PDA

View Full Version : For Us Senior Riders - Coping with Fear



gooselover
Aug. 3, 2009, 05:28 PM
For those riders who are over, say 40, how do you cope with any fears you may have?

If your horse is acting up, a little fresh, do you immediately fear getting thrown? How do you deal with this fear? Have you been thrown at our age?

The reason for the questions is I am 54. My two OTTB's that I have been riding have been wonderful. However, the other day, one of them starting to get a little buck on him and I was "afraid" to say the truth. I stayed on, but I am concerned about this now.

The same day, I was riding my other OTTB out on a hack, train came by, and for the first time, he was acting a little stupid and again, FEAR....fear of being thrown.

Does anybody else get this concern and how to you deal with us at our age????? Thanks so much.

findeight
Aug. 3, 2009, 05:47 PM
60 here. The best way is to be suitably mounted. I am still pretty tough but my reflexes are not what they were, and I do break now instead of bounce although the docs were amazed how quick I did heal.

The jumps look bigger then they used to too.:no:

Just remember the lunge line is your friend and that's not being chicken. It's being SMART and probably something you and whatever youthful knothead you were on would have benefitted from when your still bouncing younger self had problems.

So lunge 'em down and go ahead and pay the Pro to smooth them out for you. You earned it. Nothing to prove by "sucking it up" when your gut says get off.

Go Fish
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:20 PM
60 here. The best way is to be suitably mounted. I am still pretty tough but my reflexes are not what they were, and I do break now instead of bounce although the docs were amazed how quick I did heal.

The jumps look bigger then they used to too.:no:

Just remember the lunge line is your friend and that's not being chicken. It's being SMART and probably something you and whatever youthful knothead you were on would have benefitted from when your still bouncing younger self had problems.

So lunge 'em down and go ahead and pay the Pro to smooth them out for you. You earned it. Nothing to prove by "sucking it up" when your gut says get off.

Yep, when that "hump in the back" is there when you get on...hand the little bugger over to the trainer.

I won't show over anything bigger than 3' anymore. I try to not overthink everything...riding is not really that complicated.

Calvincrowe
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:28 PM
Just a smidge over your "40" mark, but I no longer bounce--I break! I understand your fear. I "go back to kindergarten"! I am not afraid to just tell Trainer Man-today, I'm doing poles on the ground. Or, you ride him first. I won't be bullied into doing something when I get "that feeling". You know the one, that niggling doubt that the horse really is going to blow up over the blue coat tossed on the mounting block or that little gleam in his eye means we'll have on of 'those lessons'? I listen to myself more, I call it self-preservation, not chickening out.

I agree with being properly mounted. A packer is a gift to yourself beyond measure. Sure, you still have to ride, but the potential for rodeo disaster is taken out of the equation when you know Mr. Pony is going to jump regardless of your stupid antics in the saddle.;) Ask me how I know!

gooselover
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:38 PM
These two guys are 5, over 17+H and have been absolutely lovely. This was the FIRST time any of them have remotely thought about anything.

The horses are at home, I really have no "arena" except for my round pen and then I have my pasture that I ride in. I ride by myself except when DH is around. I do not have a trainer, however, I have ridden and shown for almost 30 years. (not that I don't need a trainer, there is no one near me). I feel like I am riding at home in the rough! No arena, no trainer, no jumps, no nothing....but alot of fun.

I just HATE feeling that fear!!!!!! I didn't have it until just a few days ago when this happened. I am NOT jumping at this time - don't have any jumps and we are not ready for that yet. I am just working on transitions and getting things down packed. I have one guy that is so level headed that we ride around our small town!!!! He was the one with the train the other day - it was just odd.

I'm glad to hear I am not the only one that has this fear. It's very powerful.

lesson junkie
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:39 PM
I'm 54. I deal with my apprehension by being prepared. I'm a lot more conservative about what I expect from myself and my horse (the jumps
DO look bigger over 50!). I stay in regular work with a trainer I have tons of confidence in. And, no little thing, I try to stay fit and do at least a little strength and aerobic training-gotta keep full use of the reflexes I have left!

Maybe your instructor can show you a few tricks to deal with "happy horse hijinks", like a one rein stop, or pully rein. Also, maybe you can practice some lateral work in lessons, which is a good help with a spooky horse. If it makes you feel more comfortable, use a neck strap-we don't have to prove anything to anyone-we're old, take advantage of it.

Learn a few tricks, and stay strong enough to sit up and use them-and remember, it's supposed to be fun!

Edited to add: Sorry gooselover-just saw no trainer. Is it at all practical to find one?

LH
Aug. 3, 2009, 06:54 PM
These two guys are 5, over 17+H and have been absolutely lovely. This was the FIRST time any of them have remotely thought about anything.

I'm glad to hear I am not the only one that has this fear. It's very powerful.

You are not alone. I'm 45, with a horse I've had almost 2 years who was imported from Holland and only 2 weeks out of a field and under tack when I got her as a 4.5 year old - NOT broke or respectful of humans in any way. She's better now, but we've gone a few rounds with her, she still has that stupid WB spook that TBs don't seem to have, and she would still probably spin around at noises or something that alarms her, and I can't hack out alone - most of the time we're in a sand ring or indoor, but I go out in the big field only with another horse, because she'd probably stand up and go back to the barn otherwise.

When she pulls some crap, my trainer is great about talking me through it, and now he has me trained. The one thing you HAVE to do is put them to work and get their attention. Go forward, change direction every 10 steps, halt, walk, trot, big circle, little circle, gallop forward, slow trot -- keep them really really busy, you get the picture. If you have to be a little rough, it's fine - just try to relax when they start to behave so that your relaxation is their reward.

By doing this, I immediately get her attention and I quickly turn my fear of getting spun off into an exercise that gets everyone focused, starting with me. Instead of me thinking, "Oh sh*&t, I'm in trouble here," it turns quickly to me acting like a drill sargent and getting her attention, and all of the sudden I'm not so worried.

And every now and then, especially if it's a cold night in the indoor arena with the wind howling and she's leaping around at the goblins that only she sees, I get off and call it a night. She's actually a very smart and quiet horse -- and easier at the shows than at home.

good luck - I feel your pain!

FAW
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:04 PM
As a veteran of the Long Stirrup or Rusty Stirrup Division, I see plenty of senior fear including my own in classes. I've been dumped enough in my 8 years of riding to know. Being 57, it isn't coming off. Not like a 12 year old that will bounce, get back on and win the class. Fear is real and trainers that are way younger than the rider need to understand this. I am perfectly happy with two foot, but can and do 2'6". Not going to the Olympics.

dab
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:12 PM
I'm 46 -- Got a 3-year old 3 years ago and have eaten dirt 4 times since them -- I have a few friends with screws/plates holding them together thanks to riding accidents, a couple with riding-related surgeries gone bad, and memories of an 'older rider' whose horses I exercised years ago who suffered a serious brain injury -- Today, my boss is here visiting and shared the details of a riding accident her 40-something cousin had 2 weeks ago that nearly cost the woman her life -- So, life's proved to me that my fear is rational --

I try to avoid danger when possible -- If I notice my horse is fresh, either before I get tacked up or once I'm in the saddle, I'll turn him out or free lunge him -- Every trail ride or hill work session starts in the ring so that I can figure out how much horse I have before heading out -- I take advantage of trainer rides more than I would have years ago --

I try to keep the horse's mind busy so that he's less likely to spook -- A little bit of shoulder fore, keeping my gelding's mind on moving foward and looking away from monstors, does wonders to difuse scarey moments --

I'm also a big believer in 'head down' cues to calm a horse although, shame on me, I haven't taught this cue to my gelding yet -- It really only takes 2-3 rides to teach, so you gotta wonder why I haven't made the time over the past 3 years --

When my horse spooks, if I survive that first nanosecond without being tossed, I think 'look up, heels down' -- Training myself to do something has helped me avoid panicing -- Looking up and ensuring my base is solid usually buys me enough time to avoid a bad ending --

Reading about managing fear, particularly stuff written for equestrians, has been helpful for me --

I try to remind myself to trust my instincts -- The latest friend to be injured knew her horse was too fresh to jump, but allowed herself to be goaded into it -- A couple of years ago, I knew it would be best for my youngster's first trail ride of spring to be with 1 or 2 calm trail horses -- Instead I went along on the first barn ride with a large group and ended up setting my gelding off -- Experiences like that have made me more willing to act on my instincts --

Einstein
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:34 PM
I've been thrown so many times in my life, for me it's part of riding.
I don't let my mind think about falling off. I take every precaution, but sometimes it just happens.
Oh and riding in a soft ring definitely helps, takes the sting out of landing.:D

Peggy
Aug. 3, 2009, 07:52 PM
Fences definitely look bigger; ground definitely feels harder. If not always brave, I try for courage.

Try to start with the assumption that neither trainer nor horse are really trying to get me killed. Thus, trainer isn't going to ask me to do anything or ride anything that's likely to get someone hurt. Plus I'm lucky to have a horse that's fundamentally a good guy, but has enuf of a personality to keep me entertained. Truly think I'd be bored with one that was always good. He's a horse that's pretty easy to ride 95% of the time if you are a good rider.

IMHO, pushing a bit towards the edge of your comfort zone once in awhile keeps you from retreating further into it.

Merle
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:03 PM
It's not just for those of you over 30. I'm 22 and I just sold the TB I had for three years. A couple years ago I was on crutches for 3 months from a fall in the spring (lost that whole summer) and had fallen off him a couple more times in the 3 years I owned him. The fear was overwhelming every time I sat on him to the point where I was scared to ride. I did learn to become a much much better rider (everyone comments on my seat) but it took a huge toll on my confidence. I now have a saint of a mare who is just 3 years old and I broke her myself with the help of my lovely, confident husband. It was the best thing to get a sane sane sane horse who's worst thing is to stop and stare.

I am still nervous on her, I just can't help it, but I'm slowly getting over it and it helps me to think about what my instructor would tell me to do instead of thinking omg omg omg. ;) I just think in my head "okay, a little more push from behind, etc etc" and I find myself so much more relaxed since I am not focused on the fear of falling and getting hurt.

I'm still in my 20's but I think for me the fear stems from actually getting very hurt from falling. Yes, falls are a part of riding but getting very hurt from them should not be the norm. My TB could shoot me into the ground like a rocket launcher and I did not want to be playing that game.

ToTheNines
Aug. 3, 2009, 08:07 PM
57 here. Have two suitable horses, well, one already suitable and one getting there. I ride smaller horses now. Less to manage, lower to the ground. I am 5'7" and 16 or 16.1 is plenty big. Plus I am not having to worry about containing a huge stride.

My best helper is my trainer. All I want to do now is 2'6" and she never pushes me. Never makes me feel bad about not doing higher, and when I get brave and do a 2'9" class she is supportive without putting any pressure on me. If I want to trot in and canter out the lines on my green horse, she does not make me feel bad about that. I get to do what I am comfortable with. Thank you KIM!

The one thing I wish is that the local shows would have more open 2'6" classes (not restricted to limit riders, green, etc). I think there are lots of older riders that would show more if there were more classes with smaller jumps. I have noticed that the A shows seem to have more 2'6" divisions I could do than the local shows. Also, the open classes are fine. I would rather show against pros than little kids!

KBEquine
Aug. 3, 2009, 09:33 PM
For those riders who are over, say 40, how do you cope with any fears you may have?

If your horse is acting up, a little fresh, do you immediately fear getting thrown? How do you deal with this fear? Have you been thrown at our age?

The reason for the questions is I am 54. My two OTTB's that I have been riding have been wonderful. However, the other day, one of them starting to get a little buck on him and I was "afraid" to say the truth. I stayed on, but I am concerned about this now.

The same day, I was riding my other OTTB out on a hack, train came by, and for the first time, he was acting a little stupid and again, FEAR....fear of being thrown.

Does anybody else get this concern and how to you deal with us at our age????? Thanks so much.

I wish you were in PA - there's a confidence-building clinic this Sunday to help work through some fears by offering "be prepared" tips -- and allowing riders who are going through this to help each other. (I'm 52 - I know of what I speak!)

pony4me
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:13 PM
53 here, and still riding and loving it! However, the TB gets a pro ride once a week and on the rare occasion he's being really stupid in a lesson, I will politely ask trainer to get on. My trainers are wonderful and seem to understand that older people don't bounce like the kiddies. To be honest, a genuine buck scares the crap out of me. My horses generally don't spook, bolt or buck, but with a horse anything and everything can and does happen. At my age, I would not select the same type of horse I enjoyed riding when I was younger.

wsmoak
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:20 PM
Haven't quite hit 40, but I'm not naturally brave and tend to freeze and curl up when bad things happen.

I firmly believe that horses don't get all their brain cells issued until 9 or 10 years old, and I have no desire to ride the young ones who occasionally lose their minds.

I'd say... buy that packer, then make sure you're in reasonably good shape.

I've spent a year working with a trainer on core strength, balance and flexibility. The weight loss was a bonus -- I now have a body that does what I tell it to, so when I'm told to sit *up* and hold my position, I actually can -- and what do you know? When I stopped flinging myself up Patrick's neck, he stopped running at fences.

Riding is *way* more fun now, and not as scary.

--
Wendy

InWhyCee Redux
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:43 PM
I have been riding on and off for over 30 years, since I was nine... do the math. As a child, I DID NOT BOUNCE. As an adult, I DO NOT BOUNCE. PLEASE, LET THE MYTH THAT CHILDREN BOUNCE END!

Overcoming fear as an adult, for me, has come down to NOT letting myself be pushed what my horse and I can do on that day. If that means getting a new trainer, longe lessons, poles and crossrails, whatever -- that is what I am doing.

InWhyCee Redux
Aug. 3, 2009, 10:45 PM
PS: Ditto to wsmoak: Pilates, yoga, whatever works. A few lessons with loose reins, or no reins, can also help....

Desert Topaz
Aug. 3, 2009, 11:36 PM
My current solution to dealing with fear is selling the horse that caused it.

I bought what was supposed to be a pretty quiet horse (kids rode him and he was used for lessons) at the beginning of May and a week and a half later fell off him and got a concussion and really banged up. I still don't know what happened, but after sending him off to a trainer for a week we learned that he has a super duper spook in him, the kind where he just takes off for what seems like no reason and doesn't care who is on his back or what is in the way. Of course I saw no indication of this when I was trying him out.

He's a really nice horse, gorgeous and a super nice ride (when he's not being stupid) or I wouldn't have bought him to begin with. I don't want to spend the next 6+ months in intensive work with him when the end result is likely to be that he'll still spook. I've ridden him twice since the fall and have no desire whatsoever to ride him further. I'm always going to wonder when the spook is going to come. I've come to the conclusion that while he might have been the right horse before the fall I've changed as a rider and he's no longer appropriate. Being realistic hurts a bit, but less than another fall will.

Brooke
Aug. 4, 2009, 12:30 AM
I'm 64, and have been riding since I was 7. But I realize that I'm a) not as strong as I used to be and b) not a quick as I used to be. That being said, I'm usually pretty confident, but I'm also not ashamed to hop off if my OTTB gets really stupid, which she occasionally does when outside on the grass. I also only started back jumping a few years ago (after a 30 year lay off!), so that's when I get faint-hearted. I don't see a distance any more and 'keeping a rhythm' doesn't seem to work for me. I find myself in horrid spots at times, and that does scare me. I"d love to know how to get over that. I'm not really afraid of falling off, but I'm afraid of making mistakes and am trying to force myself to show over a 2'6" course.

Jaegermonster
Aug. 4, 2009, 12:41 AM
Don't let your fear keep you out of the saddle. Fear leads to a loss of fitness which leads to less riding, then more fear, then less fitness and it's just a vicious cycle. Once you lose fitness at our age it's a lot harder to get it back.

I went through it a couple years ago after I came off my 4 year old and shattered my wrist. I was 38, but it got in my head and took me about 3 years to get over it.
I'm kind of a Nike/just do it kind of person, but it was very hard.

As others have said, maintain your fitness. And the longe line is your friend. Discretion is the better part of valor sometimes. There is also no shame in asking your trainer or a really good rider at your barn to hop on the critter if he has his behind all up on his shoulders that day. At our age we don't have anything to prove to anybody.

I also agree with working with a trainer. I have two great trainers who understand my mental issues, and also know that I can do more than I am. I take regular lessons, which makes me ride more in between so I don't embarrass myself.

Get all "Fried Green Tomatoes" and channel your inner Towanda!

LH
Aug. 4, 2009, 09:37 AM
The reason for the questions is I am 54. My two OTTB's that I have been riding have been wonderful. However, the other day, one of them starting to get a little buck on him and I was "afraid" to say the truth. I stayed on, but I am concerned about this now.

The same day, I was riding my other OTTB out on a hack, train came by, and for the first time, he was acting a little stupid and again, FEAR....fear of being thrown.

Does anybody else get this concern and how to you deal with us at our age????? Thanks so much.

Gooselover, I get from your post (and your later ones) that you do not have constant access to your trainer, and that on occasion your horses act up in a way that scares you. That's why I wrote the post that I did (see on p. 1) with suggestions about how to work through the situation in a way that would give you more confidence and take away the fear. Every horse is going to surprise us at some point - I give you a ton of credit for riding the OTTBs, but don't be foolish - try to make sure that someone knows where and when you are riding (if you are riding alone). I've made it my own personal rule to not ride alone when the barn help is gone and no one will find me until morning if I get spun off my horse. The RULE is that if you ride, you're going to fall off. I think as you/we get older though, we need to take away some of the risk factors, and limit those to the risks that we can more comfortable live with.

Bobblehead
Aug. 4, 2009, 10:48 AM
My two cents . . .
Control the things you can control. You can't control the fact that you're going to keep getting older every year, and as you do, your body will inevitably show the results. What you can control are a lot of other things:
- how often and what type of exercise you do (Lord I hate exercise, but it really does help)
- what you focus on mentally, both on and off the horse. Don't focus on your fear. Acknowledge your fear and then think of ways to deal with the situation that causes it. I spent a lot of time working on my seat and now feel a lot more confident that I can handle things like minor spooks or refusals.
- I know this is an awful thought, but another horse might be a good idea. I bought my first horse at the age of 58, and she is basically a beginner horse, very quiet and safe. She has made a *huge* difference in my confidence level because I trust her never to do anything stupid. Yes, she can get obnoxious once in a while and need to be turned in little circles till she gets dizzy, but she's NOT going to bolt.

If you don't have access to a trainer, what about a clinic? What about DVDs from people like Jane Savoie? What about videotaping yourself and mailing it to a trainer for a "remote lesson"?

Someone else said that you don't have to prove anything to anyone. Remember that includes yourself! If you want to keep riding at all (and it's okay if you don't even want to) then start *where you are now* not where you think you ought to be. If you feel like you're going backward, well, so be it. Sometimes life goes backward.

It ain't fun getting old, but keeping on riding, however you can do it, makes it a lot better.

Come Shine
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:24 AM
Wow, I never thought being over 40 would be senior - lol!

In addition to all the wonderful suggestions above, I find wearing my safety vest often helps me feel more confident, which improves my riding.

Good luck!

MoonWitch
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:34 PM
When I was younger my motto was "HIGHER"!!! Now, a 2' vertical can case me to break out in a cold sweat - or maybe that was a hotflash - it's so hard to tell these days! Anyway, know that this is normal and that you're not alone! The thing is to not let it control you or take the joy out of riding for you. Don't ever let anyone make you feel silly or embarrased, but also remember that your horse feels and picks up on your anxiety.

I happen to teach all adults and I love to work on the very things you've hit upon. We go slow, I explain things and we have fun (most importantly!). I will never ask a student to do something that they are uncomfortable doing, however I will also not ask them to do something that they are not capable of either. Good luck and remember how blessed you are to be riding!

juliet
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:37 PM
There was a study cited in the Horse (health e-newsletter) that indicated that horses absolutely know when riders are afraid and become afraid or nervous themselves. Figure out what you need to do to overcome fear and be relaxed in body. What do they tell the ponyclubbers--act like you are confident until you finally are.

findeight
Aug. 4, 2009, 01:52 PM
Hey, gooselover, I had a thought or two for you.

IF you cannot get to a trainer and IF you want to keep these...get some of the excellent (and unavailable when most of us started back when) DVDs out there about starting young horses then apply what you can to yours.

Lunge them in the saddle, bridle and sidereins 15 or 20 min. BEFORE you ride them. This will reinforce all sorts of basics and balance while they can blow off some steam. Lets them sort of teach themselves. That will probably give you some confidence they will submit to your wishes if any issues come up. And if they act like an idiot? Just lunge 10 minutes longer then usual and call it a day.

Maybe learn to ground drive as well. Get them what we have been calling "Quarter Horse or Western broke". No substitute for that and we Hunt seat types kind of neglect it compared to the western folk. And TBs can learn that stuff just fine, I make mine do it.

And, you know, draw reins are not the root of all evil and, in your situation? I don't think they are a bad idea.

Lucassb
Aug. 4, 2009, 02:08 PM
Well, even though I fall into the "over 40" crowd for sure, I resist the idea of being labeled senior yet... LOL. As applicable as it may be... :)

However, the situation you describe is one we all face at some point or other. Whether it is following a bad fall, dealing with an unsuitable horse, or simply having some bad luck (loud train roaring past as you sit on a normally quiet horse that hasn't been turned out for a few days following bad weather, for example)... most of us are going to have some OMG moments.

You can definitely learn techniques to deal with fear, and allow you to keep riding through that emotion. I have found that once I prove to myself that I *can* ride through that kind of stuff, it stops scaring me. The confidence spiral works both ways ;)

The bottom line is that while you have to accept that some falls are just part of riding, you CAN stack the deck in your favor. A suitable horse is always paramount... but even a quiet horse can spook or simply have a bad day.

I don't advocate regular use of the longe line - because you can make a horse way, way, way more fit than you want them that way. It can also create a strain on those fragile legs. However, as a tool to use on those first brisk days of winter or when the neighbor kids are roaring around on their four wheelers? Absolutely. Taking some of the starch out of them before you put a foot in the stirrup is a great idea and sets you both up for a positive ride.

The other thing I'd advocate is to use the appropriate tack. Again I am not necessarily talking about a double twisted wire snaffle on a daily basis, but there are options that give you that extra control "on demand" without sacrificing softness when the horse behaves and things are going well.

As an example, I have a *very* quiet horse that can be a bit reactive under certain conditions. If we are stuck in our metal roofed indoor on a day when the snow and ice are melting and crashing off the roof... he is going to deal with that noise by dropping a shoulder and doing a 180. On days like that, I ride him in either a happy mouth 3 ring (one rein on the snaffle ring, one rein on the 2nd or even 3rd ring for leverage/control ... or I'll ride him in a happy mouth gag, again with a straight snaffle rein and a rein on the gag ring. Either one gives me the control I need to enforce obedience without sacrificing a normal contact on the soft snaffle the rest of the time.

Set yourself up for success, then go out and enjoy.

AppendixQHLover
Aug. 4, 2009, 03:49 PM
I am 37 and have given up riding the young, green fresh horses. I used to ride the fresh horses that would love to try and get me off, but now..I really don't want to. I don't have the time anymore to dedicate riding everyday and fighting a new battle everyday.

I sold me fruitbat horse last year and got myself a awesome packer. He is not a dud at all and has showed me that sometimes. He will get fresh but when I make him go forward and do things he loses the freshness. Than he gets the brain cells back and focuses. My old horse when he was fresh it would take 2 hours. Now..just a few minutes of trot work and the issue is gone.

My trainer works with me and I finally found one that understands how I learn. She shows me something new one week, and I practice it in my brain several times. When I have my next lesson it is easy for me. I have been jumping with one rein letting the jump come to me.

Yesterday there was a bunch of people schooling. My boy and I were being lazy. I put my head on his neck and just watched everyone. I scrated his neck in his favorite place and we were both relaxed.

gooselover
Aug. 4, 2009, 04:45 PM
A BIG thank you to you all for posting. I knew I was not alone and hearing from you all reinforced it. I just needed to be reassured.

I truly have been blessed with these three OTTB's that I have - one from NV and the other two straight from the track. Long story short, one of them I had last summer just to take care of, so I knew his disposition. I just "rescued" him from a horrible pasture and took care of him until he went back to the track. The other one I bought sight unseen straight off the track (I didn't know I was going to be given the other one that I had last summer for a couple months). I was lucky with him - he had a great start under saddle and has a very nice disposition also - very willing.

Insofar as a trainer, we live over one hour from any good trainer - if not farther. It just would not be cost prohibitive at this time - however, I did find out that a GREAT dressage instructor rides right here in my small town! I am going to call her.

I have had these guys for almost a year. Truly I have been blessed with them being calm and sane. I take one of them and ride all over our little town - thru parks, thru our tiny business district - up to the Jiffy Mart even (little gas station that is the focal part of our town!). We ride around abandoned houses and down alleys. I get to ENJOY riding for the first time in years (my last horse was a mare who was a B****h but a fantastic jumper - I could NOT enjoy anything on her except to enter the show ring and point and jump).

Again, my heartfelt thanks on your replies. I think more of my fear is how BAD is this going to hurt if I fall at this age!

RugBug
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:06 PM
If your horse is acting up, a little fresh, do you immediately fear getting thrown? How do you deal with this fear? Have you been thrown at our age?


For 6 years I rode a horse that was a bit unpredictable. While it lead to a lot more 'staying on' than 'falling off', I have a lot of baggage when a horse acts up. I'm not a horrible rider, I've just been conditioned to believe that when a horse gets uppity, I'm coming offity. :winkgrin:

Solution: ride a been there, done that type of horse. I completely trust this horse...and while he has moments here or there, they are very minor in comparison. The day we galloped by a para-surfer's sail that billowed right at us and horse merely popped a shoulder, I figured I was safe in just about every situation.

From that horse, I'm moving on to another, who I thought was super quiet but actually has a bit of spunk to him. It's too early to tell how things are going to end up, but on good days, I think he is a perfect next step. (On the bad days, I'm ready to sell him....but then I convince myself...with the help of others...that four weeks isn't enough of a chance).

I still own Mr. Unpredictable...and I do want to ride him, but he can't be my sole horse because he just ruins my brain. I'm also pretty sure he'd be happier with a strong confident rider who isn't worried about his issues.

Mozart
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:35 PM
Over 40. Not USUALLY fearful but it comes to visit sometimes.

Two things:
I talk to the horse, to myself. Why? Because it keeps you breathing. You have to remember to keep breathing.

A strange observation: I had not fallen off for a long long time and then suddenly I was afraid of falling off. I had made it into more than it was. I was sure I would be seriously injured.

Then I fell off in a quick and unexpected way. I was fine. A bit winded initially, but really totally fine. Just got back on. Not even sore the next day. Since then my fear has diminished because I was reminded that falling off is not really the end of the world.

Not that I recommend you fling yourself from your horse, but remember people fall off all the time and it is usually not a big deal.

Stange maybe, but it worked for me.

Janet
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:47 PM
For those riders who are over, say 40, how do you cope with any fears you may have?
I am 55


If your horse is acting up, a little fresh, do you immediately fear getting thrown? How do you deal with this fear? Have you been thrown at our age?
No, I don't "immediately fear getting thrown". I do think "extra important to have a strong base, and keep paying attention". I have come off 4 times this year that I can think of. One a buck after landing from a jump (that one hurt), one a buck working on canter transitions (did something else for a while, then went back to canter transitions without a buck), one a refusal at an itty bitty jump (slid off), one slipped on a turn on wet grass (slid off).


The reason for the questions is I am 54. My two OTTB's that I have been riding have been wonderful. However, the other day, one of them starting to get a little buck on him and I was "afraid" to say the truth. I stayed on, but I am concerned about this now.

The same day, I was riding my other OTTB out on a hack, train came by, and for the first time, he was acting a little stupid and again, FEAR....fear of being thrown.

Does anybody else get this concern and how to you deal with us at our age????? Thanks so much.

Well, they say "it takes seven falls to make a rider", which I have always interpreted to mean "you need to fall off enough times that you have stopped counting, and they have stopped being a big deal".

I continue to fall off frequently enough that it is not a big deal.

And, in response to later comments- no, the jumps don't look bigger. 3'6" looks SMALLER to me now than it did 10 years ago. It is all a question of the horse you are sitting on.

Foxtrot's
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:52 PM
Understand perfectly.....

From being a further, faster, higher type, I hardly recognize myself and wonder what I am doing bringing on a young one and a baby in the barn to do later.

I have, for the first time ever, a trainer! As opposed to someone who goes to the odd lesson/clinic. He actually rides my horse and she has been on program.

I absolutely cannot fall off. I know there is a likelyhood no matter what kind of horse you ride, but I do not plan to put myself in a situation where it might happen and am now conservative in my riding.

When travelling in groups she is a bit fussy and I was recommended a Market Harborough which is easier to use and less restrictive than wrongly used draw reins. I made one myself with the aid of my local cobbler, from all those bits and pieces that collect over the years,
including using up an two old martingales, one of which I split up the middle..

My daughter gave me a jumping lesson the other day (well a grid lesson) and said I actually looked good on the horse if I sat up more. But, that little knot of anxiety is often there when I start off. It goes away.

'Nother thought - is two/three horses too much? Would you get the horse worked down more if you focused on the calmest, quietest one?

goeslikestink
Aug. 4, 2009, 05:59 PM
For those riders who are over, say 40, how do you cope with any fears you may have?

If your horse is acting up, a little fresh, do you immediately fear getting thrown? How do you deal with this fear? Have you been thrown at our age?

The reason for the questions is I am 54. My two OTTB's that I have been riding have been wonderful. However, the other day, one of them starting to get a little buck on him and I was "afraid" to say the truth. I stayed on, but I am concerned about this now.

The same day, I was riding my other OTTB out on a hack, train came by, and for the first time, he was acting a little stupid and again, FEAR....fear of being thrown.

Does anybody else get this concern and how to you deal with us at our age????? Thanks so much.

nope nope to all questions- you think to much as to what can happen put it away
and enjoy your horse and relaxed as fear is often when you to tense so relaxed and ingore it

gooselover
Aug. 4, 2009, 06:11 PM
While I do have three OTTB's, the mare has been taken over by my DH!!! She is perfect for him (he really doesn't ride, although took some lessons last year). So, I really don't mess with her too much, but goes to show you that she is very sweet and calm and tries her heart out. She was very well represented by New Vocations.

The calmest, most quiet one, I ride the most. He is an absolute JOY for me. The other gelding, he is wonderful also, but we DO NOT go outside of the farm yet - not like the other one. We mainly stay in the round pen and in the pasture for now. I can't put my finger on it, but while he has never really done anything, I just don't trust him as much as the other one. I'm almost ashamed to say that.

findeight
Aug. 4, 2009, 11:43 PM
The calmest, most quiet one, I ride the most. He is an absolute JOY for me. The other gelding, he is wonderful also, but we DO NOT go outside of the farm yet - not like the other one. We mainly stay in the round pen and in the pasture for now. I can't put my finger on it, but while he has never really done anything, I just don't trust him as much as the other one. I'm almost ashamed to say that.

One thing about surviving all those years? We learn to trust our gut.

So, all the time you have with horses and you are "almost ashamed" to say you don't trust one?
Wake up and smell the coffee on that one, listen to your voice of experience.

And DON'T TRUST HIM. Leave him home until you do, work with that Dressage instructor and enjoy the other one.