Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
taking the PLUNGE -- Dived in and survived! Report P.2
I completely lost my nerve for riding alone about two years ago. Lost part of it when my rotator cuff was ruptured, then lost more when I fell and was dragged, and lost another bit when the saddle slipped and I hit the ground. My age and no riding companions just stopped my riding, although I still own horses that are getting little or no work.
Well, darn it, I've decided it's time to get back in the saddle again. So I've found an eventing barn only 60 miles away that has schoolies and specializes in beginners. Will have a diagnostic lesson on Friday, Isaac permitting. I figure a couple of months or more of flatwork on beginner horses with someone who does kids might get my confidence back; then I'll look into training board for one of mine and lessons on her. A month or so of no stirrup work at the walk, moving to the trot, then to stirrups.
Sounds like a plan, no?
I CAN DO THIS.
Last edited by vineyridge; Sep. 7, 2012 at 04:45 PM.
"I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay." Thread killer Extraordinaire
Making the plan is the first and biggest step. Then sharing your goals with others to so we can support and encourage you is the second. Sounds like your on the right track!
Keep everyone posted on your progress. Just remember the great times you had riding in the past, the relationships you had with your horses, the euphoria of those elusive ah ha! moments but most of all be gentle with yourself. Give yourself permission to go slow. And remember trust is easily lost and slow to rebuild but it will happen!!
Oh! You must be so nervous and excited! Making that first appointment was a HUGE step! Please keep us posted!! It takes ages to get the confidence back. I'm still working on it and the horse who shattered mine has been dead for 6 years!!! Have fun, Viney!
Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.
I'm not sure if you have a quiet one to trail ride on but that is what helped me really get back into the swing of things. I joined a local trail riding club. The low key "who cares what you look like" atmosphere made me much more relaxed.
Now I'm up to taking lessons, going to clinics and going to local shows. I'm taking my guy to his first 3 phase in a couple of weeks - yay!!
I'm really pulling for you--good school horses and an understanding instructor might be able to restore your confidence faster than you think. I, also, had a crisis of nerve about 10 years ago; and being a professional, that really sucked. I'd set my entire life up around being able to have nice horses, and suddenly I was making excuses to do laundry instead of ride! It had a lot to do with a chain of hairy near-misses involving 2 very dangerous horses in a row that I wound up owning and trying to "fix."
I was relating quite a lot to that scene in "Top Gun" where the pilot throws his wings insignia down on the CO's table and says, "Sorry, sir, I've lost the edge!" For a long time I would only do very mild stuff on a succession of semi-retired old packers; and hated myself for having become one of the Old Ladies On The Buckle I'd thought pathetic in my fire-eating eventer days.
Then I had the opportunity (practically a gift!) to buy a very nice weanling. Could I really contemplate riding babies again?
Would the same horror of spinning and bolting on the road happen again, would I ruin her through my lack of nerve? As she grew I did a lot of agonizing, then studying, then working progressively on REGAINING my nerve systematically; and also engaged someone who did it every day to be the First One Up when fillyfoal's time to start came! When we came together under saddle at last, it felt like having my old eventer back--without a lot of his difficulties. On the strength of this, bought another youngster, gaited horse this time, and have been enjoying the heck out of him every day too.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! Is it difficult to overcome old memories of mayhem? You better believe it! One book that helped me tremendously wasn't about horses at all--it was Col. Grossman's "On Combat." He takes you through every high-stress scenario common to police and soldiers and gives you very systematic and effective tools for controlling your mind and body so you can FUNCTION and not get in your own way. It's a matter of "reprogramming" and it WORKS. Just knowing the difference between an adrenaline dump and "cowardice" makes all the difference in the world! Just plan the ride, then ride the plan.
My youngsters and I are making adventures and wet saddle pads together in rough open country, most days alone and loving it, and you can do it too--throw the "Four Feathers" to the wind, screw down that old Caliente and kick on!