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The fearful young student- having hysterical fits- UPDATE post 163

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  • #81
    Originally posted by danceronice View Post
    Gum is a choking hazard. (And a gauche habit, anyway. Just because everyone does it doesn't mean it looks nice) ESPECIALLY if she's having a panic attack.
    I hardly see how it's more of a choking hazard being led around at a walk on a horse's back than on the ground. And if trainer wanted to try it, perhaps we can assume an adult would exercise a modicum of common sense and not give it if the kid's hyperventilating or sobbing. And last but not least, I don't much care whether YOU think it's "gauche" if it helps a child break the chain of fear. It would be a simple tool--you know, like an assault rifle! No one said she's going to be chewing it like a cow all day. She woudn't even be allowed to at school.
    Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

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    • #82
      Originally posted by Lady Eboshi View Post

      Teach her "square breathing." For those who have not done Lamaze or some other trainings, you breathe in slowly through your nose for a count of 4; hold it full for a count of 4; exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of 4; then hold empty for a count of 4.
      now THIS is useful.

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      • #83
        Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
        here is the thing. YOU don't get to decide if the fear level is acceptable. It is what it is. You also don't get to reassign the terminology from terrified to temper tantrum
        Actually, as the adult in charge she does get to decide if the fear level is "acceptable". She also is free to call a tantrum a tantrum, regardless of the motivation for it.

        A riding instructor is king in the ring. If he or she decides you are done either for the day, or permanently, then you are. If you disagree, take your business elsewhere.

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        • #84
          Originally posted by caballero View Post
          If you disagree, take your business elsewhere.
          don't you lose even a minute of sleep over this caballero, I would take my business elsewhere

          Comment


          • #85
            I teach able riding lessons and I am a PATH Intl. certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, too. From what you've described here, the child has had two frightening experiences and falls, whether she landed on her feet before she went down or not. Off is off.

            Some kids and adults can bounce right back like nothing happened, but for some people, it instills a deep seated fear. If the pony misbehaved and she fell off when the jet flew low, it's understandable that when the jet flew low again, it was a trigger for her.
            She may have a form of PTSD, which is completely understandable if she has experienced the pony bucking her off at the roaring sound of a low jet. You say that you don't show your irritation with the child, but kids are very intuitive, and she has probably picked up on your, 'put on your big girl panties' attitude which just makes it worse because it adds shame to the situation.

            I've taught both kids and adults who have come to a therapeutic riding program because they've had a traumatic fall off a horse in the past. I'm sure you are a fine instructor, but perhaps not the right instructor for a child who needs to start over to rebuild her confidence and overcome her fear.

            Comment


            • #86
              Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
              IShe was fine up until the jets started.
              I'm fine with the dentist till the whine of the drill starts.

              When the jets started, it was what is called a triggering event.

              3. trigger - an act that sets in motion some course of eventstrigger - an act that sets in motion some course of events

              http://www.thefreedictionary.com/trigger

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              • #87
                Could you teach her how to get off a horse quickly if she is scared? ie. an emergency dismount? sounds like if you put her in control of the situation, she will hopefully be more confident about handling it. I could write a million more things about this, having been teaching for nearly 10 years and having lots of experience in such things, but there are lots of great suggestions on this thread already, and I have to go sew some hats for my Etsy shop before it gets too late.....I spent too much time at the barn today.
                Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

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                • #88
                  As a mother and a rider, I think this is not about riding and showing, there is some other dynamic going on with the child and parent with these hysterical outbursts. You need to excuse yourself and tell the mother you don't want to continue the lessons, wish them well if they continue with another instructor and hope you will stay friends.

                  Comment


                  • #89
                    Originally posted by threedogpack View Post
                    I'm fine with the dentist till the whine of the drill starts.

                    When the jets started, it was what is called a triggering event.

                    3. trigger - an act that sets in motion some course of eventstrigger - an act that sets in motion some course of events

                    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/trigger
                    I agree. I am an adult, but even as a child I was very fearful of falling from a horse. If I fell off after a jet flew very close to the horse, I can honestly see myself being afraid of any kind of plane anywhere near the horse and I.
                    To me, it sounds like she is just really scared and is having panic issues. Honestly, I think that an instructor who understands fear issues would be better. I am not saying that to be harsh in any way. Some people truly don't understand fear like she is having because they've never experienced it.
                    I would discuss the show with her mother. It sounds like it could be a very bad experience for her. I think that this young girl needs to be backed way up. Lessons focused on just leading a very calm pony or grooming a very calm pony would be better at this point. Obviously, this applies only if she really wants to continue riding - but from my own experience I would say that it is entirely possible that she might want to do it. Being afraid of something doesn't always mean that you don't want to do it or not be afraid of it. She may never be a confident rider, and I think she'll need a very patient and understanding trainer.
                    I can understand where the OP and some of the other posters are coming from, but to me it really sounds like panic behavior and not a tantrum. She might be able to learn to control it eventually, but she isn't there yet. I think she'd be better in a much slower environment, on an extremely calm horse and doing easy things until she feels more confident. I doubt she can control this behavior right now.
                    Honestly, I'm not a kid person but I do feel sorry for her with this. I can't believe people are calling her behavior a tantrum or a fit. I can understand the instructor thinking that her fear wasn't warranted, but to her the fear was very real.

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                    • #90
                      I just wanted to say that when I first read your post I had much the same reaction as you: *rolleyes* Get back on the damn horse and quit crying. BUT, I realized that that's me 30 years later and not a 10 year old. When I was a kid, I flew off quite a bit but always off my ponies. When I got to camp, they put me on a big (16hh haha) horse for a day because my normal Arab wasn't feeling well. Mr. BigHorse bucked me off, and damned if I didn't cry. Embarrassing as hell. I wasn't hurt, but I didn't want to get back on him either because I was so embarrassed.
                      Have you asked her what she's afraid will happen?
                      Try visualization exercises: visualize the perfect ride, from tacking up to dismount.
                      Teach her breathing exercises - relax, breath deep, be a sack of potatoes.
                      Put her back on the lunge line if she'll let you if she gets freaked.
                      And don't take her to a show. It could be a disaster and she might never get back on a horse again.
                      You are what you dare.

                      Comment


                      • #91
                        Is the child really screaming? That's excessive and indicates she can't handle / control her own emotions. Not a big deal but I wouldn't continue the lesson until she was calmer, and when she was, ONLY with whatever she can handle. Can't mount? fine - can she groom the horse? maybe she can mount next time.
                        It's not a race or a competition. She has her whole life to learn to ride IF she wants to.
                        I have had PTSD most of my life and used to freak out about jumping; now I freak out about weird stuff and regress for a period to being terrified of riding. But I work through it with my trainer who insists I only do what I'm comfortable with, which I find reassuring. I trust her, and she always has been conservative about not letting me progress until I really have mastered previous lessons, which itself makes me feel more confident when it's time to move on.
                        I empathise with this girl but allowing screaming will only confirm for her that she should be terrified. She should not ride or handle the horse until she feels ready to continue.
                        United States Cat Dressage Federation

                        Comment


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by chai View Post
                          I teach able riding lessons and I am a PATH Intl. certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, too. From what you've described here, the child has had two frightening experiences and falls, whether she landed on her feet before she went down or not. Off is off.

                          Some kids and adults can bounce right back like nothing happened, but for some people, it instills a deep seated fear. If the pony misbehaved and she fell off when the jet flew low, it's understandable that when the jet flew low again, it was a trigger for her.
                          She may have a form of PTSD, which is completely understandable if she has experienced the pony bucking her off at the roaring sound of a low jet. You say that you don't show your irritation with the child, but kids are very intuitive, and she has probably picked up on your, 'put on your big girl panties' attitude which just makes it worse because it adds shame to the situation.

                          I've taught both kids and adults who have come to a therapeutic riding program because they've had a traumatic fall off a horse in the past. I'm sure you are a fine instructor, but perhaps not the right instructor for a child who needs to start over to rebuild her confidence and overcome her fear.
                          This, this, this. I didn't spend a LONG time (maybe six months?) with a therapeutic instructor (who also used Centered Riding, which involves visualization and breathing techniques) but it did wonders for mentally "resetting" me and eventually (after I could get on him and do more than basics without a panic attack) my horse.

                          And , Windsor1. If you can't see why you should never have ANYTHING in your mouth on a horse because it's more dangerous than 'just walking', I can't help you there.
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                          • #93
                            One key point I think is VERY important: she DOES have a legitimate reason to be fearful. OP, even though you say that you and her mother have explained to her that you wouldn't put her in harm's way, in her mind, you have already put her in harm's way by putting her on a "safe" pony that she then fell off of (sorry for the terrible grammar, I'm tired). Telling a child who is afraid after falling off that she is safe in the saddle is like telling a car crash victim that cars are totally safe. She doesn't believe you, understandably, and she won't until her confidence is rebuilt.

                            Some tips for you:

                            - No horse show until she has resolved her issues with this pony. Not as a punishment, but as a safety measure to keep her already damaged confidence from dipping lower. Master it at home, then take it to a show.

                            - Devise a plan for what to do when she gets afraid- help her to focus on something else other than the fear and avoid the panicked reaction that I gather is what folks are referring to as a tantrum (extreme fear and tantrums are very different, but that is a lesson for another day). Deep breaths (another poster recommended square breathing which is an amazing tool), counting down from ten, even naming the colors of the rainbow- something simple and easy she can do to calm herself. When she starts to get panicked, have her halt, hold the pony and go through her calming routine. Don't try to resume until she is calm and ready.

                            - Mom waits in the car- other posters have outlined the reasons so I won't repeat.

                            - Sit down with her and make a "red-yellow-green" list. Red list consists of things that scare her, for example: jumping, cantering on her own, riding without stirrups, riding while the jets are flying, etc. Green list consists of things that do not scare her: walking, trotting circles, etc. Yellow list is made up of modified red list activities that are designed to help her gain confidence- for example, being led at the walk while the jets are flying, no stirrup work on the lead or lunge, etc. I don't know the student so obviously these are made-up examples. Make your lessons consist of mostly green-list activities with a few yellows of her choice scattered in. Ask her which yellow activities she wants to try and celebrate her successes. Allow her to try reds after she has mastered the corresponding yellows and WANTS to try them. The more control she has, the more confidence she will gain.

                            - Try to let go of your own frustrations. An emotional student can be very draining, all of us who teach can relate to this, but she is likely picking up on your frustrations, even if you feel you are hiding them from her. Keep your expectations low and allow the child to determine the pace. If she has to stand next to the pony for an entire lesson while the jets fly overhead, so be it. Just like training a horse, the foundations must be laid properly before you can build on them. If you do not have the patience to deal with an anxious child, there is no shame in that, but you should then pass the student along to an appropriate trainer.


                            Good luck, OP. I have taught several very fearful students, both children and adults, and I have found that while the "put on your big girl panties and DO IT" approach works with the more naturally confident and controlled riders, it does not work with the fearful/anxious ones- it tends to make matters worse. Just because she's fearful does not mean she doesn't want to ride. Help her realize that she can build up her own confidence and I think you will see some real progress.

                            Comment


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                              As a mother and a rider, I think this is not about riding and showing, there is some other dynamic going on with the child and parent with these hysterical outbursts. You need to excuse yourself and tell the mother you don't want to continue the lessons, wish them well if they continue with another instructor and hope you will stay friends.
                              This is the best course of action.

                              Comment


                              • #95
                                Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                                And , Windsor1. If you can't see why you should never have ANYTHING in your mouth on a horse because it's more dangerous than 'just walking', I can't help you there.
                                If you saw fit to correct me, you should have the courtesy to explain yourself.
                                Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

                                Comment


                                • #96
                                  Originally posted by caballero View Post
                                  I think the parents are expecting you to be a free "therapist".

                                  A 10 yo needing to be tucked into bed is not normal development/behavior for that age.
                                  Really? Perhaps it's something she LIKES, and that is why she has to be tucked into bed every night?
                                  Growing up, my mom would always turn off my bedroom light and say a little thing she had made up and it wasn't the same if she didn't do it/or someone else did it. So that's not normal?
                                  Originally posted by katarine
                                  I don't want your prayers, tiny cow.
                                  Originally posted by Pat9
                                  When it's time for a horse to go to a new person, that person will appear. It's pony magic.

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                                  • #97
                                    My random thoughts:
                                    I get the idea of gum, but no. A choking hazzard. We all know, "just going to walk", doesn't mean that the horse knows that.
                                    No screaming ever. This poor kid has other problems. Bless her heart.
                                    No mom in the ring, around the ring, in sight of ring.
                                    I would give the kid some control, but only a little, I like the three things ideas. Don't let her think she can tell you No anytime she wants.
                                    Shows are just for watching right now.
                                    I have helped many fearful kids. I consider two of them my best accomplishments, even over the ones who have competed at higher levels or attained higher achievements.
                                    The main thing, is no screaming, unless there is lots of blood or visible bones.
                                    I hope she can get over this and enjoy horses.
                                    www.ncsporthorse.com

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                                    • #98
                                      I didn't read all the responses.

                                      OP, the Manning Up has to be the kid's idea. You probably have it/had it as a kid. I know I did, so I don't know how to "reason with" a scaredy cat kiddo who doesn't.

                                      Perhaps the best you guys can do is give the kid an opportunity to mess around with the pony by herself and experiment. IMO, that's what makes people feel competent and brave because in that scenario, it's all the kid's idea.

                                      As you have described it-- kid lives at a distance, takes lessons, wants to show (well, someone wants the kid to show)-- kiddo can't get the experience she needs of being in charge of her own safety and entertainment. I think that's your missing ingredient in the kid's horsey education, OP.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat

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                                      • #99
                                        Originally posted by shea'smom View Post
                                        My random thoughts:
                                        I get the idea of gum, but no. A choking hazzard. We all know, "just going to walk", doesn't mean that the horse knows that.
                                        Sorry, if she's being LED on a pony that's already dead broke, any additional risk of chewing gum is negligible, particularly relative to the risk of riding horses or ponies at all.
                                        Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.

                                        Comment


                                        • Originally posted by Emily&Jake View Post
                                          Really? Perhaps it's something she LIKES, and that is why she has to be tucked into bed every night?
                                          Growing up, my mom would always turn off my bedroom light and say a little thing she had made up and it wasn't the same if she didn't do it/or someone else did it. So that's not normal?
                                          What is not normal is the reaction described by the OP if this girl doesn't get her tucky-tucky at night.

                                          I have a 10 yo daughter, so I do have a little bit of a clue.

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