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Mozart
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:20 PM
All this talk of injury....

In the last six weeks three people I know personally have had bad riding accidents. One suffered a TBI and broken ribs. Next one broken ribs. Third one broke two vertebrae, had surgery and will be in a back brace adn not riding for six months.

I had been a fairly fearless rider until I hit my forties. I started racetrack bound two year olds for a friend. I took OTTB's for their first trail rides. I have evented (and broken a few transverse processes by the time I was done). I have ridden just started WB's. Other than the one back injury and one jammed sacroiliac I have remained virtually unscathed.

But now, with my friends' injuries and this about CKD and others...I am really starting to think an inordinate amount about getting hurt. My current horse is safe and sane and virtually never spooks. As a matter of fact, he has never even bucked once under saddle.

I think I would be horribly depressed if I stopped riding but I am a middle aged mother. Guilt and fear are creeping in around the edges. I beat them back but they keep sneaking in.

Have they visited anyone else? How do we beat them back for good?

quietann
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:31 PM
I live with this daily. I've seen others get injured and have had one very bad fall myself that resulted in 6 weeks out of work and some permanent damage. Am also in my mid-40s although I do not have kids, so that makes it easier.

Sometimes, with fears like this, you have to acknowledge them and go on. I've also curtailed some less-safe riding activities like jumping or trail riding alone.

If you really get stuck and don't mind spending some money, the Jane Savoie "Freedom from Fear" program is quite good.

Good luck!

SmartAlex
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:34 PM
I hear ya.

I guess I feel that as I age, my odds of getting hurt, having something bad happen in general (health, accident etc) are increasing daily.

I don't think you can beat it back for good. You just have to remind yourself that bad things happen to good people, and we won't live trouble free for ever. So you have to make up your mind if you want to take a chance or stay in the house. Today may be your last day. Don't you want to spend it riding?

2greyhorses
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:37 PM
I am just a novice rider (into horses by 5 years or so), but I just want to pose a question: How many riders that get into bad accidents were riding their tried and true mount, such as your guy seems to be (level-headed/trustworthy, relatively speaking)? If you are riding a strange horse or even your own newer, relatively unfamiliar horse it seems more likely that there will be a problem, but what if you tend to stick to the horse you know like the back of your own hand?

You have already ridden a zillion horses and that has made you the rider you are today, I am not saying it is good to stick to one horse in one's formative years. But since I am an older adult amateur, I do wonder about safety factors and it seems to me that your chances of an accident would be lessened if you have A) a fairly steady, level-headed mount and B) you stick to YOUR HORSE, the one you know so well, the one you can anticipate (what his reactions will be) and conversely, the one who knows YOU so well.

Just posing the question to see if it might hold up to your/others' experience? But not meaning to hi-jack the thread or anything. What kind of horses were your friends on?

monstrpony
Mar. 22, 2010, 12:48 PM
I'm a bit older, late 50s. I no longer trail ride alone and am, to put it bluntly, a chicken. I never had the experience as a youngster of galloping across open fields bareback on a feisty pony, and admit that I fell off a *lot* when I was first learning (<10 yrs old). When I evented as a young adult, I did things that frankly really scared me, and I bear the mental/emotional scars for it today. (for all that, my worst-ever fall was warming up at a dressage show).

I don't have a whole lot of desire to get rid of the fear entirely. I try to be wise about situations that make me uncomfortable and am very careful about what I will get on these days. I try to push the envelope a little here and there. I've really enjoyed learning some horsemanship stuff that helps me to evaluate the state of my horses from the ground; there are times & situations where I won't get on. I know my two horses pretty well and err on the safe side.

As you get older, you become more conscious of what can happen. Sometimes, that knowledge gets to you, sometimes you can keep it at bay.

And in the end, I know that $hit happens. I hope to avoid it, I try to avoid it, but if it catches up with me ... well, I'm not going to sit on the sidelines waiting for it, but life is life.

Arizona DQ
Mar. 22, 2010, 01:34 PM
My BFF and long time riding buddy, fell off her horse and broke her hip a few months back. It was a freak accident, but not the first time she went off her horse...... It really sat in my brain for quite a few times when I rode after that.....but I rarely think much about it now.

I will be the first to admit that I am a timid rider, always have been, always will be. I am very careful and do not over mount myself..... My mare is safe, sound and quiet, but that does not mean that "it" could not happen to me at any time..... I accept that but do not dwell on it... Being a "Jane Savoie" groupie, I make sure to focus on the positive ( "I have a secure seat"), not the negative ("I will NOT fall off")....... QuietAnn already recommended the JS program and I LIVE by it!!!

Nothing wrong with being a bit afraid as long as it does not run your life......;)

dwblover
Mar. 22, 2010, 02:49 PM
I certainly hear you. In fact just yesterday my friend fell off right in front of me and hurt her back, though thankfully nothing severe. It is certainly a risky sport, and the fact that you are a mother (as am I) makes the fear much more real. So I do the best I can to minimize the risk. I wear a helmet, I don't ride at lightning paces anymore, and I found myself a horse that is oh so worthy of my trust. Accidents can always happen, but a fair percentage come from people being overmounted.

If I'm in a sticky situation I'll always tuck my pride away, dismount, and lead the horse through it. There will be tomorrow to try again. (I never would have gotten off as a teen). I think minimizing the risks as best you can is a start. But beyond that you have to realize that life itself is a risk. And I want to spend my days enjoying and loving my horse and the sport that is so dear to my heart.

siegi b.
Mar. 22, 2010, 03:54 PM
I think dwlover is on the right track.....

As you get older you get smarter and don't try to be the hero anymore. I don't even want to remember some of the things I did on horse-back when I was younger. Being fearless sometimes equal being stupid, but you tend to get away with it more when you're young.

TSWJB
Mar. 22, 2010, 04:18 PM
and another angle to think about. you can be doing ordinary mundane things and really badly injure yourself.
i was walking my dog. (supposedly a healthy activity to engage in especially since the dog was being perfect!) and i slipped and fell on a patch of ice that i didnt know was there. it was dark and the sidewalk had supposedly been cleared. we do have street lights, but i didnt see it.
i now have the worst injury to date that i ever have had. i have spiral fractures of the tibia and fibula. i ended up in the hospital for 4 days and had a rod inserted from my knee to my ankle. its a major surgery and a major setback for my riding. aside from being very painful its very debilitating. i am not working due to my leg swells when i do not have it elevated and its very uncomfortable.
and guess what? i am dreaming for the day i get the green light to ride again. its what makes living worth living for!!! i accept the risk, because without riding i feel like life is really boring. its been really boring to me and i am five weeks post surgery. i just cant wait to get back out there.
so my point is, you can get severely injured doing things that are not risky. so why give up on something you love. just hope that if you do get injured you are surrounded by good doctors to care for you and good friends. my friends have been wonderful. they call me to cheer me up and i at least feel lucky that i will re cooperate hopefully some time in the future.

esdressage
Mar. 22, 2010, 04:45 PM
I think being aware and being careful is just fine. I have a friend at the barn who has a new horse, and at a recent show we both attended her new horse was being spooky at a ring-side tent while she was trotting around waiting for the bell, so right there with all eyes on her (judge included!) she dismounted and quietly led the horse up to the spooky area, then remounted when she felt her horse was "over it" and went on to win the class with an upper-60's percentile! Of course this was while she was waiting to go in for her test. I've seen her ride through some fireworks during tests, too. She knows she can do it, but didn't see the need to be a hero while she was just waiting for her bell.

I asked her about it later and she said she wasn't about to let her pride create a situation where she got dumped, and this being one of her new horse's first shows, she wanted to make it positive for the horse as well! That's a GREAT example of being careful, but not being *scared*… I think careful and knowing your limits is great.

I'll ride through most things honestly, and I am also a mom myself on a relatively "hot" horse, but that's just me. I admire the lady I talked about above for knowing exactly what she's comfortable with, and then getting right back on and putting in a great ride on her new horse! :yes:

megc
Mar. 22, 2010, 05:07 PM
i had a really bad fall last Sunday on my brand new dream horse. He fell on my arm and i had to be carted to the emergency room. Its not broken but was intensely painful and is very black and blue right now and is virtually useless (just typing is a huge improvement).

Thankfully i was wearing my helmet, as i felt a thunk on my head when he went down, from a hoof or knee or something. I am pretty much uninjured except the arm.

The thing about it is i was already nervous on this horse. He had bolted once before and dumped me and this was the second time he bolted with me. I actually think i woudl have stayed on and he would have stopped this time but he slipped and fell. Now i'm trying to decide if i will have the nerve to ride him going forward, or if i need to sell him. Its tough and i don't know what to do, so i'm just taking it one day at a time. I can dissect the ride - he was still very nervous, he was tense, i pulled on him and i know that upsets him, etc. I know that if i ride well and all the stars line up correctly it won't happen, but what about the days that it doesn't? i can hope that i learn to ride it better and/or that he grows out of it but you can't stop the freak accidents.

Also a 40-something mother, i've been riding my whole life and have never been hurt like this before.

nomoregrays
Mar. 22, 2010, 05:27 PM
All this talk of injury....

In the last six weeks three people I know personally have had bad riding accidents. One suffered a TBI and broken ribs. Next one broken ribs. Third one broke two vertebrae, had surgery and will be in a back brace adn not riding for six months. . . .

But now, with my friends' injuries and this about CKD and others...I am really starting to think an inordinate amount about getting hurt. My current horse is safe and sane and virtually never spooks. As a matter of fact, he has never even bucked once under saddle.

I think I would be horribly depressed if I stopped riding but I am a middle aged mother. Guilt and fear are creeping in around the edges. I beat them back but they keep sneaking in.

Have they visited anyone else? How do we beat them back for good?

I have it all the time - I am ~ 5'4" tall with a 17 hh horse. He's been a pretty "Steady Eddie" all the time I've owned him - in fact, the only reason that I considered buying him was because he was "safe."

That being said, he is now fitter than when I first got him and he's spun on me a couple of times. That makes me nervous and reluctant to get on him. I've finally decided that the only way to combat this is to just get on - even if only to wander around the arena at a walk - every chance I get.

I've discussed this fear with my trainer and she's admitted that she also is afraid at times. The trick is not to let the *horse* know that you are afraid. ;)

Vesper Sparrow
Mar. 22, 2010, 06:01 PM
A friend of mine, roughly the same age, fell and broke her arm and sacrum while we were riding in a lesson. I took her to the ER (and then to another hospital), heard her scream when she was getting x-rays and watched her recover (she was off work for 6 months) and it certainly made an impression on me. In fact, her accident had a greater effect on me than a fall I had had a year previously (no broken bones, but really bad internal bruising that took over a year to fully resolve, but I was back riding in about 3 weeks).

It took me a good long while to shake the fear I had from watching her accident and it still comes back sometimes.

carolprudm
Mar. 22, 2010, 06:28 PM
and another angle to think about. you can be doing ordinary mundane things and really badly injure yourself.
i was walking my dog. (supposedly a healthy activity to engage in especially since the dog was being perfect!) and i slipped and fell on a patch of ice that i didnt know was there. it was dark and the sidewalk had supposedly been cleared. we do have street lights, but i didnt see it.
i now have the worst injury to date that i ever have had. i have spiral fractures of the tibia and fibula. i ended up in the hospital for 4 days and had a rod inserted from my knee to my ankle. its a major surgery and a major setback for my riding. aside from being very painful its very debilitating. i am not working due to my leg swells when i do not have it elevated and its very uncomfortable.
and guess what? i am dreaming for the day i get the green light to ride again. its what makes living worth living for!!! i accept the risk, because without riding i feel like life is really boring. its been really boring to me and i am five weeks post surgery. i just cant wait to get back out there.
so my point is, you can get severely injured doing things that are not risky. so why give up on something you love. just hope that if you do get injured you are surrounded by good doctors to care for you and good friends. my friends have been wonderful. they call me to cheer me up and i at least feel lucky that i will re cooperate hopefully some time in the future.

Yup, I spent 11 weeks NWB after I broke my ankle....slipping in the GARAGE! I don't even have a good story to tell.:cry:

I don't ride alone and try to remember to carry my cell phone wherever I go. I would have been in serious trouble if I had been alone without a cell phone when I fell. As it was the ER doc was very impressed with the way we iced and wrapped the ankle for the drive to the hospital.:lol:

Sophie is as safe as any 1400 lb equine can be. I don't ride anything I have doubts about and I'm real picky about footing

I do both cardio and strength training so even if I am overweight I'm fit and flexible.

Umm, and I'm older than anyone here has admitted to being....I'm 60

pintopiaffe
Mar. 22, 2010, 06:38 PM
There's a thread (older) over on the riding with disabilities forum...

It's normal--our brain really doesn't want it's host to be hurt or worse...

But the fear itself can make accidents happen as we all know. If *I* am nervous, then the horse is looking for dragons everywhere... :uhoh:

I don't have ANY answers. I didn't realize how much fear I was carrying around until the day I got on my baby for the first time, (successfully--but that's another story :p ) and she schooched just a bit, and I gave rein and grabbed the pommel and laughed. And it was a glorious revelation.

The fear creeps in, insiduously, over time... I had SEEN a bunch of bad acccidents... mine were minorish, but I was coming back from VERY painful but non-horse injuries, and a couple of bouts of too much time off.

My teachers got pretty mad at me one time, at a teacher's workshop when I was working through it. They thought I should've gotten on a horse that I was student-teaching a lesson on... only I've SEEN that horse go, but never ridden him. Young, sensitive, athletic, and hot as a pistol. I've seen riders clamp on and get run off with, and I've seen riders come off him. They said I should've gotten on him to correct the issue the rider was having, then the rider would have success... I finally admitted I thought he was too hot and light for me to ride, and they really came down on me pretty hard. It was the beginning of the turning point. They said "Fear has NO PLACE in the arena. Few emotions do, but fear has NO place. If you are afraid you shouldn't even be in the ring."

It was a harsh, cut and dried answer, but the one *I* needed at the moment. They were right. And while I think that working through fear is important too--at MY point, the place where *I* was, it was time to fish or cut bait.

It wasn't an immediate transformation, but I understood that the horse needs me to be the brave one. The confident one.

And then, I think the rest of it boils down to this: Life is short. I might just as soon crash the vehicle, or trip down the stairs, or get shot by a bad guy... When my time is up, it's up. If that comes while I'm on a horse--so much the better. It is my greatest passion in life. And one can do worse than that. ;)

pintopiaffe
Mar. 22, 2010, 06:41 PM
she said she wasn't about to let her pride create a situation where she got dumped, and this being one of her new horse's first shows, she wanted to make it positive for the horse as well! That's a GREAT example of being careful, but not being *scared*… I think careful and knowing your limits is great.



This. :yes:

Cowgirl
Mar. 22, 2010, 06:50 PM
I had a TBI from a horse fall when I was 17. I was in a coma for 4.5 days. I still have short term memory and seasonal depression problems from it. I was jumping in a grass warmup under a trainer's supervision and my horse cartwheeled over a misplaced pole hidden by the grass. I wasn't injured from the fall, but she stepped on my head when getting up and cracked my helmet in half. This was a horseshow in Naperville, IL. I remember waking up in the regional trauma center and protesting as they were cutting my dehners off me (that I earned myself). I do not remember anything after that except dreams and waking up in Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. I apparently was transported there when I fell into coma. I still have the helmet, btw.

The other day, it was 70 degrees outside and I gave my horse the first bath of the year (after she gave herself a mud bath treatment). I was walking her outside and a little gust kicked up and she was a little bit full of herself. I was thinking that the whole thing with horses is dangerous. What is a nose shank going to do if the horse decides it needs to vamoose?

All that said, I just learned that one of our local trainers, whom I had seen in my last schooling show doing her first grand prix test on her up and coming horse, has broken her leg and will be out for the season. She did this slipping on ice.

You can't bubble wrap your horse; and you can't bubble wrap your life. You can take reasonable precautions (see nose shank above; helmets; gloves, etc.). Most of the time I've been hurt, it's because of a stupid mistake, either mine or someone else's. Prevent what you can; for the rest, have faith and live your life.

lesgarcons
Mar. 22, 2010, 07:18 PM
Everything on this thread has been great. I used to gallop racehorses and was scared to death every single day. I was literally shaking the entire time I was at the barn, and then I would come home and obsessively google racehorse accidents. Not good. But I made myself stick with it and finally got comfortable with it. Heck, I got good! The BO even offered to start paying me per horse! I was so excited! That very day, I got dumped. Bad. My horse sucked back at high speed, I flew off, and hit a post with my back. Fractured my pelvis and ruptured several discs. It was devastating. I couldn't ride for a long time, and the fear built up with every week out of the saddle.

When I got back on my fairly steady TB, she was nutty and herd-sour from her time off. I was weak from the injury and weak with fear, and I questioned whether this was the right sport for me. I sat down and did a lot of soul searching over the next few weeks, and I realized the following: life is fragile. Too fragile, in fact, to not follow my dreams. My life would be joyless without horses, and I could still be struck down at any time. I had to make the decision to stop letting fear rob me of one of the best parts of my life.

I still feel the fear creeping up here and there, but I remind myself that the risk of injury is worth the joy I feel every day riding my horses. If I have to go someday, I want to go out happy. And I can't do that unless I'm riding.

Big Spender
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:58 AM
I am also in my 40's. I grew up in Pony Club and evented through Intermediate, with several horses, until about 10 years ago. I had no fear! I decided to breed my then 19 year old mare, otherwise I would have continued eventing her. A very good friend of mine was killed at Radnor in 1998 when the horse he was riding misjudged a jump and fell on him. My whole perspective changed about riding and eventing in particular. I have to say it was never the same after that. I think that was part of the reason I decided to breed my mare, so that I too could take a break from the sport. I did break and jump the filly, but it was not quite the same. My mare was fearless and a super jumper. The baby was a chicken...or maybe it was me?? Now, 10 years later I am on a 7 year old gelding that doesn't like to jump. I tried it once, just a crossrail, and ended up on the ground. Just a bruised hip, but a very bruised pride! I decided at the time that I was done jumping, as I also had a young daughter. Not to say that my horse isn't stupid sometimes, but I rode him for the first year in my cross country vest...everyday! He still likes to make sure everyone is paying attention to him at dressage shows in the warm-up, but not always in a good way! I become "one of those riders"!:lol: We all have fears in life (I hate to fly), so I think if we do the best we can to stay safe and aware that we are dealing with a live animal that can be unpredictable, we are that much better off in the long run.

Mozart
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:09 AM
The fear creeps in, insiduously, over time...

That's the thing, isn't it? I'm sure for someone who has had a bad fall the fear can come on suddenly but I have been extremely lucky and have had only a couple bad falls and none for a long time now. There was another point, several years ago, when I was starting to get worried about falling off. I hadn't fallen in literally years and I had built falling off into a big deal. Then I fell off as a result of a dirty run out. And you know, it wasn't that bad. I was a bit sore the next day but it turned out to be not a big deal.

Now with my friends' accidents and other high profile incidents I am starting to wonder...what would my family do if I was badly hurt? My husband and I have a lot of responsibilities and it would all fall on him. Will my family think..."How selfish of you. Instead of helping you are now adding to the burden"

On the other hand, as some of you have correctly pointed out, you can get hurt doing innocuous daily things. I have broken a leg slipping on ice too.

And, as others have said, life can be unpredictably short. I had a cancer scare in my early 30's, but for some unrelated medical tests that revealed an ovarian tumour...I would probably be dead.

So logic suggests that you can't give up what you love on the off chance you will be injured. I think if I actually asked my husband if I should give up riding due to the risk he would say "give your head a shake and go to the barn".

Thanks all, I needed a little pep talk :yes:

Mozart
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:13 AM
I am also in my 40's. I grew up in Pony Club and evented through Intermediate, with several horses, until about 10 years ago.

I wonder how many middle aged dressage riders are former eventers? Quite a few I'll bet :lol:

carolprudm
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:30 AM
I wonder how many middle aged dressage riders are former eventers? Quite a few I'll bet :lol:

I used to event.

The World Championships in 1978 ended it for me. I'll never forget sitting at the serpent and watching crash after crash and Carolyn Treveranis (SP?) get knocked out in SJ

Tiger Horse
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:41 AM
Gosh, this thread couldn't have come at a better time for me! I feel so much better knowing that I am not alone . . .

Fell in love with dressage, sold my little trail mare and bought my new guy - all in the space of four weeks! Had a great winter, but now with "spring in the air" I am facing some new challenges. I've handled several spook, half-turn, turbo blasts down the centerline (in the indoor) without a problem. And some smaller spooks in the outdoor . . . We always get back on track and he's basically a pretty steady guy and he does have a good whoa . . . but, I can feel that little bit of fear creeping in. Having just turned 52, I'm wondering if I haven't lost my mind - kind of late to be starting a whole new discipline, on a new horse.

On the other hand, I just adore this horse and can't wait to get the barn after work and when it all clicks - well, it's heaven. I guess I need to focus more on that and not on the "what ifs"!

ToN Farm
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:52 AM
I wonder how many middle aged dressage riders are former eventers? Quite a few I'll bet :lol:
I didn't even start eventing until I was 43. Is that considered Middle Age? I quit at 48 but it wasn't because of fear or age. It was because of not being able to select a suitable horse.

Now the thought of jumping around even a starter course is scary to me. I think it's that way with anything, if you allow too much time to elapse.

There are several very good posts on this thread, and I think we all can pretty much relate to them. I think it's not too wise to not have fear when it's justified. However, when fear gets such a hold on you that you worry about even the most basic riding situation, then that is a problem.

What I worry about most is the pain from a fall.

FlashGordon
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:04 PM
Can definitely relate. I had two nasty accidents, 6 months apart, when I was 19 and it was a rude awakening. I suffered from some fear issues after that, but was pretty good at hiding it. For many years after I'd get a knot in my stomach as I mounted any horse.

For me it has been about mitigating risk. Always wearing a helmet. Not riding or handling stupid horses. Trying to stay fit mentally and physically so that I feel confident in the saddle. I'm never afraid to pull out a longe line, or put a ride or task off a day if something doesn't feel right.

You can definitely let the fear get the better of you-- I see a lot of middle aged adults who absolutely ooze nervousness, who have all kinds of bizarre rituals on the ground and under saddle, and it is a nasty vicious cycle that eventually ruins even the nicest horse, too. My goal is to quit or get help before I let fear push me to that point...

Right now my biggest stumbling block is that I've not ridden regularly in 18 months. Probably won't make it back into the saddle until this summer and I admit to being apprehensive about it-- I don't have a reliable horse to get my feet wet again, and pregnancy + weeks of bedrest have fried my body and my brain!

Over the years, I've thought about giving it up... but don't ever think I'll be able to, not entirely! Though I will admit there are a few (brief) moments where I am relieved my young daughter likes ballet shoes more than riding boots... :lol:

TSWJB
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:06 PM
What I worry about most is the pain from a fall.
the pain from a fall isnt that horrible. it happens you are in excrutiating pain but you have no choice but to deal with it. and then you get to an ER and they give you drugs.
the hard part for me is realizing your injured and your life is going to change for awhile. and the boring route of recooperation. that is the hard part. this is the part that i am going through. and trust me shattering my leg was extremely painful. but that is not what i think about right now. its the boredom and pain of not being able to do what you want.

esdressage
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:10 PM
the pain from a fall isnt that horrible.

Gosh, remember when we were kids and fell like Gumby, all bouncy and soft and hopped right back up???

I shouldn't even say it and challenge the "fall Gods" but I haven't fallen for a good eight years, and even that time I somehow landed on my feet. I'm not a nervous or scared rider, but in the back of my mind I know that a fall is inevitable. Now that I live in Arizona, I really just hope it's not onto a cactus!!! When my horse gets spooky, my first thought is to ride AWAY from any looming cacti! :lol:

carolprudm
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:13 PM
the pain from a fall isnt that horrible. it happens you are in excrutiating pain but you have no choice but to deal with it. and then you get to an ER and they give you drugs.
the hard part for me is realizing your injured and your life is going to change for awhile. and the boring route of recooperation. that is the hard part. this is the part that i am going through. and trust me shattering my leg was extremely painful. but that is not what i think about right now. its the boredom and pain of not being able to do what you want.
YUP, broken bones and surgery hurt for a few days but 11 weeks of non weight bearing (April through June) was the PITS

millerra
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:22 PM
I don't have a good answer about fear... I am a middle-aged dressage rider and eventer w/ two little kids.

Honestly, I think falling off every once in a while helps w/ the fear so long as it doesn't cause major injury (crazy sounding, I know).

I fell off my very green 4 yr old home bred TB last week. We were walking on loose rein in the indoor and he spooked hard at a noise - the duck and 90 turn and I was going off. Realizing I had two choices - land on my head while trying to hang on or kick my feet free and land on my feet - I kicked my feet free and landed on my feet. My thought: well, good, I got my fall for this year out of the way, climbed back on and off we went...

For me, saying to myself: "yeah, ok - I will fall off. I could get hurt. I accept this" - is more empowering/calming than trying to rely on a steady eddy or limiting activities...

As far as jumping and Xcountry - there is something as confidence/trust in your horse to keep you safe. I'm nervous as all get out on Xcountry day - until I get on my horse. Any remaining nerves evaporate once we get the "5-4-3-2-1 have a nice ride" and we head to fence one, he locks on, and we soar over.

Arcadien
Mar. 23, 2010, 02:57 PM
Yeah, I think the facing the fear thing is something we all have to do at some point in our riding career, if we stick to riding long enough. And the answer for going on will vary for each and every one of us. But I think we can all agree, be persistent and determined to keep riding, and you find a way that works for you to go on in spite of the fears.

For me one of the biggest light bulbs was learning how to counteract negative self talk. I wasn't even aware of how much that negative voice was speaking to me, until I finally focused on it - I found I was saboutaging my confidence at every stride!

I did some research and came up with some techniques that work for me, but I do have to remind myself to stay aware or that oh so unhelpful voice will creep in again.

Just keep asking about and reading what others have tried, and you'll find the best answer for dealing with it for you!

Best of luck

LuvMyTB
Mar. 23, 2010, 03:08 PM
I can relate as well. I am only in my late 20's, though! :)

Like everyone else I was a fearless teenager and rode a lot of sour, nappy, dirty-stopper-type horses. I stopped riding in college and then got back into it right before I graduated.

I find myself a lot more timid and fearful now than I was 10 years ago. I have a green, 10-yr-old OTTB who is not a deadhead but very sensible--which is why I bought him.

However, I find myself terrified at the thought of taking him to his first show, taking him on his first trail ride--anything that takes us out of our comfort zone. As long as we stay home, he's predictable. I am afraid to find out what he'll be like in a new environment.

I am really bummed out that I'm so nervous, because I have and will continue to miss out on things unless I get over it. But the fear of being the girl with "that horse" at the show, and the fear of getting dumped in a forest preserve and watching my horse take off (happened once as a kid), is really tough for me to get over.

I have seriously thought of doing a shot or two before taking on one of these activities! :)

AppendixQHLover
Mar. 23, 2010, 03:14 PM
I have hurt myself worse skiing and riding my bike than on my horse.

My horse I do fall off but he is a steady-eddy but he has dumped me off a few times. The fisrt time I fell off and it HURT bad. Landed flat on my face. The 2nd time I tucked and rolled..I twisted my foot and that caused more issues. The last time I fell off I landed in a snow pile. He was feeling fresh and was bucking. He bucked and spun. Down I went.

My bike...

I have been hit by a car not once but twice. 1st time I got road rash and broke my arm. 2nd time I got hit in the knee and my ACL got messed up. Also on my bike I got rear-ended by another bike. I landed on my pelvic bone which believe me IT does hurt as a girl, and broke my tail bone. I have gone down a hill to fast(50 mph) and wiped out on gravel. That hurt. A Lot.

Skiiing..

Hit a patch of ice and hit my head so hard that I got knocked out. I had somehow got my skiis behind my head and was sliding down the hill like that unconsious. I have zero memory of that day at all. I was floating in and out of conciousness in the hospital.

Walking my dog..

He wrapped about my leg and gave me massive rope burn.

I still do all those things jsut with more caution. I always wear a bike helmet. I didn't wear helmet skiing but will start soon. My dog..well he got a lot of obedience lessons.

My cousin is a nurse in a hospital in Maine. She has told me that so many injuries that involve TBI can be avoided with proper headwear but it is not a gauntee. You can land just right and still get hurt but the probabiliy is reduced with headwear.

Arcadien
Mar. 23, 2010, 03:40 PM
I have seriously thought of doing a shot or two before taking on one of these activities! :)

LOL, you wouldn't be alone! I had a friend who gave her OTTB a shot of Ace and herself a shot of Jamieson before their first hunter pace :lol:

My take on this is, try to lay out smaller steps leading up to the big things that you think will be scary. Like, instead of going straight to that first show, arrange to haul to a friends quiet place and "pretend" show there. Next time, haul to a noisier place and ask a few friends to "act" as judge, spectators, etc. See how many little steps you can break the "big" one down into, and tick them off one by one. You'll feel less terrified and your horse will thank you too!

When you've prepared as much as possible to get ready for that big step, I'm not against giving yourself a little liquid courage if that makes it easier to take the plunge! Just not good to do it all the time, hehe ;)

KateKat
Mar. 23, 2010, 03:40 PM
I'm in my late twenties so I definitely have a better sense of my mortality now than when I was younger, and in starting this sport later in life there is definitely some fear. However, I feel like a little bit of fear is GOOD for me. I'm not talking boot shaking holy crap fear but its always in the back of my mind that something could happen. I think that this causes me to not take things for granted, like even though my horse is a steady eddie, he is a living breathing animal that can act out. And whoever said that falling helps with the fear, I whole heartedly agree. It just gives me a reminder that yes, I can get back up and on and wow, I'm still alive.

And we do dangerous things everyday, afterall. Like the people who have hurt themselves doing mundane tasks. Heck, I find driving every day more nerve wracking than horseback riding. There are a heck of a lot of idiots out there yapping on their cells phones and not paying attention.

paintlady
Mar. 23, 2010, 04:00 PM
By some miracle, I had my first fall off a horse when I was 28 y/o. I started riding when I was around 8 y/o - always in lessons on school horses. Still, I always enjoyed the more "challenging" school horses that only the more advanced students could handle. Somehow... I always stayed on.

That was until I met a 16.3 hh Appendix QH named Boot, Scoot and Play. I was only one of a few students allowed to ride him... turns out for good reason. He was a "retired" show horse... retired because he apparently got "show sour." So... what does my riding stable to... decide to take a bunch of us students to a local schooling show. And what does Play decide to do... well, Boot and Scoot of course. I managed to stay on the first two times he tried to buck me, but he was pretty determined on his third try. I didn't break anything, but I did have the wind knocked out of me and had the biggest bruise on my bum that I've ever seen.

A few months after that, I decided it was time to buy my first horse. I was just shy of turning 29 y/o. I wanted a QH with absolutely no TB. I even asked my riding instructor what was the smallest horse a person my height (5'8") could ride. She said 15.2 hh if they had a big barrel, so I got an exactly 15.2 hh foundation bred Paint mare. I got my mare because she didn't scare me. I still had quite a bit for fear after the incident with Play.

Well... within the first few months of owning my little mare, she proceeded to dump me several times. I never got hurt badly, but my fear was taking over. She was supposed to be my "safe" horse after all. I came very close to selling her. After watching my good friend ride my mare several times and doing well, I came to the conclusion that I was the problem. My mare was acting bad because I was being timid and fearful when riding her. Once I took control, my mare stopped dumping me. She forced me to be brave. I've had my mare for 8.5 years now and it's probably been about 4-5 years since I've fallen off.

I mostly trust my mare now, but there is always a chance of getting dumped. Yet, I know I'll still get back on. Freak accidents happen. I just try to be careful and listen better to my mares signals. I just no longer let fear completely overpower me because that always makes things 10x worse.

TSWJB
Mar. 23, 2010, 05:14 PM
YUP, broken bones and surgery hurt for a few days but 11 weeks of non weight bearing (April through June) was the PITS
hey when was it safe to ride again? my dr will not answer my question. i told him if all goes well and i heal within 10 weeks when is it safel and he says we shall see.
the one good thing is that my horse is very very good. he is a steady eddy even if he is only 5 soon to be 6!

SandyUHC
Mar. 23, 2010, 05:49 PM
Mozart, I'm in the "broken transverse processes club" too (T5 and T6 -- those darn little boogers haunt you, don't they) along with the "multiple concussion club", the "yes, I broke three helmets in one year club" and the "dang it ANOTHER ground tester club". I've been out of the saddle waiting for my homebred to get big enough to ride and the creeping fear has had plenty of time to make itself at home so great thread, thanks.

I actually had my most horrific injury the first time I rode as an adult (only one or two pony rides as a child) so I've had to start conquering fear from day one. Just when I think I have it beaten back I look away and it catches me off guard. I started riding my boy last week and he's being GREAT so far but I wonder if I have it in me to take him out and really go. I'm on the small steps plan, making myself push my boundaries a tiny bit without tempting fate too much and hopefully we'll get there.

Meanwhile I appreciate the stories --good reminders that there are no accident-free guarantees in this life, not like we are going to get out of it alive anyway, eh? I do worry that I might be jeopardizing my ability to earn a livelihood and/or be able to care for myself because I don't bounce as well as I did a few years back (52 now). I sometimes wonder if there is a point where I need to limit risks and if horseback riding might at some point be too much of a risk even if I take all the appropriate precautions and make sure the stars are aligned before every ride. And then other times I think how heartbroken I'd be if I knew I'd never canter across a field again. Risk vs. reward I guess.

Trevelyan96
Mar. 23, 2010, 06:35 PM
I'm so happy to see this thread! I just made the call to a new trainer to get back in the saddle again! I haven't been on either of my boys since September.

I'm amazed at how quickly confidence in my early 40's turned to abject terror in my 50's. I used to fall a lot, but was only seriously hurt once. I was never afraid because I'd never been 'launched'. The fear came when my 4 year old newly broke TB put me in the hospital after a full scale temper tantrum, then launched me again and again, until I finally put him away for a year and found a trainer to fix him. Meanwhile, I bought a new (smaller) horse who was supposed to be dead safe, and was launched by her our very first ride!

Now I have a perpetually green 9 year old because we seem to start and stop training, and a 6 year old OTTB that was purchased for DD because he was so easy to ride, but quickly went downhill due to a saddle fit problem. They are both sweet guys, however, and I know they are actually both good boys. So I've made the decision that I WILL ride again. And I just keep reminding myself that I've fallen before, I will fall again, and the % of falls to serious injuries isn't really any higher than that of fatal car accidents. Life is short, neither I or my beloved horse are getting any younger, and I want to spend that time enjoying him both on the ground and in the saddle! I'll take it slow and do what I can to be safe, but I WILL ride!

carolprudm
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:40 PM
hey when was it safe to ride again? my dr will not answer my question. i told him if all goes well and i heal within 10 weeks when is it safel and he says we shall see.
the one good thing is that my horse is very very good. he is a steady eddy even if he is only 5 soon to be 6!

It was almost 5 months till I was cleared to ride. FWIW, I broke my ankle in 3 places, a tri malleolus fradture

TSWJB
Mar. 24, 2010, 08:26 PM
It was almost 5 months till I was cleared to ride. FWIW, I broke my ankle in 3 places, a tri malleolus fradture

wow that is a long time! i hope that since my break is right above the ankle that i will have an easier time. my dr had said he couldnt rule out ankle involvement, but at my last visit he covered the broken bones and he said now this is a normal ankle. so it looks like nothing has showed up in my ankle. time is going soooo slow!

carolprudm
Mar. 25, 2010, 09:09 AM
wow that is a long time! i hope that since my break is right above the ankle that i will have an easier time. my dr had said he couldnt rule out ankle involvement, but at my last visit he covered the broken bones and he said now this is a normal ankle. so it looks like nothing has showed up in my ankle. time is going soooo slow!


FWIW, there are LOTS of ways to break an ankle. A coworker broke hers in 5 places. Another friend had a compound fracture that required a bone and skin graft. We all needed at least one surgery. A third friend just needed a cast for a few weeks.

The recovery is equally variable.

I have a plate and screws on the fib and 3 more screws in the tib,was non weight bearing for 11 weeks

narcisco
Mar. 26, 2010, 10:41 AM
If you have ever had or witnessed any major trauma in any area of your life, you might be subject to PTSD. The largest population of people with PTSD is not soldiers, but women who have been sexually assaulted, which, in my experience, is most women. Like soldiers, not all will get PTSD, but some will.

It may manifest in displaced fears, irrational fears, fear creeping into things that were once normal to do, low or high level anxiety, depression, nightmares, flashbacks and a host of other symptoms.

So, for the people who have witnessed or had those horrific spills (or had a major trauma in another area), every new spill or scare is going to trigger something.

If it is just a dose of good common sense, a rearranging of life's priorities, that can be fine. But if you are experiencing any of the other symptoms and they are interfering with your day to day activities, like getting on and riding the horse you love to ride, then you might want to get some help from a qualified professional.

That's my public service announcement for the day. Go give your horses a hug and a carrot.

MintHillFarm
Mar. 26, 2010, 03:01 PM
So interesting that there is this thread as I have been thinking about the fear topic lately myself.

I have been feeling the mortality of it all. Maybe that is part of life too as we get older having just turned 54...

Hearing of wonderful riders that have gotten hurt over the last weeks is unsettling to say the least... I keep telling myself that if I have a fear of falling off (I don't yet) then that would be the time not to ride anymore. That's not going to happen...but on the positive side, sometimes the fear of anything can be used as an internal warning bell.

We can't dwell on fear though, then fear will rule. It is almost like looking down when riding, loss of forward motion and focus occur. Imagining the worst is very bad. I work on the positive and keeping my head up, and focus on the good.