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

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  • I was taught its ok to be scared but tantrums,bad behaviour no matter what the reason is NOT ACCEPTABLE, if you did so the lesson stopped for you, get off go home.

    Trust me im a anxiety ridden mess with riding fears and i see the child as acting badly.

    Oh what helped me? When i was afraid to canter we ignored doing it for months then it got sprung on me lol! I did lunge and handling lessons too!

    I cant say anything bout the pony cuz i rode a almost bombproof 27 tbx that was such a worry wort!

    I will say i rode a fancy pony who i lost confidence with because she wasnt the fit for me, she didnt like me but was a angel for her mommy
    Beyond the Ring-para dressage, training, coaching
    www.facebook.com/btrparadressage

    Proud Team Four Star Minion! Renegade for Life!

    Comment


    • Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post

      She does have anxiety in other areas. I really did not make that connection till now. She HAS to have her mom tuck her into bed every night. She will get very upset if that does not happen.
      I was "tucked into bed" as a child. It was nice.

      However, at 10 yrs old, getting "very upset" if that doesn't happen is indicative of being an indulged ,spoiled child (parenting issue), or of having another sort of problem(psychological issue), neither of which is likely to be solved by a riding instructor..
      Last edited by skydy; Feb. 16, 2013, 03:54 AM.

      Comment


      • Goodness only knows what the 1 1/2 hour trip to the lesson and home again brings forth. Does mother lecture her daughter about what she should do this week? And on the way home does mother harangue the kid about what went on in the lesson? You know, criticize every little thing, all the while being the loving Mommy. I know it would kill any enthusiasm I might have.

        So: mother doesn't watch the lesson, even from a distance. What's more, the daughter doesn't have to tell her how it went. ( My daughter did ballet, and mothers were never allowed in to watch the class - we were invited to audit a class pre-exam about once a year, lol. My role was to ferry her back and forth, buy pointe shoes and pay the bills.)

        If the child shows excessive nervousness or loss of self control, the lesson stops immediately, and if she doesn't make an effort to control her emotions, she goes home. No discussion. Riding requires courage.

        I do believe that the child is old enough to have a factual and honest discussion with her tutor (not mother). There is no point in continuing lessons if she is not prepared to make an effort.

        This very day I have just heard from a 13 yr old who has qualified for the HOY show. She has always had ponies, and ridden, but it's only in the last 18 months that she has shown any real commitment. Maybe OP's girl is the same.

        And no shows, OK?

        Comment


        • Not too many 10-year-olds even have "big girl panties." I'm 53 and I'm sure I don't. I came off in a bad jump-stumble almost 2 years ago and I still start crying for my mama when my trainer tells me to hop my unflappable pushbutton packer over a crossrail.

          I can't emphasize strongly enough what other have said about the confidence-boosting powers of returning to core basics after a traumatic near-death experience. Neither kids nor crones, for example, have any business jumping unless they can W-T-C without stirrups. This sport really can kill you.
          Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

          Comment


          • I have seen several kids about this age have fear issues after something bad happens while riding...honestly the best recipe for this is time. I have seen a fearful kid get over it with a trainer who really pushed her and did not accept tears etc. But not sure that works with everyone. Sounds like this kid is for sure not ready to show, and I'd just tell her that and let her take it slow.

            Comment


            • 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.
              Yeah. I'm old enough to know better, but I forgot to spit out my gum before riding just last week. The air is very dry here in winter and I'd been chewing gum in the car on the way to the barn to relieve the constantly dry mouth feeling. I got busy and forgot about the gum until the mare decided to throw in a decent buck for fun...down went the gum, fortunately I swallowed it and didn't inhale it. Spit gum out before getting on horse!

              And, it doesn't have to be a big buck to cause that automatic reaction of taking a big breath, a little spook or the horse tripping at the walk and starting to stumble would be enough.

              Chewing gum can be useful for kids with sensory issues, who need to be moving something and getting tactile feedback in order to concentrate or relax. My son has some sensory issues and a special ed teacher at school allows him to chew gum during tests, so that he can sit still and do it. He also sits on a wobbly cushion at his desk, so he can wiggle around without disturbing others. But, gum is not allowed at other times, or during gym or playground time. Those times aren't problems anyway, as he is already moving and getting plenty of motion feedback. Same with riding a horse, if moving a body part and getting some physical feedback is needed, well, you are already doing that by riding the horse.
              Last edited by Canaqua; Feb. 16, 2013, 09:33 AM.

              Comment


              • She has come off several times, so telling her that you won't let anything happen to her isn't going to make her feel safe. She has been riding long enough to know that she doesn't feel confident or able to take care of herself in a situation.
                Take lack of confidence in herself, lack of confidence in the adults, lack of trust and confidence in the horses and you have emotional meltdown.
                These lessons must be an exercise in fear and anxiety for this kid. Can you imagine being pushed to confront fear for an hour at a time like that? When you are only ten?
                Not everyone is born to be an Olympian.
                I'd probably melt down in a screaming puddle too.

                Comment


                • Off track, sorry, but holy moley Crone, your new barn is out of Archictecural Digest. Just the lines themselves are beautiful (probably will be less so when everything gets out in).
                  Sorry for the thread interruption, carry on.

                  Comment


                  • I have pretty severe anxiety issues while riding. I'm 41, never rode as a child, came off a lesson horse about 5 years ago when I was first learning to ride, and haven't gotten over it. It really wasn't that bad of a fall, I didn't break anything, but it sure did a number on me. At the time of the fall, I was also having anxiety issues unrelated to riding (which have subsided somewhat), so I think that made it worse.

                    If she is genuinely scared, and quite possibly having a panic attack from the sound of it, all the logic in the world won't help.

                    Here's what helps me. Singing. Singing is great because it takes you mind off the "what ifs" and helps with breathing.

                    Doing something that keeps both me and my horse occupied, like weaving in and out of cones, poles, etc.

                    Focusing on learning a new task. Circles, half halts, etc. If I have something to concentrate on, however small, I'm not thinking about what the horse might do.

                    Riding more, as someone else mentioned. The more I ride, the less anxious I am. And if I don't ride for a few months? I go back to square one, and the instructor has to lead me around like it's a pony ride. Some days, I might only get on the horse, sit for a few minutes, and get back off (although I try to do that by myself, so I am not wasting a whole lesson just mounting and dismounting).

                    Really, any activity that makes her think, to get her mind off the fear, would likely help.

                    Comment


                    • I think all the "Dr. Philling" going on is non-productive.

                      If the OP is have difficulty, as an instructor, creating a positive learning environment then an instructor change is in order. I spent a couple of years as a flight instructor for the Navy in Corpus Christi. I had a couple of students that I just didn't "connect" with. A couple of other students didn't "connect" with me. These were not isolated incidents; almost everybody had it happen during a tour. The fix? Instructor change.

                      Note that this is not an indictment of either the instructor or the student. It's a recognition that both are human.

                      This may solve the problem and it may not. But it is indicated.

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                      Comment


                      • *raises hand* I was Weeine Mcweeine pants when I was first starting out...I threw a fit like that once and my mother stomped into the arena, yanked me off my horse, and we went home. I didn't get to ride again until I apologized to her, my trainer, and the horse...that fixed that problem. I was...8? 9?

                        I think that this kid needs a break. Sounds to me like her parents are pushing her to do something that she's not comfortable with. Take the little girl aside and ask her how she's really feeling about the whole situation. Does she want to ride? Doesn't sound like it to me.

                        If she does... you need to get to her BEFORE she gets to the point of hysterics, because by then she's unreasonable and there is no way that you will be able to get through the fit. It's not really my place to say if she's just being a brat or if she's really scared. Regardless, the behavior needs to be curbed before it gets to the highest level. If you see her start to get nervous, dial it back a bit. "Hey, Dobbin looks like he's had it, how about I teach you how to braid/pull manes/etc."

                        Can she hand graze him with you while the jets fly overhead? Then she can see that he could really care less. Then work your way up to sitting on him next to you, then walking, etc.

                        This kid doesn't have Olympic aspirations, so if this is something that she really wants to do and the fear is real, then taking it slow is NBD. Who cares?

                        If it's not something that she wants to do... then maybe have a chat with her folks. "Look, this is something that is really stressing Poopsie out. I think that she really needs to take a break until she matures/relaxes/whatever."

                        Sometimes the student/trainer combo just doesn't work (as many above have said) and that's perfectly okay too.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • Gosh, she's only 10 years old for goodness sake, with one too many bucked off falls. Seems like she's trying to put on a brave face, but deep down is now honestly (with very good reason) terrified of being hurt.

                          If it was my kid, I would tell her to forget about the riding until she's a year or so older, and then find a place with very quiet school ponies and a nice enclosed arena that didn't include military jets zooming overhead.

                          JMHO

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Superminion View Post
                            *raises hand* I was Weeine Mcweeine pants when I was first starting out...I threw a fit like that once and my mother stomped into the arena, yanked me off my horse, and we went home. I didn't get to ride again until I apologized to her, my trainer, and the horse...that fixed that problem. I was...8? 9?
                            I love that your mom made you apologize to the horse! LOL

                            Comment


                            • Remove the mother from watching lessons. My parents are not allowed to interfear and that solves the dramatics when child falls. Do not sensationalize any fall, act like its no big deal.

                              Comment


                              • Set the young student up for success. Talk about how the two of you will handle a jet and agree to it beforehand. There is no harm in letting her bring the horse to a walk and you move closer to the pair until the jet passes.

                                She's only 10, give her a break.

                                As far as a show, you can always take the pair to the show and not compete.

                                Baby steps...

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  Originally posted by SanJacMonument View Post
                                  Set the young student up for success. Talk about how the two of you will handle a jet and agree to it beforehand. There is no harm in letting her bring the horse to a walk and you move closer to the pair until the jet passes.

                                  She's only 10, give her a break.

                                  As far as a show, you can always take the pair to the show and not compete.

                                  Baby steps...
                                  This is what I was thinking, too, IF she can convince me that she does want to ride, for herself, and she does want to show-eventually- because SHE wants to, then we could go and have her do showmanship. No riding.
                                  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fentre...24774504235082

                                  http://fentressfieldsequestriancenter.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • Originally posted by Nezzy View Post
                                    I love that your mom made you apologize to the horse! LOL
                                    She said that he didn't want to hear my screaming any more than she and my trainer did! Smart woman... my mother.

                                    Comment


                                    • I haven't read all the responses, but it really does not matter. She is too immature to be showing. She can't handle the pony when she gets scared, she has a total mental meltdown as well. That is a danger to others she may be riding with.

                                      Comment


                                      • Originally posted by candyappy View Post
                                        I haven't read all the responses, but it really does not matter. She is too immature to be showing. She can't handle the pony when she gets scared, she has a total mental meltdown as well. That is a danger to others she may be riding with.
                                        Finally - a voice of reason! You can armchair analyze and diagnose this child all you want and suggest all the methods of psychotherapy you want, but at the end of the day OP, your responsibility is to your horse. It is up to the PARENTS to handle whatever latent issues the child may have. You know, the parents...those people that created her. It is their job to help their child, either with simple parenting or involving the help of a professional. OP, your responsibility is to the horse and the child should you decide to take them to that show. However, the previous poster hit the nail on the head: The situation creates danger for the other competitors at the show, the horse, and the child herself. You have no business willingly enabling that situation. So since it presents danger, then your responsibility is to draw the line and say "no show" to the child and parents until the childs fear issues and outbursts can be handled responsibly.

                                        Comment


                                        • AFter trying and failing to get my only daughter to love horses as much as I do, I realized that if they don't want to ride MORE THAN ANYTHING in their life, it's not going to stick and more than likely they'll get hurt or become too afraid to continue.

                                          I tell my friends with daughters who say they want to ride not to even go there until the kid will beg, plead, promise, and then prove how much they want it. It takes serious mental fortitude, especially once they fall off, to continue. And everyone falls off, usually sooner rather than later.

                                          So, no..going to a show should be a privilege earned by clear goals that are accomplished in lessons. No progress, no shows.

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