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View Full Version : The short, anxious lady rides the BIG horse! Overcoming anxiety



Heinz 57
Jan. 5, 2011, 02:58 PM
Just had a feel-good moment to share, and maybe offer a little inspiration to those with riding anxiety issues...

A friend of mine that I met through an instructor years ago has developed some anxiety issues in the last six or seven years - mostly related to the feeling of not being 'in control', like the horse running away or spooking uncontrollably. She's a good little rider, but has other hobbies and hasn't been as devoted to her riding in the last few years which has compounded the problem. Her horse, as it has aged has added to her anxiety. She rides infrequently now, at best maybe once a week during the nicer months and has not ridden many horses besides her own - and is certainly not comfortable doing so. The old grey mare really ain't what she used to be, and she knows it is time to retire her and start shopping - but is terrified of the idea of riding another horse.

In an effort to remedy this, she came out to my place on Sunday with the intention of having me give her a lesson on one of my horses. When she arrived, I was already schooling my mare, and after watching me for a few minutes asked if she could get on. So, the dyed-in-the-wool dressage rider/eventer climbed aboard my cowpony in my western saddle and putted around at the trot with some notable anxiety. No loping today, she says, but admits to having fun once the initial 'OMG! Panic!' was gone and we got to working.

Then we moved on to the horse I'd originally intended her to ride, my teenaged jumper gelding. Still a bit anxious, but after some time worked up from a pleasure jog to a respectable working trot. Still no cantering, she says. Not today. No pressure, says I.

I had planned to ride the last (and largest, at 17.2+) horse once we finished, and invited her to stay and ride around. She asks if she can just walk. Again, no pressure, I say. He's a big boy and she's a small lady. He's also the calmest of the three horses I own, but due to his size can be a little intimidating. So, as with the others - I hopped on and warmed up, and then handed over the reins.

She walked for quite a while. He's got a BIG, swinging walk. Would you like to trot, I ask? After much thumping and clucking, he trots a few big paces and drops back to the walk. You might have to kick a little harder, I suggest. And keep kicking (as I'm silently blessing the saintly giant of a horse). After some convincing, he manages to maintain a lazy trot and they go round and round for a while, eventually producing squeals of 'this is FUN!'. After a handful of squeals and giggles... Would you like to CANTER, I ask? Ummm....errr...yeah, kind of. Let's go.

KICK ON! :yes: :winkgrin:


http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/erin7264/Rescue/P1010390.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/erin7264/Rescue/P1010435.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/erin7264/Rescue/P1010432.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/erin7264/Rescue/P1010440.jpg

netg
Jan. 5, 2011, 03:16 PM
Great story!

And, um... wait. Is he the rescued horse? Or am I confusing you with someone else from whom I was hoping we would soon have movement pictures?


(Your story kind of reminded me of my mom's first ride on my "hot" and "crazy" 16.3 OTTB. She's 60-something, hadn't ridden in 15 years, had never ridden in an English saddle, had always been told TBs are nuts, and had never ridden a horse over 16 hands. Gets on, starts walking, gives me a "see you later" and wanders off without me around the property at a snail crawl, as he attempts to have no overtrack in his walk, and hesitates before putting each hoof down.)

Daisey-Bogie
Jan. 5, 2011, 03:32 PM
go for it from another short lady, who has size intimidation. i ride a hafie. i like being able to mount, but have ridden, when I was working students, the big guys. I also got to be the guinea pig, when a new "quote" safe horse for sale came to the barn. I got to ride him, then they ask, so how was? I never knbew I was going to get. But glad I got to ride a lot.

Heinz 57
Jan. 5, 2011, 07:11 PM
Great story!

And, um... wait. Is he the rescued horse? Or am I confusing you with someone else from whom I was hoping we would soon have movement pictures?


You caught me. That's him, although I wouldn't say these pictures are his best work. :lol: He was pretty much doing his own thing, and he's only been back to work for the last few weeks.

RunForIt
Jan. 5, 2011, 08:10 PM
Good for your friend and you gotta love that horse! My first canter coming back from the broken neck was on a similar saint horse, with the dialogue almost identical...I went from walking around on the 17 hand guy, to trotting happily to, "When you're ready, ask him to canter",
"DO WHAT?!" I asked, but half heartedly "asked" and off we went and I never wanted to stop...gotta love those saint horses (and the trainers like you and Lellie who know how to help us take those tiny steps that turn into big, safe, happy leaps!) :cool:

CobJockey
Jan. 5, 2011, 08:22 PM
Oh my gosh, you just described me, everything about me! After thinking I "had to" ride the big guys for years, I discovered Welsh Cobs and was just so happy! There is nothing better than feeling totally safe and happy aboard a galloping horse in a hayfield instead of worrying whether you're in control or not. I'm conquering my fear too, by taking lessons on big guys, and I hope to get more comfortable on them, but I'll always go back to my Cobs. Thanks for sharing!

Layne Farm
Jan. 5, 2011, 09:46 PM
What a great story :) The last pic is the best with her HUGE smile on ;) You did great with her and so did your ponies.

cranky
Jan. 5, 2011, 09:49 PM
Great story, thanks for sharing! As someone who has her own share of issues with nerves, I love posts like this.

netg
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:27 AM
You caught me. That's him, although I wouldn't say these pictures are his best work. :lol: He was pretty much doing his own thing, and he's only been back to work for the last few weeks.

His best work or not, he still looks great with her! What a good boy, and what a find for you!

Heinz 57
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:38 PM
His best work or not, he still looks great with her! What a good boy, and what a find for you!

I know he's rather large, and the discussion on HannoMerci's most recent confo critique has reminded me that such large ones don't always do so well, but....

I'm hoping this one turns out well. He's not at all heavy or clunky to ride, and I would venture to say he's possibly one of the LIGHTEST horses I've ever ridden. He's got some of that floaty, WB-y movement and the canter is to DIE for. I've galloped him around the field (in his fitter days, mind you) and he's an absolute blast, plus he's got such a nice big sweeping stride that making time shouldn't be an issue if I can ever manage to get him really going o/f. I think I'm going to need a neck strap with this one...!

Ridingeaglesflight
Jan. 6, 2011, 01:45 PM
Great story! Her smile says it all! :-)

Hollywood
Jan. 6, 2011, 07:59 PM
Great story, thanks for sharing! As someone who has her own share of issues with nerves, I love posts like this.

Ditto :-)