Checking back in - sorry to disappear after my initial introduction! I got a part in a play and while I was still riding I was also very busy with rehearsals and the production, so no time to post.
Lessons have been going mostly well. After falling off while cantering in my first lesson, we worked a lot on strengthening my legs and I'm now cantering again. At first I had a death grip on the reins, but I'm learning to relax and I felt much better when I rode last night. I also am finally starting to get my diagonals again after having a really hard time seeing them at first.
The one area where I'm having difficulty is the return of fear, which is what made me give up riding the first time when I was a kid. I've been trotting over some small jumps, and it's been going well, but the past two lessons the horse I've been riding (not mine - I am not a horse owner yet) has been in a mood, shall we say, and has tried to take off with me a couple of times. Once he started cantering in a line towards a very high jump and I was just able to turn him at the last minute.
Although he's been O.K. going over jumps with me, last night, after a good start, he was being really uncooperative and I suddenly just felt like I absolutely couldn't do it anymore. I nearly cried in front of my instructor! I asked if I could just trot over a ground pole instead, and then I walked him out and took him back to the barn. I feel like it was right not to continue jumping when I didn't feel confident in my control over the horse, but at the same time I feel disappointed that after months of continuously building on my skills and having good lessons I've now had two in a row where I didn't feel in control. I'm not riding next week because my instructor is at a show, so hopefully by the week after that the horse will have got whatever's bugging him out of his system and I can get back into jumping. I'm just afraid that if he acts up again the anxiety will build, and I really don't want that to stop me from learning! Any tips?
Hi, all. I'm catching up this week as well. It's day 12 with the cast/immobility and I'm going crazy. I hate feeling so dependent. My husband has been good with helping me and taking over cooking duties, etc., but it's still driving me crazy. I did manage to do two deposition jobs this week (court reporting), but it wasn't easy. I had to get people to carry my equipment in for me and had to prop my leg up. But at least I was able to do it.
Not being with the horses has been tough, too. Though I was able to go watch my husband take a lesson last Saturday. I had him take my lesson slot rather than cancel altogether. It was fun to watch. I was the official videographer. His horse hasn't gotten off the farm too much, so it was good for him. He did well other than dead stopping and staring every time a bicyclist went by the farm. Silly boy. Weird thing is, we have tons of them go by his paddock every weekend.
Pancakes, hugs. Hope things turn sunny soon. Thoughts are with you. And a horse will come. You just may be in an expensive place, so may take longer. I'll keep my eyes open here in TN.
Classyrider, BEAUTIFUL pictures. I love each of your three pics.
Tarheel, love your boy as well. Even love the artsy shot. I have a favorite of Chico of just his eye. I will post it later.
Dachelle, hang in there. Two and a half years ago when I had two falls with one of my former horses, I lost all confidence. I ended up looking at a quarter horse at a farm where I took my mare for 30-days training. I was in a round pen riding him, and I was frightened to canter him. It was really weird, but I was really scared. And I saw the owner ride him and my husband rode him, but I got on and could hardly do it. Finally did a little and bought him. He was a great horse. He ended up laminitis so he ended up going back, but he helped me a lot. And then I started lessons again. Bingo! That was it. I have the confidence back and riding and jumping are fun again. Can't wait to get back to it when my ankle heals!
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
¯ Oscar Wilde
Cool! Thanks so much for this - I would not have seen it.
Dachelle -- just hang in there! I too deal with some fear issues. My horse had a bad stumble while we were cantering ground poles in summer of 2010. It scared him, because I think he was having trouble getting his balance back, and he started bucking like it was his job (my trainer couldn't believe her eyes, since he is generally so laid back). I came off after the 3rd or 4th big one! It's a miracle I stayed on as long as I did.
I had fallen off before, but I had never been bucked off, and nothing in my previous existence had prepared me for the force with which I hit the ground. I ended up with a broken collar bone and lots of bruising that was worse than anything I'd ever had before. I still have a small spot on my right hip that is numb to the touch because my nerves are toast there -- but I don't even notice it much anymore.
Anyway, some days I don't think about it at all and I am fine. Other days the fear creeps in, and those days are usually when my horse is giving me a little push back and acting like a brat. I did not canter him the other day becuase it was windy and he was being difficult that day and I just let the fear get the better of me. I had worked him through some difficulties getting him to go on the bit at the trot, and I decided I'd rather end the lesson on a good note than get into another battle with him at the canter. And I definitely did not want to lose a battle at the canter.
Now this is all stupid, because I have cantered plenty of times now since the fall in 2010. But that day, for whatever reason, I just didn't have the confidence to go there. It is so frustrating -- especially since I really thought I had those apprehensions behind me. But I can't beat myself up about it. Everything takes time, and I guess you and I (and probably a few others) need a bit more time in order to get past our demons 100%.
I highly recommend Jane Savoie's "Freedom from Fear" DVDs/CDs. The set is a little pricey, but it really helped me when I first started riding again after my bad fall. In fact, I think I will listen to them again, since I had that little slip in confidence last weekend.
Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson
Jody, I did read your column and can, indeed relate. Although my experience does not involve a head injury, I ride with Mr. Fear and Anxiety every single time. I have a brain geared toward OMG what if?????? I have to work really hard to ride in the now. As you can see from my sig line, that's my new mantra. A few weeks ago, it was windy, chilly, horse was being a jerk, spooked twice, but I stayed on. But, didn't realize what I had done at the time and had a total melt down, and snivled for hours. It wasn't until later that I realized, nothing bad happened.
I read all the posts on the anxiety with interest. I think it was the previous round of anxiety posts which prompted me to buy my safety vest! May those of you suffering from anxiety be able to conquer it and enjoy your horses!
Pancakes, I hope you're doing OK! Let us know!
I heard a neigh. Oh, such a brisk and melodious neigh as that was! My very heart leaped with delight at the sound. --Nathaniel Hawthorne
Just thought I would report on the show yesterday, our last of the season. Sky was a very good girl, although we had a few issues. In her 2' schooling division, she had a very good warm-up trip, and then her first trip was just super--she won the class over 7 or 8 others. She was so relaxed. Then in the final trip, after the first line, she landed on her left lead (almost never happens), and I got a bit discombobulated when I asked for the change. I think I leaned in. Anyway, she changed only in front, and when I kicked her to complete the change, she bucked and then knocked the next fence down. So that was a mess. Then in the under saddle, we ran into traffic problems during the second canter. I had to steer clear, and she decided to swap leads. Then it took me two tries to put her right. So that was a mess, too. So of the three classes in the division, she had one blue and two did-not-places. It's all learning, right?
In adult eq on the flat, she was very good. I placed 2nd, very good for me. Then they needed another adult rider over fences for the class to make. Sky is not ready for that, so I was asked to climb on the little QH I posted about earlier (the one I trained who is now being leased by someone else). I was happy to do it although I hadn't ridden him in a year. I threw my saddle on him, learned the course in two minutes, and jumped him around while they were holding up Pleasure Horse for me in the second ring. I had a blast! Then I threw my saddle back on Sky, whipped off the safety vest, and trotted over to the other ring. She was such a good girl, she went around on a nice loose rein. I couldn't have been happier. She placed second in that, so our day ended on a good note.
Here are some pics, all taken by DH. The jumping one is from adult eq, where I am riding the little QH. The others are of Sky on the flat, with several of her in Pleasure Horse on a loose rein.
Sorry its been a while..
Pancakes sorry about your horse...I feel it will work out in end and another horse will come your way and be what you need.
I sit here and wonder what tomorrow will bring. Because of the election I have not slept since well not past 2am. I am having for want of a better word " flash backs" to another electon one where the winner vowed he wuold cut the military in half and he did.
Though obama didnt say this he has already cut spending and through automatic speandng cuts which redces forces my fears are real. It is cheaper to "pay" for 2 or 3 E-1's than 1 E-6 who isclose to an E-7... same it was 19yrs ago when the Navy computers spit out my Dh's number as an E-5.. cheaper to pay E-1's to do same job.. 6mths from now will dh have a job? Grated its only part time with the Guard... But ....
The thing is his job with the Guard isnt something many want to do. And isnt something one learns over night...And if he gets "called up" or his unit gets activated for their job.. we may as well bend over and kiss out collective buttocks goodbye... But he is of the prime rank that frist gets cut unless he can prove he is worth his pay(which they want to cut in half). starting the first of the year if it goes through.After the enarurgatin(sp)..Of course he isnt allowed to offically(but to me he is) say anything about it..(remember he has no constional(sp) rights as long as he carries a military id).
And t top it off. sould he be RIFFED( Reduction In Forces Froced out is what is what we call it what it really stand for i dont know) agian we wil be in violation of the health care law and get taxed.. which we can not afford.. So thanks so much.. you have no idea what you did..
Sorry for that it is something I just had to get off my chest.. was not aimed at anyone..
I read your column with some interst. While my anexity did not come from the many falls I had as a Jr. they were just part of riding. They did not even come from falls I had as an amature with helmets(I still pefer the hunt caps of old dont ask me why) I hav not have any yet.. knock on wood.
They have olny come in the last 5 or 6 mts when I have death again and beat it. But I am scared to get on even a pony right now though I have one avalable to me at any time. He is just a titch over a SM pony but nt quite Med.. But it is me I am afrade my balance is still off.
So that is my thing I have to get over to get back on the horses and do what I do best..
Jody I read your column. My son had a bad fall from his horse last summer. The pediatrician ordered an urgent CAT scan suspecting a skull fracture and a bleed into his brain. He was wearing a Charles Owen. There was no fracture. There was no bleed. I threw that helmet in the trash and went out and bought another one for him. That helmet saved my son. I wrote the Charles Owen people and thanked them from the bottom of my heart. My daughter rides in one too. I also don't care what they cost. The CO people were so very nice. Apparently if you do have a crash, if you send the helmet to them they will give you a discount on a replacement. It was too late for me because I had already thrown out the old one but I don't care. My children will continue to ride in them. Disclaimer I have no affiliation with this company, just a relieved and grateful Mom.
Drum roll please! After fourteen months, I had my first totally normal ride on my TB today! Sound and even trotting both directions all the way around the ring. No stopping for corners, no head bobbing, no hesitation. Just a nice steady ride. We are all very relieved that the ordeal is just about over (IF he doesn't do anything stupid when he gets to canter starting Wednesday.) Please keep your fingers crossed.
Tarheel- Tajar is beautiful! What lovely coloring.
Pancakes, it sounds like you have totally reasonable expectations, and I actually saw a horse here in georgia that might be suitable for you recently... let me see if I can find the ad. Hang in there.
I can totally relate about the fear as well.... I actually was so scared after my former gelding ruined my confidence that I almost sent Ollie back when he was on trial because of my continuing nerve issues, and he has a HUGE stride that was freaking me out. SO glad I didn't send him back, as he truly is a saint of a horse who is so forgiving. I eventually just forced myself to fake it until I made it. I kept telling myself, "This will never get better until you actually do it." It's so hard to overcome those mental blocks. But once you get over it- it's so worth it to force yourself through the uncomfortable moments, if you know that it's 100% in your head and not a real ability issue. I've gone from trotting crossrails to occasionally jumping three feet now in the span of five months.
Yay pony4me and YAY, Dewey!! How fantastic, and you two look GREAT.
I had a show this weekend too- last of the year. And Saturday morning was Trouble with a capital T. I got on Ollie to school a few jumps at about 6:45 before everyone got going, so I could see how he was before our 8 a.m. class to see if I needed to wake him up, warm him up extensively, etc. Well my saintly cool as a cucumber horse turned into a fire-breather and started crow-hopping after/between jumps, shaking his head and being generally stupid. So I decided it was the cold weather and took him off to lunge him a bit to get some of the stupid out.
WELL. I put him on the lunge in the lunging ring, and as soon as I asked him to go, he flipped his head and neck and tore off, burning my hand with the lunge line. I had NO chance of holding onto the beast. Someone hadn't closed the gate, so he tore off through the gate and started running down the rows of stalls. He stopped on his own, and I calmly walked him to my trainer, who said GIVE HIM TO ME. So she took him to lunge him, and he pulled the same damn stunt AGAIN as someone was trying to come into the ring and almost knocked someone over. We then took him to the round pen and free lunged him for 10 minutes or so...after a few minutes, he stopped and looked at us like, "Sorry, I lost my brain, but I found it- can I stop now?" So he was a hot sweaty mess, I was a ball of nerves, and we decided to scratch my first three classes - the division I was champion in last time
So in my afternoon classes, in my move-up division I just started two shows ago, we got a 3rd and a 5th over fences out of 10, and a 5th in the flat. I was SO proud of those over-fences ribbons, as he did not even once try to barrel towards the gate or refuse to turn coming off the inside lines, which have been our biggest issues for months. SUCH an improvement! I was very happy to have my normal horse back. Still don't know what got into him, but that mood left him as quickly as it came.
We saw some little girls from his previous barn, though, and they said that he actually was given a tube of Perfect Prep every show before I got him, he often was stupid on show days, and he would often pull stunts even at home to try to mess you up in the ring. This actually made me feel pretty good, as from what I could gather, he's actually better behaved for me then he was at his old barn
Thanks! We did just a schooling show- Rolling Hills. My barn doesn't tend to go to rated shows, as most of us are working adults without the rated-show funds! Not that we're ready for bigger shows, anyway. Maybe one day. We're actually looking at changing up some shows next year- any recs for local shows in the area, up to a 2-ish hour drive or so?
Dachelle – I feel your pain! When I started riding again about 7 or 8 years ago, I had a number of times where I got frustrated to the point of tears; sometimes because I didn’t have the skills to get my bull-headed mount to do what I wanted, other times because I got frightened. Fear is something that we *all* deal with – some more than others. I still have fear issues. I, in particular, have a fear of cantering. And I’ve never even fallen off at the canter. It’s just the thought of what *might happen* if I did, and how I *might* hurt myself. It’s totally my own fault.
I still deal with the fear stuff, so I don’t have many words of wisdom for you. All I can say is that I try to face it and conquer it every chance I can. But, sometimes if I’m *really* feeling fragile (mentally), I just let it go for that day, because those are the times when it’s better to have a good experience and get my confidence back. Know what I mean? Anyway, best of luck to you. I know how you feel!
ParadoxFarm – I apologize that I came to this thread late and don’t know what happened, but either way, I’m sorry you’re not able to ride right now! I know the feeling! Not the same situation, but I had to have some major surgery a year ago in October. I was basically out-of-commission for a month! And then I had to go back to things *very* slowly. It is *very* difficult to be dependent on others, but it sounds like you have a wonderful support system in your hubby. I think he’s a keeper. And how fun to watch him take a lesson! Hehe!
Jaslyn – Haha! I love your new mantra – I may make it mine, as well, because I’ve done *exactly* what you mentioned more than once (stayed on just fine, but got freaked out and had an emotional meltdown when it was over. Then, days later I realize, “Wait – I did good! And nothing bad happened!).
Dewey – Aaawww – yay!!! I’m so glad you and Sky had a pretty good show! You look amazing on both those horses, and they are both darling mounts! And don’t be too tough on yourself about the two classes where you did not place – they just give you a little something to work on. Hey, at least you can get Sky to swap leads – I haven’t properly learned to do it at all yet! The only way it happens is if my horse offers it on his/her own. That’s one of the first things I’m going to ask my trainer to teach me when I start lessons again…
Pony4Me – Congratulations!!! I will indeed cross my fingers for you.
PaintedHunter – Wow! Congrats on those ribbons, and kudos to you for showing in the afternoon! I know my own chicken-self would probably have just scratched it for the whole day, but I bet it felt great to get those ribbons since you got on him and rode despite the nerves. Good for you!
...As for me, I'm kind of depressed because I didn't get to see my horses *at all* this past weekend. So, it's been about a week and a half since I've seen them. I hate it when I don't get my horse time. And there's a possibility that I won't get to see them this coming weekend, either! How in the world am I going to maintain my sanity when I don't get to talk to my "barn therapists," hmmmm?