When will they come back? My guts, that is. Been to see the horses twice (baby is 13 days old) and its like I've never been near a horse. I'm overly cautious (like 10 foot radius while walking behind one) and I feel like a newbie.
I cannot imagine getting on my hot-ish Oldenburg any time soon (who has no dirty tricks or bad manners but is just a high energy reactive horse). I'm already talking about selling her but holding in case I regret it.
Moms, will my nerves re-settle? Or has survival trumped my once reckless nature?
My DD is 6 months old now, and I still get sweaty palms when I get on my mare, who is a total greenbean. They are manageable though, and I'm MUCH more comfortable than I was when she was a new baby (sob).
Give yourself time, you did JUST have baby, your hormones are all OVER the place and I think that that has a lot to do with the nerves. I'm sure that you will get re-acclimated with your horse once the newness of having a LO wears off.
Moms, will my nerves re-settle? Or has survival trumped my once reckless nature?
A little bit of both, probably
Initially when my son was born, I was a bit of a neurotic basket case, though my anxiety was all about him, and I was fine with the horses as long as he wasn't with me. It was bad enough that the doctor put me on medication for post-partum anxiety, which was really helpful. I was waking up in a complete state of panic several times a night. On top of having to wake up to feed/change my newborn son several times a night. Talk about serious sleep deprivation. Probably not necessary if you're only having symptoms around the horses, but it could be worthwhile talking to your doctor if the anxiety is seeping into the rest of your life as well.
The post-partum anxiety issues resolved years ago for me (my son is 8), but I'm definitely still more aware of the consequences of being injured. If I fall off while riding and need to be hospitalized, who will pick my son up from school? What will happen to him if I suffer a traumatic brain injury, or die? All those things would be really awful even if it was just me, but having a little person depending on you makes everything much more serious.
While there's absolutely nothing wrong with selling a reactive horse and moving on to a more steady-eddie type, I think you're right to hold out on selling your mare right now. You've had a life-changing experience. Wait until the dust settles, and then see how you feel.
"In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
You'll more than likely stay cautious - it's an instinct for good mom's! You'll even start driving like a grandma and avoiding anyone that appears to have a cold or skin condition .
I started jumping this year - my daughter is 13 year s old. I only started trail riding again about 4 years ago. That's how long it's taken me to get nerves again! In the meantime I enjoyed dressage and told myself that was a safe and respectable way to ride for a mommy.
I don't think it is unusual at all. When I was pregnant with my son, I was high risk and I remember going out to the barn to see my horse and I was like you... 10 foot radius... didn't want to go near him! I remember thinking, WTF is wrong with me! But my level of self-preservation was through the roof.
Post-baby I had extreme anxiety, not just about horses, but about everything. I am finding now that a LOT of women go through that. I think it is typical to a degree, but can be debilitating for some, and is worth discussing with a doc if one feels it is extreme. I wish I had-- I think mine was a form of PPD and probably warranted treatment, but I didn't realize it while I was IN it.
It took me a year to get back in the saddle. I had a c-section and a rough recovery and really just didn't have much of an interest in riding for awhile. Then I started back on a small, broke lesson horse, and built from there. While I was very out of shape and carrying extra weight, I found my balance was still superb and it was literally like "riding a bike." It all came back. Maybe not as fast as I wanted, but it did. Last spring (2 years post baby) I was finally back jumping regularly.
Yeah there are a ton of stories about women hopping back on horses like nothing ever happened, just weeks after birth, but the truth is not all (and probably, not most) people can or do get right back in the saddle.
We adopted in 2006 and I didn't miss a beat riding throughout the adoption and just after. In fact I bought a very challenging project when our daughter was 3 months old. I never had anxiety or fear issues, even though I had become a mother and obviously realized that a small, helpless human now depended on me.
Which leads me to believe that the hormones and physical experience of being pregnant and giving birth definitely play a big role in the anxiety/loss of nerve/fear/whatev. So be kind to yourself. The reality is we are animals too and have instincts and physiological responses to things... and pregnancy and motherhood is a major shift for a woman, emotionally and physically. Give yourself some time and don't rush anything. Besides, they are only little for a short time so it is worth enjoying.
Congratulations and good luck!!
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
Thanks! I'm on anxiety meds now, have been for years with a break while pregnant.
The horse needs a ft job and I can't see how I will do that when I have the baby. I do have a steady Morgan who doesn't phase me nearly as much so he good. He's 16 and a bit arthritic so if I do sell the mare, Murphy's law...sown thing will render him unrideable!
I plan on waiting till spring to see how I feel and how the dust settles. Part of it I think is adjusting to not having my son in my belly. I was so used to staying away and patting over the fence the last 3 months and only grooming prior to that.
Every new Mom has her comfort zone and there is no right or wrong, do what works for you. For every new Mom who takes a year or two off from riding after giving birth there is a showjumper or eventing Mom who is back competing at a high level moments after giving birth.
With my first pregnancy I rode until the 6 month then decided my balance was too wonky so I put away the saddle but continued to teach lessons and run our small boarding barn. I started riding again once released from the doctor and was fox hunting on my saint of a dead broke horse at the 6 week post delivery point. Green horses or fractious horses, nope, I wouldn't have chanced that.
Do what works for you and congrats on that baby! Enjoy every moment!
It's possible that your emotions are a bit messed up by post partum hormones or even depression- two weeks is REALLY soon after having a baby. It's possible that those feelings are actually everywhere in your life 24/7 it's just that you are really aware of them when it comes to your horses.
Congratulations on your new baby, I'd just focus on this newborn time and put the horses on the back burner for a month or two without letting this add to any stress to the big adjustment you are already dealing with.
Also- your body take a while to heal from birth- it's not like just because the baby is on the outside now- that YOU are 100% just like prepregnancy... the pregnancy process makes some big changes on bones and ligaments and it takes a while for all that to get back to normal.
As most folks have said, everyone is different and you have to really remember that there is NO right or wrong, it's whatever feels right for you. If you feel nervous and get onto your horse, remember that you will exude that nervousness which won't help for a good ride.
I will admit that my comfort level has seriously changed. I have my guys at home and quite honestly rarely ride anymore. My daughter is 6 and I am the main bread winner. The thought of being crippled, or even worse killed, and never seeing her grow up is beyond me. Having said that we have had a journey that most people (thankfully) won't have had, so these thoughts are quite prominent in my head.
I am still completely comfortable handling the horses, loading, dealing with a naughty horse, but my riding just isn't there again yet.
Having said all of this, it doesn't bother me. I loved riding. I have been infatuated with horses since I was a toddler, but now that I have my daughter, although I still love my horses, she has taken over and is way more interesting and fun than my horses are, at this time in my life.
Take it easy and see how you feel in a few months. Your feelings are normal. I didn't lose my nerve but my husband lost his. I promised to stop breaking babies myself, which is not an unreasonable request on his part.
I don't think much about whether I'm going to get maimed when I'm in the barn. If you are always thinking about how dangerous they are, they are more dangerous because they pick up on your fear so that it exacerbates theirs. Try to force those thoughts out of your mind and just focus on the animal when you are handling it.
I didn't get horses until my kids were older, so didn't have those new baby fears. But when my husband was diagnosed with leukemia I completely lost my nerve. I would get cold sweats thinking about what if I got injured or killed and left my children orphaned. I sold my horse.
Two years later I decided there were a ton of things I could do with horses that were safe(r) than jumping, so I bought a new horse and focused exclusively on things where my horse and I didn't leave the ground. Dabbled in dressage, rode with a ladies parade and drill team, started trail riding, showed in western events. I knew that there were still risks in riding, of course.
It really helped me get my nerve back and my enjoyment of horses returned.
It's been 20 years, and I'm still cautious but I have my horses at home and ride 4 times a week.
Last edited by saddleup; Aug. 30, 2012 at 01:31 PM.
Everyone is different. Has a different comfort zone. Me, I broke a filly when I was four months preggers with first child and only quit riding because my balance was off.
But the subsequent kids, I got more afraid as time went on. I'm not sure if it were the kids or just common sense settling in.
From the sound of your post, I say wait a while, see how you feel, see what happens. We're going into Fall and, around here at least, not the best time to sell (when is it ever nowadays??). There isn't anything wrong with a horse holding the pasture down for an infinite amount of time.
Maybe lease her out, if you can, if she needs saddle time, to some rider. Selling seems a bit too abrupt at this point, as long as you can swing the feed/hay/trims/etc. I think you might regret the sale.
As other people have said, this is entirely natural. It's nature's way of ensuring that you will be around to take care of baby. Even animal moms don't take unnecessary risks when they have little ones. In time, your nerve will come back although you may go to safer horseback activities. If your horse needs regular work, you might try a part lease or someone who loves to ride but can't keep a horse right now to keep him in work.
Congratulations on the new baby, take care of him/her and yourself.
Good to know I'm normal! Everything is so different that it boggles the mind!
It is... but so much is hormonal, too. I stopped nursing at about 13 months and it took some time for my body to return to a more normal state. I didn't feel like "myself" until I was about 18 months postpartum.
My hormones are still a bit off, over two years out, but I feel more like who I was before pregnancy... if that makes any sense.
Because everyone has babies it seems like No Big Deal but it is a pretty huge assault on your body. Just be kind to yourself, and be patient.
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
This is a great thread! My kids are 8, 6, and 5. I finally have my nerve back Sort of.. If my horse is prancing around cause of flies when it is time to mount, I make my husband hold the bridle. I try to be cautious, but also remember it is not safe to be too nervous. Taking lessons is helping. I'm sure I could have overcome this sooner. This is just when I got myself motivated to change. I do have to say, having kids so close together, I was in the hormonal fog for an extended period of time. It was 2 or 3 years after my third was born that I realized - hey, I feel normal now. And only then did I realize how much anxiety I had lived with for so long.
If you just had a baby 13 days ago and are usually on anti-anxiety meds and have just returned to them, your body has not even had time for them to start working. I'm guessing you have an SSRI which takes 4-6 weeks to really start working- definitely give it time!!
Uh, I remember panicking at the thought of walking down the stairs while holding my newborn son! You can imagine how I was with the horses.
Your self-perservation instinct is here to stay, but it does ease up some as they age and become a bit less dependent on you.
I agree with everyone else - you have hormones flying around like crazy and it's too soon to make any decisions right now. Give it some time and just enjoy your baby - the time goes by way too quickly.
As for your mare (?) that needs a job, can you lease her out to someone?
“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