How do I become a braver rider?? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 04:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
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As tinyliny points out, some fears are realistic. Those aren't "fears" so much as "reasonable concerns". For example, I'm not afraid of cantering in an open area with our Appy gelding. He is sensible. He will go fast if asked, but is glad to slow down at any time. He watches his footing and isn't likely to fall.

My Arabian mare is another matter. She gets excited and then doesn't like to slow. She also doesn't watch her footing. I've seen her fall cantering without a rider on smooth ground, so why should I trust her with my life? She also once tried to race the Appy by turning off and taking a shortcut thru the desert - which would have killed us both if she had succeeded. I think it is entirely reasonable for me to lack confidence in her cantering on an open trail...although we have started doing a little of it, in the right set of circumstances.

Beyond that, I suggest feeling free to "cheat" with tack. I feel more secure in an Australian saddle than an English one, which is why I finally broke down and sold my 2 English saddles. It certainly is easier to stay in an Australian saddle if your horse unexpectedly spins or stumbles to her knees, and I've had the bruises on my thighs to prove it!

Many times, it means to step back and work on specific training issues in a controlled area. If the horse doesn't have good brakes, then training it on the trails should come after 'installing' - training for - good brakes in an arena.

It can mean finding some short hills to practice on before trying bigger and steeper ones. If your horse has some shortcomings, and most of the ones I know do, then it means thinking about how to retrain the horse to remove the shortcomings.

It can mean taking lessons or practicing certain things in an arena to work on your own shortcomings. If you don't feel comfortable cantering in a controlled area, then it isn't going to get better on a trail!

In my mare's case, I've found she is more attentive and focused when she gets a magnesium supplement than without. That isn't true of my other horses, but the change in her is pretty obvious. It was not a cure-all, but it sure was a step that helped her.

In the end, you gain confidence when you are convinced a good outcome is likely. When you have enough good experiences in a row to justify confidence to your brain, your brain will adjust and you will feel confident. But that means being realistic about where a horse is, where you are as a rider, taking reasonable precautions and then gaining those repeated good experiences.
HagonNag, dlady, mslady254 and 1 others like this.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Ohio
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I just wanted to say I'm right there with you. It helps to know this is a common problem.
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post #13 of 16 Old 09-10-2014, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Australia
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Thanks for your support everyone! I ride in an australian stock saddle now, so that makes me feel a bit more confident as it has the thigh pads and the higher cantle. I can stick a shy at the canter too, but I still worry about it. I am having lessons and practising what I learn, so that helps. If anyone else wants to add anything, that's great. :)
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-13-2014, 09:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: State of Confusion (SC)
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If horse people are honest, they will all admit that at one time or another they were afraid. The ones who stick it out are horsepeople. The ones who give into the fear are former riders.

I've conquered major fear twice after two major accidents. The second time was easier and faster even though the accident was more serious. Why? Because I'd done it before. First you have to WANT to get over the fear. Then there are hundreds of methods that will help, but what it all boils down to is time in the saddle. The more you ride, the more you become accustomed to your horse, the easier it will be. The more hours you spend in the saddle, the more you realize that while accidents happen, they aren't the norm. Being brave doesn't mean being foolish, or taking insane risks. Careful is good. VERY good. But as you ride more and more, you will put your fear into proportion. Every good ride builds on the last one and before you know it, the fear will recede.

Being brave isn't the absence of fear. Being brave is persevering in spite of fear.

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-14-2014, 05:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Australia
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Wow! that was well said, HagonNag. 100% agree with you. I have ridden heaps this weekend, and I am already seeming to get better confidence. I found that when I went back to basics (just walking and trotting lol) and working on getting my mare to listen to me from a slower gait, we work together better, and I feel more confident. Also, hopefully we will be going on a thirty km ride next weekend. That will give me some hours in the saddle! :)
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post #16 of 16 Old 09-15-2014, 11:02 PM
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 39
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You shouldn't be so afraid of falling off. For me, falling off is fine, sure it can hurt, its just that trauma that gets to people, I believe. It definitely gets to me, that's for sure - haha. But I'm never really hurt.

But that's always why we wear helmets right? To protect our heads. Unless your jumping a big cross-country course or racing Thoroughbreds, I'm sure you'll be fine. :) Its just experience that helps, and believing that you CAN. You need to have confidence in yourself, and your horse. Trust your horse more, and it'll all be good. =)
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