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I learned how to ride when I was about 7, and took lessons for several years until the accident. I think I was about 10. The lesson horse I was riding spooked and took off. I lost my balance and fell off, but got stuck to the saddle somehow. Bruised, broken, and very shaken up, my mom took me home, and refused to let me get near horses again.
Fast forward about 15 years, and I'm back in a barn! I've been taking lessons as often as I can, which is not nearly often enough, but I've only ridden my horse a handful of times. One of those times was a few weeks ago. I had some free time in between chores and decided to hope on for just a few slow laps around the arena. On lap 2, something spooked my 16.2 powerhouse of a warmblood, and off we went. I could NOT get him to stop, had flashbacks of the last time this happened, panicked, and bailed. I was knocked out, and ended up with a bad concussion, a torn hip flexor, and a couple cracked ribs. After I came to and calmed down, I did try to get back on, but I was so nervous that my horse started to freak out again and I decided it would be better to not risk dying.
It's been about a month, and I got the all clear to ride again... but I'm terrified. My horse is going back to his trainer (there's a huge back story to all of this, he was going to go back anyway), but I'm afraid that even once he comes back, I'll still be afraid of him. My friend brought over her 'kid-safe' gelding the other day for me to ride, after some convincing, I got on bareback to just walk around... but I was so scared the entire time that he was just going to take off.
I don't want to be afraid. I had such a passion for this before I fell, so many goals and dreams... but now I feel like I don't want any of that anymore. I think it's just my nerves getting the best of me, and I know I need to get my butt back in a saddle and start rebuilding that confidence... but I'm just feeling kind of hopeless about it.
Have any of you experienced anything like this? How did you talk yourself back into a saddle?
 

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I am going out on a limb here to say that it sounds like your Warmblood might have been a bit much of a horse for you to retrain or restart again. I have run into this several times when giving lessons and a few times experienced in my younger years. I scaled back. I would most certainly restart on a well trained, easy to manage horse that allows for errors with out taking advantage and is "bomb proof" with a good instructor that has worked with students with fear issues and confidence building. Not all instructors are good at this. By starting at a lower level on a well trained horse this can help you reclaim your confidence and overcome fears. Graduating slowly as you develope or redevelope your skills and mental state while handling small issues little by little. Of course the instructor you chose should be sensitive enough to know your limits but know when to push you to overcome problems as they arrive.

I had a bad spill off a horse and I back scaled to a more level headed horse with no issues and progressed slowly back into the more advanced levels. I also took advantage of stress/anxiety breathing methods (included meditation skills) that helped me control my anxiety, stresses and emotions including fear. This might be something to look into. I have incorporated this breathing and anxiety releaving methods into my teaching to help students to relax and gain thier confidence levels little by little and will push them only when I feel they are ready to progress. Getting back on is importatnt and better yet on a lesser powered horse esp in the beginning. Have a trainer (like you did) deal with the more powerfull horse's issues before you tackle them. It might be a while before your ready but by going slow (as long as your progressing) is ideal and before you know it you will be back at the level you once were. Its not easy but dont feel like youv'e lost the battle and dont let other ppl force you beyond your managing levels. Remaster the skills first then tackle the more advanced stuff. When you are back to riding your warmblood begin in a more confined area (like a large round pen or such) with a knowlegeable instructor, that way if something arises you can deal with them with out your horse having so much room for freedom to bolt or dart or what have you. Working on a lunge line might work also. That way the instructor has some control also.

I was in a nasty car accident once and I was terrified to get back into a car. (I rode the bus to work for a long time afterwards) First I just sat in my truck (practicing my relaxation exercizes) then sat in my truck while it was running then I took a little drive around the block and so forth and so on. I was frightened to go around the block and back. I had a friend sit in the passenger side with me the first few times but then I went out and did it myself and little by little, bit by bit I was back on the interstate in no time. (scared to death the first time but I got through it). This same theory ir idea can play when getting back in the saddle.
 

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Just being honest here...

Your horse didn't get you hurt. YOU got yourself hurt by jumping off a stampeding horse. Most times I hear about someone jumping off, they end up very injured from it. Yes, he was bolting but he it doesn't sound like you were in immediate danger.

First, I think you should learn how to do one rein stops and to do a pulley rein. Both have their uses and disadvantages. I prefer pulley rein myself over a one rein stop. I think a one rein stop can just get dangerous in certain situations. Both are good to know though.

Go back to basics, do lots of groundwork. If he's spooking that badly and reacting that strongly, there's holes in his relationship with you and in his training (don't feel bad about this, I bet most if not everyone on this board has had a horse with an issue like this). I think you need to give your horse confidence in YOU, to trust you enough that something spooking him doesn't turn him into a maniac. Try desensitizing him to different scary objects and try to teach him to spook in place.
 

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The only time I've ever had to bail off a bolting horse actually happened a few days ago. My horse spooked on a trail when we were coming down a hill and I couldn't stop him at all. My friend was with me but about 15 ft ahead and I didn't want to run into her blindly but my one rein stop wasn't working (I had a .5 second window until there was a tree… but I missed it) so I bailed and rolled. Luckily I've learned how to fall off when I can control the fall, so I ended up only getting road rash and a sore neck… the usual. Bailing off a bolting horse, especially in an open and flat area, is pretty dangerous and even though it's scary to not be in control- bailing should be a last resort in that situation.

It sounds to me like the situation was a fluke, or perhaps even a rushed thing (since you had only ridden the horse a couple times, maybe there wasn't enough communication between you two at that time and the horse decided to take advantage of that). I have lost my confidence numerous times, and I'm still recovering from a fall that happened mid last year when my horse flipped over a jump in a bounce line. My trainer explained it to me like this- riding horses isn't a race. You don't have to reach a certain point by any certain time, and if you lose your confidence- take steps back!

I would strongly suggest taking the time to work back into an understanding partnership with your horse. Do a lot of ground work, build up to simple flatwork at the w/t, and work up at the pace you are comfortable with. Always have a trainer or someone there to encourage you positively and who knows what they are talking about. Falls are scary, but the longer you hold off getting back in the saddle, the harder it will be to convince yourself.

Just remember there is no goal you have to reach in a certain amount of time. Who cares if it takes you two months to canter again? As long as you feel confident and comfortable when you reach that point then there's nothing wrong with that. Stay safe and only push yourself to comfortable limits at this point.
 

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I just wanna point out how lucky you are about your hip flexor... I tore mine a few years ago, and it didnt heal properly. Now my hips and pelvis are out of alignment and i can't ride for more than 40 minutes or so :/
 

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When I lived in N.Cal, my riding group had a saying: "You aren't a REAL rider 'til you've fallen three times." Oh, my!

I've only been dumped once, and it wasn't too bad. The only time I really got injured was when my horse ran off with me and I rode it out -- into the Shetland pony barn with a too-short doorway. I ducked, but my back skimmed under the lintel, "skinning" me from shoulder-blade to waist. OUCH.

That was THIRTY YEARS AGO, and it has affected my decision-making, ever since. I CANNOT ride a horse that is forward or gets light in the front. I have a beautiful, pristine Stubben Camelot close-contact saddle that has been used less than a dozen times -- a present from my husband, who, in my younger days, was trying to coax me back into going hunter-jumper. It didn't work, and I'm sure it still looks lovely beneath its dust-laden cover.

A few things I would recommend: (1) As the other posters have recommended, start with ground work. It will improve your horse's confidence in YOU; (2) Always lounge your horse before riding; (3) Don't ride bareback til your confidence returns; (4) Invest in break-away irons; (5) Consider selling this horse and buying something that's more equal to your ability now.

Yep, I wrote it. Every mistake I've ever made in horse-buying was due to the fact that I let someone talk me into buying a horse that I could "grow into." Horses are smart and can figure out your weaknesses. They can feel you tense in the saddle. A really manipulative horse will use your weakness against you and act up in ways that it knows will scare you. What you NEED at this point is a confidence-builder, not a confidence-destroyer. Please consider re-homing your warmblood so you can buy something more appropriate -- a been-there-done-that, non-powerhouse of a horse with a forgiving attitude and more experience than you have. ;) You can always buy a 16.2 hh powerhouse later, when you're ready for a challenge.

(And if your trainer is the one who talked you into buying that warmblood -- then you need to find a new trainer.)

Just my two cents. Good luck!
 

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Well, from what you tell us, I think you are over-horsed at this point.
My suggestion would be to stick to a mellow, well broke horse for now, and a western saddle. I would not get on bareback. Regaining confidence after injury is an individual thing. Some people are successful, others to varying degrees, still others not so much. Not meaning to be negative but it seems if you want to be successful you need to feel as comfortable as you can. Your fear is going to be passed directly to you horse so a calm critter might be your best choice.
I wish you the best. This will take some time.
 
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