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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry this is so long, but please read.

Today i said, i'm going to ride my horse, Cloud. I got her all groomed and tacked up, got the mounting block, stepped up on it, and put my hands on the saddle.... and froze. I eventuall got on and just sat there, with her still tied and not going anywhere. As soon as she kicked a few times at some flies i decided that it was so dangerous and jumped off as fast as i could.

This isn't the first time this has happened either. i've only ridden my horses 2 times this whole entire year. And each time i was terrifed the whole entire time.

When i was 10, i fell off a horse that bolted at my grandfathers, when I was 13, i got bucked off my first horse that was very green. And now at 14, I fell off one of my horses that bolted. This time I fell straight on my back and could not breathe for a long time, and pulled my groin muscle.

I think i'm afraid of the horse bolting and me falling off. The horse that i tried to ride today, is dead broke and would never buck me off or bolt, and i'm sure of it. But as soon as i am about to get on any horse, i freeze, then decide to do something else.

I asked my parents if i could take riding lessons at the local place for $10 a lesson. But they said no. I thought that riding a lesson horse would boost my confidence. I am very afraid to tell my father that i am afraid of riding horses. For he, well, i can't really explain him in words, but he's one of those, tuff, horseman guys, and get's on a horse and tells them to go. And i feel if i tell him he might get mad at me and pressure me to get on. And then i would be embarrassed because i would freeze. I almost broke down crying becasue i kept telling myself to get on, but i couldn't.


Please, if you have any tips, please give them to me. As being 14, and loving horses and not afraid of them on the ground, and wanting to have a full horsey life, i need to not be afraid. Please give me some tips.

Thank you
 

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Would they let you take lessons if you paid for them? Also, you have horses and no coach? I am guessing because your Dad may/may not play that role?

I agree that a confidence building schoolmaster will definitely help you out. You need miles in the saddle without any major issues or problems.

As for Cloud, has she given you any reasons to doubt her? Or to be fearful of her? IE. Kicking, bucking, rearing, mean in nature, etc?

Tell us more.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, i have asked if i could pay for them, but a-lass, my father said that i don't NEED a teacher and that he would be my teacher, and all he thinks there is to horseback riding, is knowing how to walk, trot, canter, and gallop on a horse.

I would love to learn how to jump and ride dressage. Since he has grown up a western rider, he does not know how to ride english let alone teach me how to do what I want to do.

And as for Cloud, she is perfectly funny. A wonderful horse! As I said she is dead broke and even my father has ridden her and my brother. So no, I am in no way afraid of Cloud as just a horse, buti riding her is a different.
 

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Do you have a friend or know someone who has a very safe, reliable horse? Sometimes you just need to know your horse doesn't want to eat you :lol:

Are you in a 4-H group? Maybe you could find some friends and go for rides together, with you riding their trustworthy horse and them helping work out the kinks in yours. I joined a 4-H group this year (I'm 13) and I've made friends who would def. help me out if I needed a confidence boost.

Would your dad let you have lessons if you paid for them? Why doesn't he want you to take them? Price, fear, protectiveness, does he realize it's important to you?

Good luck, and keep us posted!
 

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Deciding to go for a ride is not a confidence-booster.

If you have access to a computer, you could check out Parelli, where they explain that deciding to go for a ride is direct-line thinking (predatory): your goal of a ride overlooks what Cloud might need. I am not saying that Parelli is right on everything, but they are right on this predatory thinking (horses are prey animals). Your uneasiness about mounting may be an intelligent instinct that just saddling up & climbing on isn't so "savvy" (although you ascribed it to your prior falls). You could learn the 7 Games without an instructor (for just the price of the dvd & a rope halter, 12' lead, & a "carrot stick", all of which can be found cheaper than Parelli sells them for) as a start. They're groundwork that'd give you much more skill & confidence, & understanding of and partnership with Cloud, for when the time comes to ride. Plus, the mounting is not all in one step; there are safety checks/steps that you should learn. I hope that this helps.
 

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When I was 14 my parents bought me my first horse. The first 3 months I owned him he was an absolute ANGEL, we won everything we entered and he never put a foot wrong. Then suddenly he started bolting, bucking and generally just being a big turd. At one point he bucked my coach off and she broke her collar bone. I lost all of my confidence at that point. Every time I got on I would walk and trot around a bit, but I was too scared to canter him in fear he'd run off, not to mention I wouldn't even get on him unless I had lunged him for like 20 mins first.

We ended up selling him (there's no way my parents were going to pay the board/vet/farrier/etc when I wasn't even riding) and I continued on riding some calm, familiar horses for the next while but I was never truly confident. After a while of switching around barns, trying to find my confidence I stopped riding all together. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that I REALLY, REALLY missed riding and at that point I started looking for horses to ride.

I found that taking a break from riding made me realize how much I love the sport, and how silly I was being before. I still get nervous sometimes when cantering or riding hot horses but I am now able to look past the fear and realize that the horse is just being the horse, just because he's quick or spooky doesn't mean he's trying to hurt me.

I think in your case it might do you good to stop forcing yourself to ride. Take a break. Spend time on the ground with your horse, lunge her, play with her, take pictures of her, just hang out with her - but don't feel like you have to ride her. She'll be ready and waiting for you when you're ready.
 

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Do you even WANT to ride? Is this something you want to do, or are you being pressured? If you don't want to, hopefully you will be allowed to walk away. There are many hobbies out there, riding is not for everyone.

If riding is something you really want to do, you certainly need to be comfortable on the horse, no matter what discipline you are riding. Don't worry about whether you should be jumping or doing barrels, just learn to sit a horse. Whatever style tack you have, use that, for now.

Try going back to the very beginning. See if you can get someone to lead the horse as you ride her, so you can just reaquaint yourself with how it feels. If you are nervous, try circular breathing: inhale for the count of 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, hold for 4, repeat.
Good luck, have fun and be safe.
 

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i really feel for you and i know what is like te be nervous on a horse. i was when i first started riding my horse without an instructor. i think lessons would really help you, keep on at your dad. and if he still wont give in there is always time when you are an adult to take lessons, maybe you could get a job now? earn a bit of money and when you learn to drive, take yourself to lessons, there is always a long way around of your parents wont take you to lessons.

for the time being still try riding your horses, just 15-30 min walks would be fine for a nervous rider. your horse kicking at flies shouldnt be a problem, even the quietest of horses kick at flies, remember that your horse is not trying to get you off.
 

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Do you have a friend or know someone who has a very safe, reliable horse? Sometimes you just need to know your horse doesn't want to eat you :lol:
I think she explained that her horse is just that.

I was in your father's shoes at one time. Horses were in my blood probably from in the womb - but not my children's. I forced horses on them and got mad when they didn't do it right. I was one of those fathers who thought I could teach my kids and didn't need anyone to help. The end result is that I have 3 adult kids (2 are married) that couldn't care less about horses.

Were I you, I would have a friend with me when I go to ride and have them lead me around. It may seem silly but I've helped a lot of riders with little or no confidence begin that way (it's a shame that I didn't learn that technique in time to teach my own children). At first, if you did nothing but mount and stand there, that's fine. Doing stretching exercises while mounted is the next step, then, finally, moving. Take things slowly and in small, successful steps.

I realize that you have already ridden but sometimes it's best to start from the very beginning again. It builds your confidence one step at a time.
 

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Were I you, I would have a friend with me when I go to ride and have them lead me around. It may seem silly but I've helped a lot of riders with little or no confidence begin that way (it's a shame that I didn't learn that technique in time to teach my own children). At first, if you did nothing but mount and stand there, that's fine. Doing stretching exercises while mounted is the next step, then, finally, moving. Take things slowly and in small, successful steps.
This is good advice and does indeed work well for someone at any age. I couple years ago, my sister (60+) visited one weekend and said she would like to try and ride one of our mares. She hadn't been on a horse since a short equestrian course in college (all in the ring, 40 years ago) and was a bit unsure of what to expect. I put her on our bomb proof lead mare and 'ponied' her from one of our young mares. After about 30 minutes of riding (including riding on the road with cars) she said she was ready to 'cut the cord', she did fine, and had a great time.

Take your time, get some confidence, and have fun.
 

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that acully happened to me after a month of being nervous of jumping because of a fall thimk i can do it when you get back . I thoughtthat 2 weeks ago and sailed over 2ft3 fence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hop i helped
 

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Hey, the important thing is to not worry - so many people have the same problem; I know I did. I fell off a horse that bolted on a road, and I wasn't wearing a helmet so needless to say I got a pretty bad head injury. I was in hospital for a bit, and when I started riding again, with a helmet, I was absolutely terrified, hunched over, shaking...

I didn't have any horsey friends, none of my family ride or know anything about horses, my horse was exceptionally green and I didn't have a trainer or instructor or anything - I was completely alone. In the end, it was just me and my horse re-forming that bond and getting the confidence back. I think that's what you need - find a horse you can trust, and get to know it on the ground, face to face; remember riding is great, but trust is more important.

Try and stick to small arenas and paddocks at first, places where it would be near impossible for a horse to bolt - the most they can do then is buck, and you can say "Alright, enough of that" get off, and try again some other day. Don't let anyone pressure you, do it in your own time.

I'm almost nineteen and I've fallen off a million and one times, most of it without helmets (yes I know, I'm stupid), going over jumps and from horses bolting. You need to realize and remember that horses are creatures, just like humans, with their own personalities and their own quirks; sure they'll buck sometimes, kick or even bolt, but theres always a reason - they're not doing it because they don't like you or because you're a bad rider or any of those other silly reasons.

Some other random suggestions, just thinking off the top of my head because you obviously love horses and I really want to help you get over this fear; do you ride english? I find that english saddles are very "loose" and the stirrups move a lot. If you're afraid of falling you might want to consider a stock saddle or a western saddle - the shape of them makes it a lot easier to stay on and keep control of the horse, plus western stirrups don't move as much as english stirrups and you're less likely to lose balance.

Riding in a group might help you - if you have friends or family who ride, go for a trail ride - nice and relaxing - with them. Some horses act calmer when in groups - then again, other horses don't, so yeah... that could go either way.

The only other suggestion I have is talk to your father. I know it sounds hard, but it might be nessercary, and he could help you if he knows about horses. You just need to be calm and say you're nervous, not scared, just nervous, and you would like some help to get your confidence back. Remember your dad was once just a boy, and he probably fell off horses now and again, maybe even cried about it. He might surprise you and understand how you feel.

I hope this rant helped, and good luck with everything.

- Fade.
 

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I think most riders go through a fearful phase. I, for one, certainly did. I was an extremely green rider, and though my horse wasn't green, she was young, and she was going to get away with as much as I let her-which was basically everything. She'd bolt with me, she'd rear, she'd buck-I was so terrified of riding that I would only ride her once in maybe a month. But the one thing I did do was groundwork. Every day-took her for walks, brushed her, learned how to get her respect, and even though it took me like, half a year to finally work up the courage and get on, it went really well! I swear, though-she was like, purposely good for the first few weeks so I got my confidence back, and now she's trying everything short of bucking and rearing with me-I'm glad I'm not afraid of her anymore.

Do lots of groundwork, and if you want to take my advice don't get on until you're 100% sure. Even if it takes a long, long time, one good ride at the end of it all is better than 100 rides where you're scared out of your skin, because that's not helping anyone. If you want to keep getting on her regularly, don't do more than you're comfortable with. Or, set goals for yourself like: "Ok, today I'm going to walk once around the yard, then get off" and later: "I'll trot a couple times around the yard". If you only want to stay on for 5 minutes, do it. But then the next day stay on for a minute longer. Slowly and gradually make it harder, but go at your own pace. Don't let your dad boss you around. My dad is the same way-he's one of those fearless types that believes I should get on the horse and ride her through anything, sit out those rears and bucks and not take any fearful feelings away from the ride, and with me being a nervous and stressful person by nature, I have a hard time doing that. I either ignore him, or argue back at him with as much intensity as he faces me with-there's no way I'm going to let him ruin the confidence I've built up.

As for lessons-they're cheap if they're only $10 each. Do you have a job? If your dad's so set against you having lessons then you might have to face the truth and work to pay for it yourself. It's worth it though-most instructors are trained and experienced in getting you to relax and feel more comfortable.

Good luck!
 

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Fear is hard to over come. I have been through it. Petrified to get on my horse. Its your minds conditioned response to something it perceives or knows to be dangerous. You can not fake confidence. I wish I could buy it but believe me you can't I have tried. You have a good horse and a good horsemen on your property. I know that having a good horsemen next you can make you even more nervous because they might "judge" you. If your comfortable on the ground you are half way there. Work slowly. Wear a helmet. Build upon success. So what if you tack up and sit on your horse for 10 secs? Tomorrow it will be 1 minute and so on. Do you have an enclosed area to ride to your horse can't bolt? When I was nervous I would stack the odds in my favor. Made sure my dogs were inside kids weren't biking Husband not setting off fireworks (he did that to me) and slowly you get it back. Nothing to be ashamed of. Most riders go through some degree of it.
 

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One thing I really want to suggest is lunging. It seems like the only times where you ride, you are bolted and fall off. If you get more time just moving with the horse, under the control of another human being on a lunge, you can have confidence little by little before you feel you can do basic things again.

When I fell, I wasn't really too frightened. It had happened many times before that he bolted like that, and it was just that time that he happened to fall. However I did learn that relaxing a lot will just make the horse freak, especially a horse prone to bolting. I would not recommend riding terrified, I think it's better and safer to slowly work your way up. If you're having trouble with the simplest things like mounting, then just mount once or twice every day, just to sit there, until you can do that comfortably, and move on from there.

As for your father, I think you should be honest. Being a homegrown Texan, it has taken a LOT of persuasion to get my own father into letting me switch to English. However being tough and riding on trails isn't always showing the best horsemanship, which doing dressage and jumping can really provide for you. If this is something you really want to do do whatever it takes to achieve those goals and you will really be satisfied in yourself. =]
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes,I do have a friend with horses. I've ridden there before. I plan on going there and riding alot with her, ( her family owns a HUGE camp (200 acres) of land and over 50 horses)

They have lots of trails and we'll go out on them. I also am planning to sign up for 4-H very soon. Thank so much for your advice!
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