free leasing her. My nervousness moved to fear because I didn't have the safety net of an instructor there to talk me through things. Sometimes I would be so nervous driving to the barn to ride on my own I'd be white-knuckled on the steering wheel and doing deep breathing exercises to try to bring my racing heart back in line. I have no idea why. Intellectually, I knew that doing anything around the horse when I was acting like a tiger was about to eat me was completely counter-productive. But emotionally, I couldn't get a handle on it. Having and working with this horse was something I wanted to do SO MUCH, yet I had never felt that apprehensive about anything else since I can remember.

Early on, I was very worried about bridling my horse (not others, just mine. Makes no sense, right?). She would toss her head a little bit, and my mind immediately raced to her bolting away from me, dragging the tack, getting tangled in it and falling, breaking her leg while also causing an accident in the parking lot. Seriously. Not rationale fears. In the first few months I leased her, I had my arm up around her neck/over her poll to bridle, and she threw her head up and caught me by surprise, actually lifting me off my feet. Looking back, I think that scared her as much as she scared me, and she immediately threw her head down, which caused me to land hard on my knees, which hurt like you can imagine. That about sent me over the edge because it confirmed my fears of bridling. For a few weeks, I would only ride when I knew there was someone else there that could help me put the bridle on. Then I just sort of decided I was being ridiculous. I saw small children at the barn bridling horses all the time. Nothing terrible happened. That sort of snapped me out of it.

I repeated conquering these irrational fears through all the ho-hum daily horse ownership chores: catching her in the field, riding alone at the trot & canter, riding on trails in a group, and finally, riding on trails alone (I needed a whole journal here on HF to get through that one!! ). But all along, I just kept thinking that having this horse of my own was literally a life-long dream, so I needed to have healthy sense of self-preservation while trusting my horse and myself. I bought a horse that was appropriate to my skill level and generally sensible and honest, so I needed to stop worrying about the things that were very, very unlikely to happen. Once I did that, I started having a lot more fun, which caused me to carry myself with more confidence, which caused my horse to trust me more- it was all a big self-fulfilling prophecy.

Like many have said, I think for me, it was just repetition and time. And conquering small things successfully. Now, over 4 years into owning her, I can laugh at my early fears and also realize how much progress I've made. And I still feel incredibly lucky to have [and enjoy] her!
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post #35 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 03:14 PM
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I "see" potential accidents waiting to happen the same way that kid in the "Sixth Sense" saw dead people; everywhere! Wish I didn't. All I can do is ignore the ones that are ghosts of past issues and mind the ones that need it.
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post #36 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 04:01 PM
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I really don't think that most children have the same fear thing as adults, I had plenty of falls as a child and some bad ones but they didn't worry me much at all - I did have a pony that I disliked but looking back the reasoning wasn't fear related
As an adult who's ridden pretty much continuously all my life and lots of different horses I can honestly say that now I'm older I do worry a lot more about falling off than I did even just 10 years ago, because based on science I'm going break a lot more easily and have a higher risk of secondary problems. If I'm out of action it has a knock on effect on everything else - who looks after the horses mostly!!!
If I was an older person taking up riding after a long break I'd definitely look for a good solid reliable horse that gave me tons of confidence - and that doesn't have to mean its a boring old ploddy thing - just one that you can trust.
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post #37 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jan1975 View Post
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!
If you think of these incidents in a positive way, they can actually build confidence rather than cause you to lose it. Things do happen and when both horse and rider handle them in a correct way it's a good thing and you should give yourself and your horse credit for that. As adults we don't feel as invincible as when we were younger and it's natural to feel a little shaken up at times, but I prefer to say to myself "Good thing I was paying attention when that happened" rather than thinking that it could have resulted in something much worse.
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post #38 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Golden Horse View Post
Aha, DreamCatchers post makes me think of something else

"I have no fear" there are individuals who have their threshold set so high that they do not feel fear, I always remember my Dad talking about a guy he knew in the war, who simply did not feel fear. The important thing here, there is a difference between not feeling fear, and being brave.....if a person is genuinely fearless, they get out there and do their thing, as DC says they may run a sanity check if something is sensible, but that is it.

Us nervous, scared types, well we are the ones who are BRAVE, feeling the fear and doing something anyway, that makes you brave. So IF and WHEN someone says something about fear to you, remember that you are in fact BRAVE, because you are fighting through it...
Like Dreamcatcher, I never had any fear, or not that I remember. It wasn't so much being brave or insane with many of the little beggars I rode, it was just a chance to ride for free!

I also did something as a child when I was about 4.5 years old because I was frightened and when I realised how I could have harmed my baby sister, I vowed to myself to look at fear before running!

However having said that I do agree with Golden in that those who are afraid are braver in facing their fears and continuing than someone like me.

I do agree that the ground gets harder as you age and along with knees and other parts wearing out so does the bounce ability!
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post #39 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 06:12 PM
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Fear is an odd thing. I've been shot at in combat and it didn't bother me at all. If anything, I was too mellow about it. Some adrenaline would have been a good thing, and I had none!

When I was around 20, I had some chances to ride on ranches, and fear never entered into it. I had a chance to take jumping lessons for a few months...no helmets back then, and no instruction that I remember. Just started jumping and slowly increased the height until I was transferred. Then I didn't get on a horse again for decades.

Started riding again at 50, and a few months later was hurt in my one fall. It was 5 years before I could go back to jogging again. I don't know if that was it, or age. I do know that near the end of my flying career I was more cautious than I was at the beginning.

In any case, riding sometimes scares me. Sometimes I'll knot up inside, and my horse isn't doing anything. I can understand getting nervous when my horse starts to melt-down. Anyone who has been on a horse spinning mindlessly on a road with cars coming, or bolting mindlessly down a trail toward a dead end, understands perfectly rational fear.

But I sometimes get it for no reason at all. Then I have to make a conscious effort to push my knees away from the horse just to keep from gripping tightly. I'll breathe, and count 1-2 breathing in, 1-2-3-4 breathing out. I used to sing, but apart from my voice, I think the horses have caught on to singing = nervous rider.

Weather conspired against my riding much in December, and now I've started a temporary job that has me working 6 days a week for the next few months, and getting home around sunset. I could use some more time riding 13.0 hand Cowboy. Not just because he's short, but because he is the most practical horse I own. I think I could ride him without stirrups for an hour at a time and TRUST him. He is an utterly SANE horse. Not a dead head. He'll haul butt if asked, and has some attitude at times. But he is also completely sane and sensible.

I guess I'm saying there are no magic cures. A horse can be both spunky AND level-headed, and that is ideal (Cowboy). Bandit may get there, but he needs consistent riding and that will be non-existent for the next couple of months. Seven years after taking riding up again, I understand why a level-headed and trustworthy horse is darned expensive. They are worth their weight in gold, and that is often the price of one (although Cowboy was free because they THOUGHT he was difficult, when in reality he was just being ruined by his time as a lesson horse).

Good luck. Remember that it is OK to STRETCH your comfort zone, but that you do nothing to help by LEAVING it!
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post #40 of 62 Old 01-24-2016, 07:55 PM
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^^I like the "spunky but level headed" label-mine fits that. People are always shocked to hear she's in her 20s when they see her ridden.
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