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I have been a trainer for many years and am developing a workshop to help people overcome fear and build a confident realtionship with their horse. I am interested in hearing your stories - What you have experienced and how you overcame your fears or if you are still struggling.
 

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I'll play.

I'd always been a pretty fearless rider and never had a problem getting on any horse. All that changed 3 years ago in May.

I have an older gelding, who although a little cranky and opinionated, I rode occasionally with no problems.

Windy, fairly cold day for May, and he was acting up. Meh, I've dealt with horses like that over the years, so I proceeded to swing myself up into the saddle. He literally exploded out from under me, bucking like a rodeo horse.

I came off, wasn't more than mildly bruised and annoyed, so tried again. My trainers had always told me, "Don't let the horse win. If he gets you off and you stay off, he'll be that much harder to ride the next time."

That advice had always worked well before, and I figured all I was going to do since he wanted to be a beast was get on, ride him around the paddock a little, and then I'd get off. That way, he wouldn't have won the battle.

I went to mount up again, and this time he meant business. I wasn't even in the saddle all the way when he started bucking and leaping around. I came off HARD that time; broke 3 ribs on my left side, my right collarbone, and got a major concussion. Sucked to be me!

It took me quite awhile to heal, and at the end of July that year I lost the horse I could always go to and ride. He never intentionally hurt me, and was always my confidence builder.

Being hurt badly like that, plus losing my once-in-a-lifetime, crushed the spirit out of me. I wasn't just afraid to ride, I was terrified. The mere idea of getting back in the saddle made me nauseous, and I'd shake like a leaf in a thunderstorm.

So my two remaining horses just lazed around, eating and getting fatter and more out of shape.

After 8 months of not riding, I decided it was unacceptable for me to own horses and never get back up in the saddle. For some people a bad accident means they never ride again. For me, it wasn't something I was willing to give up without a fight.

I knew I'd never ride again if I didn't get professional help, so I found a local trainer and explained my issues to her. She told me she'd dealt with people like me before, and was confident she could get me back in the saddle.

The first horse I rode was a kind, calm, schoolmaster older mare, who doesn't have a mean bone in her body. Even then, it took me almost 10 minutes to get up the courage to actually get on the horse. Once I was in the saddle, I was fine.

As I discovered, my phobia is mounting, not actually riding. Once I'm on the horse and they're not acting like a total loon, I'm mostly the rider I remember being.

My trainer pushed me when it was necessary, and gave me room to work things out on my own when it wasn't. She more or less let me decide when it was time to move on to a more difficult horse.

I'm now riding my own horses, except for the older gelding who hurt me. I had a vet come out and look him over, and she discovered he has arthritis in his hocks. He also has the beginnings of what we suspect is COPD. So he's retired now, and enjoying his life as a companion to my other horses.

I still have moments of near panic when I'm swinging up in the saddle, and they come at the oddest times. It has nothing to do with the horse himself or what he's doing, it has to do with my own state of mind.

It doesn't happen every time and not very often, but I'm still working on that issue. Will I ever overcome it completely? I don't know, to be honest. But at least I'm not letting it keep me from riding.

I think a workshop to help people face and overcome their fears is wonderful. There are so many people out there who want to ride again, but don't know how to find the right trainer or program to get them back in the saddle.
 

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I have battled with this off and on for 10 years. I had the usual bad accident when I was a kid, then a few out of control huge hot TBs when I was a teenager. Nothing that really bothered me until after I stopped riding regularly. In my 20s, I tried to find ways to be involved with horses again, but taking lessons on unfamilar horses had me panicking when I couldn't tell how they were going to react. I began to assume that every horse I got on would take off at the drop of a hat. Making matter worse, after all the years off my seat was awful and I couldn't regain my balance. In the back of my mind, I knew that if someone did take off on me, the chances of staying on were slim. I've worked really hard to swallow my fear, find ways to have small victories to rebuild my confidence, and stick to calm, laid back horses. I still have brief moments of gripping fear, but they are less often and not as severe. Unfortunately, it reared its ugly head in last night's lesson when Danny was getting "fresh" at the canter, and I panicked after a few times of feeling like I was losing control. Ready to burst into tears, I bailed and my trainer finished the ride with him.

I would LOVE to attend a workshop like this in my area! I think fear and lack of confidence is something that is more prevalent than we realize, particuarly in adults. But, you're not supposed to admit it, not supposed to talk about it, and "toughen up" to deal with it. Unfortunately, that only leads to frustration and giving up!
 

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This is not something that really hampers my riding, but it is something that is always niggling at the back of my mind. I love to ride outside in the open. To just meander around the surrounding fields and woods. I've been run off with a time or two in open spaces, but I am always able to get them back under control pretty quickly. However, the last time my gelding was spooked by a passing motorcycle and ran straight in front of a semi. Thank GOD the semi was going slow! The semi stopped and the man on the motorcycle turned off the bike until I could get him calmed enough to get away from the road again. THANK YOU MR BIKER!!!!!! He is normally good with traffic, and i stay a good distance away from the roads, but he hates motorcycles. When I leave a pasture or arena I am super sensitive and on guard for them to act silly. I know this could very possibly be transferred to the horse, so I take a few deep breaths and try to calm myself down. Its getting better, I don't let it interfere, but it is still a very real fear in the back of my mind. Since then we have worked pretty hard on desensitizing to vehicles, motorcycles, birds, etc...
 

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Two falls ago i had a bad fall from my gelding. It certainly wasn't the worst thing ever because i've heard stories of pretty bad falls. But i was and still am VERY new to this. Yes he was inexperienced and i realize i probably shouldn't have been doing it but we were taking things VERY slowly. Only worked a little at a time and ALWAYS left on a good note. Well one day i was trotting him very little (we had trotted a little before) and he had done so well up to this point, he trusted me and i trusted him however something caused him to buck a little and i meant to stop him but the reins were not even and when i pulled back i pulled him to the left more and to the left was a pine tree, well seeing that he wheeled around and started bucking and running, well the saddle i was using didn't have a bucking strap and as the saddle bounced it would go higher and higher and me as well, i almost rode out the whole thing but i fell off and i held onto the reins for a bit and i ended up getting rolled backwards. I only was bruised up but i was terrifed! I did get back on him even though i didn't want to, and he was really sorry, he kept coming up to me and putting his head to mine and stuff. After that though i was scared to even ride again. I made up every excuse in the book. My mom would be like, you should go ride and i made no effort to. I was just so scared of falling off again and breaking something. I'm very short and he's on the taller side so it was quite a ways down for me. Well we got a new mare and she was already started undersaddle and she was by no means 100% broke BUT she was ridden quite a bit and she was for the most part safe, she even cantered and didn't buck! But i was still afraid. However after this year, seeing how much fun everyone had and how much people believed i could do it and were perhaps a bit disappointed i did not ride her at any shows this year (i was not experienced enough and i didn't want a dangerous situation) i realized that i wanted to ride again. I realized that sometimes thats how things go and I started to be mentored by a family friend and he really gave me a confidence boost. He believes in me and has given me tips to becoming better, not to mention he doesn't take any crap. So I started slowly with her working my way up to be comfortable off the lead. Now i'm finally off the lead (during christmas vacation i rode her off the lead!!!) and i'm okay with trotting, now i'm going to work on trotting with no one leading me around and then work my way up to english saddle and posting. If i don't get there, it won't be the end of the world but its a goal. I feel like i've come a long way since then.
 

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I don't have a story to add but was wondering if you could add anything to share about building a child's confidence once they have fallen off.
 

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My biggest fear is being bucked off, or taking a fall WITH my horse. I have no problem falling off, I bounce right up (usually!)

I think the falling fear came from when I was riding a fox trotter when I was SUPER green, and I had him going along and he slipped in the mud and went to his knees. That hurt my confidence a lot in the beginning. To this day I hate riding in mud and I simply avoid it at all costs.

*Edit: I should specify on the bucking.. I've been thrown, and I've ridden through bucking, but I always have this fear of a horse going super bronc on me, me falling and getting crushed, or the horse flipping... I've visualized it in my head several times, but it's never happened.
 

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I had the weirdest problem. This all happened extremely recently..
I never had a problem riding any horse, even horses who were known buckers and who would try to buck me off or do anything else..there was nothing a horse could do to keep me off.
I had been riding all sorts of horses but my actual horse was a pony, and it was time for me to get a true horse. He's a very willing, very well-behaved, very well-trained TB. I rode him a couple of times and things went fine, but during a very early ride I was working at the trot on the lunge line with my trainer (I had gotten very much out of shape and out of practice because I had somewhat recently had a pretty long-term unrelated injury that had only affected my ability, not my mentality) and he picked up a canter, and there was a bit of a miscommunication/misunderstanding asking him to slow down which caused him to slam on the breaks which caused me to fly and I got hurt pretty bad.
Once I was able to get back in the saddle I was excited, but was a little nervous getting in the saddle..and became more and more nervous as I rode. I stayed at a walk, and that pretty much sums up the rest of my rides for several months. Walking around, me nervous and him noticing my nervousness and therefore becoming more spooky and making me more nervous. Eventually I was barely riding at all. This is where I've been for the LONGEST time. Nothing I could do could get me back to normal, and TBH I've always been a little..proud about my confidence in my riding and took a break from lessons. My trainer has been aware of what's going on, but I've just been afraid to face her with it. I felt that I needed to get to a better place before I could work with her. Stupid on my part, but..
Anyway, this is stupid but you know what helped me? The dumbest things I can think of to solve this problem. Buying a new saddle and falling off. I bought a saddle that I absolutely love and had been admiring for years. As soon as I got it, I felt like I wanted to ride again, in order to ride in it, haha. So the day I bought it I went out to ride it. By the time I got to the stable it was late and chilly and my guy was a bit jumpier, but my excitement over the new saddle got me..well..in the saddle. So I walk him around as usual, nervous..then something spooks him really bad, he takes off, I pull one rein to stop him but not hard enough and eventually I fly off and am unharmed. I JUMPED off of the ground with a huge grin on my face and couldn't wait to get back on. I was just laughing and laughing..the people who were there watching me ride were so confused. But I swear, the second I hit the ground, I felt like a normal rider again. Between the saddle and the fall..I'm riding every day and I'm not scared of a thing he does, so he's getting confidence in me again. I'm so thrilled. I've spent so long feeling so angry with myself over this. Feeling like I couldn't ride was ruining my confidence in every part of my life.
I swear, I think my mind had just convinced itself that I couldn't fall off without getting hurt like that again! I'm sure this wouldn't help most people who have that kind of fear, but it certainly helped me, haha

Anyway..I apologize for going on, it's a nasty habit of mine..D:
 

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I have a fear of Stadium Fences!

Never used too, they never phased me at all - until a couple of summers ago.

I was preparing for an Event with my Coach, working on our Stadium and things were going great! We worked on our course and everything was fluid and rhythmic and I was feeling quite confident.

My Coach then set up 1 jump, an oxer and had us go over it in a circle, time and time again. She started the fence at 2'7"ish...and gradually increased it until we got to 2'11" which is Novice height.

I thought we were done, but my coach said to go over it one more time, so we followed our regular circle, and on approach to the fence for the final time, it looked bigger than 2'11".

All I could do was focus on the height of the fence. "Man, that's big" and I stared at it. As most of us know, we aren't supposed to focus on the fence, but focus on our horse and allow the fence to come to us, not have us race to the fence.

Well, I didn't do that - I was entirely focused on the fence, forgot my horse, stopped riding and just wanted to get the jump over and done with.

Well, about 1 stride out, I dropped my horse. Let go of my leg and got ahead of him - which caused him to stop dead in his tracks. I flipped head over heels, flew like superman face first into the fence, smashed through it and landed on my back in a pile of fence rubble.

I thought I broke my nose, seeing blood on me and since I hit the fence face first. Nope....it was a metal jump cup embedded in my right arm. Still have the scar to remind me.

Even though we cleaned me up and wrapped my arm with gauze and vet wrap, I still finished my lesson and compeated that weekend and won first place out of 15 competators in my category - but afterwords...it sunk in.

Everytime I ride amongst stadium fences...I freeze. I cannot get that accident out of my head. I cannot stop thinking about the what will happen. I look at those fences, and see man eating piles of wood.

They are open, spacious, uninviting to my eye, not fun at all.

Since then, I haven't jumped a whole lot, and definately nothing over 2'0". Friends will set up a course for me to jump, and set the fences at 2'6" - but when I look at them, I think they are 3'3". We get into arguements because they swear they are 2'6", but to my eye they are way above 3'0" and I'll leave the arena.

I have to get over this rediculous fear of these stupid rediculous fences....because I'm an Eventer, and I wont beable to compete or reach my goals to be at 1* if I don't defeat this fear.
 

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I dont have any stories, but just wanted to say, some of the stories above are so sad!! =((
 

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As a rider of 35 years or more during which time I have ridden a 100 or more horses - who knows how many - including riding in several different countries
I believe that a serious fall, especially one invoking shock and maybe concussion, can bring about what I call "Post Traumatic Fall Disorder".

We do not ride with our conscious brains, we learn to ride by rote - constant repetition. The instant responses we need to keep up on a horse's back are taken in by our sub conscious brain. If a horse shies, then we have to have responded to that shy before in some cases our conscious brain has recognised that a shy has taken place. When driving a car, if another car comes up from the side, then we have braked or turned (or both) before we have visually recognised the situation.

The problem is that our sub conscious brain has reacted to a threat to the body's well being. It is well possible in regular horse riding that similar threats have been faced before but since nothing too serious has happened previously then the brain has shrugged it off. But once serious physical damage has been done - eg if the spine has been bruised or the head banged - then the sub conscious starts to think for itself. It sends out little signals and says - "Oi take more care".

The problem with horse riding is that 'tension' is an enemy. If the rider grips or goes rigid then the body's ability to react in a split second is negated.
The body can't absorb the stresses.
There is a second problem too, the horse can sense the tension in the rider.
Then the horse starts to ask itself why the rider is tense "WHat's going on?" asks the horse - "should I be worried too".

The psychologist might say that the human brain is as good at remembering as the horse is - and the human brain remembers other fears, unrelated to horse riding, which may also be worrying the individual.

How does one cope? Well first one accepts that there is a problem.
Then one learns as much as possible about relaxation techniques.
Then one goes back to the training arena to learn to sit and relax on a horse - one will need professional help for this.
Then one asks oneself if this horse riding is what one really wants to do.
Then one allows 'time' to do its healing magic.

Me, well I fell off my horse whilst it was bolting downhill at full gallop and did my self a serious mischief. I got back on after that fall and rode home in a daze.
Then it happened again a couple of months later but not quite so bad next time, just a few minor bruises.
Then I got myself another horse and I came off her, four times within a month.
Each time the physical damage was minimal but the tension was getting worse.
It then came home to me what everyone was saying - I was too tense to ride and I had not recognised it. It was time then for me to seek help.

I can ride now. But do I enjoy it like I used to? - well not really. It will take time.
But at least I have recognised the problem and that is half the battle.
Time is also the great healer.
I may also have an ageing problem - but that is my particular burden to bear not the average rider's burden.
I did write a short book on the subject but it will never be published.

The subject of PTFD needs more research. Humans have the ability now to analyse scenarios and to take measurements. If we measured the forces involved in falling off a horse onto a hard surface we would realize just how vulnerable we humans are.

Barry G
 

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I have/had a confidence issue on big horses. I bought a big young (2.5) Percheron for my husband. Was riding him one day and out of no were he bucked me off. (A REAL buck, and i still havent figured out why, best we can tell is excitement and I was asking him to slow down.) Any ways it was a LONG fall and I landed on my neck/head and rolled. I thankfully had a helmet on, otherwise I fear it would have been much worse. I suffered from migraines for 2 years after that, as he had screwed up my neck, my neck is now straight, when it should have a curve. Anyways I finally cantered this horse the other day for the first time since he bucked me off a few days ago. (He will be 6 this year) Was VERY proud of myself. So I think I am finally overcoming my fear.

That was my first lesson in learning that I could get hurt on horses. Learned it again a 1.5 ago when I was riding a green horse that decided to dart to the side and I lost my seat and fell under her where I was trampled and dislocated my knee.
 

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Hoofprints.
Rehabilitation of a fearful rider is a very serious business. As the therapist you would be playing with a human's psyche. At stake is the future of both the horse and the rider. At some stage in the process, the afflicted rider must get back on board an animal whose very basic instinct is to run away from anything unfamiliar. Fear rules in such scenarios.

I have been a horse rider for a long time. I have owned 6 of my own horses. My hobbies in life have been scuba diving and flying - other adrenaline sports. I never underestimate the impact of fear on a human and I have myself experienced 'terror' more than once.

The need for a rehabilitation centre, I agree exists. But any progress comes about in the presence of both horse and the rider.

In such work there is a need for a team of experts eg: both horse and human psychologists, rider trainer, horse trainer, physiotherapist & sports therapist. There is also a requirement for a small herd of bomb proof horses.

One has to take on board that there is no quick fix for this ailment although time itself is a great healer.

I came to the conclusion that this is a venture for a Sports University not particularly a commercial venture - the costs would be too high. I can imagine that other dangerous sports have a similar requirment for example climbers and skiers.

It will be interesting to hear what organisation you feel you can put together.

B G
 

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I am a fearful person by nature. I don't even like driving a car! But I was never really afraid of horses until I bought a pair of horses that came together.

I was ignorant and rode both horses, but never away from each other. But I bought them and brought them home and discovered they were so buddy sour that they wouldn't leave each other willingly.

The mare (the horses I thought I really wanted) took to rearing and refusing to leave our property. I never got physically hurt, but mentally she really got me scared. She had me so frightened that when I got on my old, gentle horses I had butterflies. Now that's bad, because the old horses I had had for like 10 years and they were in their 20's and had never hurt me. But the fear spread over to them.

And the little gelding that came with her was a bit sneakier. He went away from the barn but always felt like he was going to pull something. I told myself that I was just afraid of him because of her. And then one day when a family member was riding him, he freaked out (because he was quite a ways ahead of the group), slammed into reverse and fell over backwards. Luckily the rider was unhurt.

So after that I knew BOTH of them had to go. And I paid a horse trader to take them and sell them at auction. I lost a lot of money on that transaction, but the worst part was that I was hurt mentally. I must let you know that I am anti-slaughter for the most part, and I hope the horses found real homes with people who were braver than me, but that was when my innocence with horses was lost. I used to think that if you loved them enough you could work through anything, but those two horses shattered that. I am now a really paranoid horse buyer.

I did regain my confidence for the most part, because now I have two lovely trail horses that I feel comfortable enough to ride alone. But the whole situation left me with a mental scar that I don't know if I will ever get over completely. Every horse that is a stranger to me reminds me of the evil duo and I don't trust them until they prove that they are good horses and not like the evil duo. I guess I have trust issues. What's sad is that I used to assume all horses were good. Now I tend to assume they are bad until they prove otherwise. :-(

But my Mustang was a gift from God, because who would think you would regain your confidence with a Mustang? But he is the most perfect horse I have ever owned. And now I have a lovely Foxtrotter who seems to have nothing but the sweetest and best intentions. So maybe time will heal the wounds eventually.
 

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i have an intense fear of the horse falling over on me around a tight circle. likea motorcycle tipping over. it happened to me when i was about 10 when i was riding up to a jump, and this past fall when cutter fell with me and i sliced my jaw open from the fall and required lots of stitches in my face.
i want to show in the summer but i dont think i can canter the whole course bc of the sharp turns. ill probubly trot the turns lol
i hate my phobia
 

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I've never had issues with fear before. 6 months ago I fell off and due to injuries I couldn't ride for 4 months. But it wasn't a big deal, just counted down the days and as soon as the doctor said I was fine to ride I was back on the horse. It was great. Maybe being a teenager has a lot to do with it, the whole invincibility idea.
I fell off about two weeks ago, and this time broke a vertebrae in my back. No more riding for the next 9 months. I can walk if I wear a back brace but not for very long. I know if I get back on a horse I will have a ton of confidence issues. I think hurting my back has sort of put things into perspective for me, that horseriding can very easily put you into a wheelchair.
 

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Let me start by saying I have never been bucked, thrown, or even fallen off a horse. I actually tried to fall off Hoover, but always caught myself. I've never had an injury beyond a few scrapes. I love horses, but have always had a terrible fear when first mounting, and for a while of falling or having the horse take off with me.

As to the first, I haven't found a solution. I just suck it up and get on. I guess it only makes sense, as it's a particularly vulnerable time for a rider...one foot in the air, only partial control of the reins, etc.

The second Hoover fixed for me, in an odd way. We were having an argument about turning, and he gave up and fell over. On me. We both got scraped up...my elbow and his nose, and it winded me horribly. He came over and started pulling my shirt he was so worried. After a half an hour talking to my instructor to understand why this had happened, I got back on him. While I was scared at first, I fixed the problem (which had been my mistake), proved that Hoover would wait for me if I did fall, and learned falling didn't hurt all that badly.

The third is from an incident. I was riding with a friend, and the barn she was at had given me a hot mare, which I didn't know. Her owner ran her the trail we were riding. She fought me and fought me to go faster until we reached a massive downhill...and she took off. I had her chin in her chest and she didn't care. She took a three foot high tree trunk, charged across the creek in the valley, and started up the other hill weaving through the trees. I finally got her stopped, and nearly fell out of the saddle, clinging to a tree and bawling. In retrospect, she had beautiful form and it felt like flying, but at the time I was convinced I was going to die. Ever since this, when riding a horse downhill, I had a moment of crushing fear that this will happen again, even with Hoover, even with our sweetest, most level-headed lesson horse, Pappy. I have to admit, it has gotten better with time and knowledge of the horse I'm riding, but it comes right back if the trail or horse is unfamiliar.

The other thing that my trainer has done for me is forcing me to ride spooks, which has really built my confidence. I can specifically remember riding Duke with her riding Drift...Drift is losing sight in one eye, and spooked badly. I was suddenly facing the other direction with Duke tearing across the paddock, and me crunched up with a death grip on the horn. And I suddenly realized...how is Duke supposed to know I want him to stop? So I did as I had been trained...dug my feet into the stirrups and leaned back, slowing pulling him up.

I guess a lot of my fear is situations I don't know how to react to, and making them worse instead of better. Knowing how handle them seems to be the key to me dealing with the fear better.
 

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Nearly everyone I know who owns a horse, has experienced in their riding career a serious incident which either did or could have led to injury. I know quite a few people who have broken their backs.

The scenarios which the rider remembers the details of present one type of problem. Bit by bit the rider can put together the key elements and the rider can work out what went wrong. The rider can then learn from the incident and can form a plan as to how to cope in future.

The scenarios which can give serious long term problems are those which the rider cannot remember in full probably because of loss of consciousness. Shock does funny things to people. The brain which controls our reactions does remember though - it is this auto response brain which we have to re-educate
and that is not easy.

The gripping, the tensing of the thigh muscles, the clenching of the glutes, the pressure on the stirrups,
the tightening of the calves, the rigid posture, the shortening of the reins, the leaning forewards, the panic, then the anger. Once you recognise that you are tensing then you can relax bit by bit - with practice.

The horse meanwhile is asking itself -"what's going on?". It is looking about. It shortens its steps, the ears start to twitch. It pulls at the bit; it reaches down. Then it does a little shy. Then it does a full shy and comes off the ground. Then it stops and refuses to go forwards. The rider kicks it on and the horse goes into trot then canter.
The chain of events is so predictable.

Probably the only solution is to suppress the fears in the first place. Although you may have a mental image of what to do for the best - how do you persuade that part of the brain over which you have little control?

Someone actually suggested to me hypnosis.
For others it is a change of horse.
For most - time off from horse riding - with the risk that then one will not get back on.

To conquer the fear and its side effects one first must recognise it. Then one needs some very sensitive, knowledgeable, experienced, professional help.
And I suspect time.

B G

Perhaps if one does experience such fear one can now better understand one's horse!
 

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I have a fear of falling off my horse.
I used to be 100% fearless of falling, it was great I'd jump anything on any horse!
After 3 falls cross country and a fall in stadium I took it down a notch and started to focus on jumping lower.
Then I got my gelding, and when I started jumping him I jumped him low. I gradually built up to two feet. My horse is a very spooky horse, and when he spooks he doesn't just jump to the side he EXPLODES.
I decided I would try some very very small cross country logs. He was doing good so I progressed father into the field to try one, just one more, no bigger than the last.

When he landed off that jump he exploded, unlike any horse I've ever seen before he bucked me off his back and high into the air, bolting and sending me headfirst into the ground, I sustained a severe concussion and don't remember the rest of that day, it's almost like it didn't happen.

I got back on and haven't jumped much since, shame on me but recently I want to get back into it. Like, small cross rails!

I had another fall in December, I was riding in the ring alone [which is a rare occurrence, there is usually at least one other horse in the ring] and it was windy. I don't think I had ever ridden my horse alone in the wind, but I didn't even think of that, I wasn't even expecting him to spook or anything.

Well, the wind kicked some ice up onto the arena door and my horse bolted, I stayed on the rail, so to speak, and went hand first into the ground this time. I had to get 4 xrays at this point because my hand is still in pain, and has a huge bump protruding from it to this day.

And that's when it kind of hit me, in all of my years riding my horse is the only horse that has really hurt me. I've fallen off many horses to get up with little scratches and nothing more, I've been thrown into jumps, thrown off spooking horses, I flew off one horse cross country who bolted off course randomly and decided to fly back to the barn. I fell off a little POA pony at a prelim sized bounce and the pony actually jumped over me and never before have I been hurt, but with my 16.2 hand appendix horse his falls have hurt me extremely bad. And I still feel the effects of the last one!

So now when I ride I'm so conscience that it's disturbing, I'm constantly anticipating something to cause my horse to spook and me to fall, but for some reason I'm just amazing at hiding this. I can make it so my fears don't translate into my riding so as not to encourage my horses own nerves.

But I don't want to be afraid to fall, cause I know everytime I fall and get hurt I lose more and more confidence, and it's bringing me down.
 

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Mickey- two things:

Don't be worried about confessing your fear - you need to be honest with not only yourself but with your horsey friends. You need their encouragement and you need their understanding. There must be no pressure on you to jump or to compete but there should be gentle encouragement for you to ride out on nice days when the horse seems to be relaxed.

Do flatwork in the arena - walk, trot, canter, changes of pace, changes of direction, shoulder ins, pole work - all that fancy dressage stuff.

Secondly - by the sound of what you have written, you need a good instructor to watch you riding to make sure you are not tensing up. My guess is that you still are. If your own sharp, sensitive horse does pick up that you are tense, then it will not receive back from you the confidence it needs to have when riding out. If you come to feel any anger, any need to shout at the horse, then you will know your fear is still working through your system.

Look up the Dr Alexander web site and read about relaxation techniques.

Take your time.

B G
 
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