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

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  • So, if I'm reading the situation correctly: 10 yo got tossed 2 yrs ago. Wouldn't get back on and then didn't ride for ?? Then got tossed again, wouldn't get back on and didn't ride for months. So that would bring us to maybe 12-18 months ago? What has she done on/with horses in the past year+? And all of a sudden, she (or horse-loving parental unit?) decides she should go to a show - in a month? And not only a show - but to show over fences, when (unless there's a huge jump-cut in the chronology here) the last two times she rode (2 years ago) she got dumped and refused to get back on. Then she takes a lesson every two weeks, falls off during the first one and again refuses to get back on. Ditto second lesson two weeks later.

    WTF? Who's nuts here? WHY would you or her parents even CONSIDER a show? Or am I missing something really relevant?

    This kid has a lot more going on than meets the eye. If SHE really wants to ride, she needs to just have fun - no pressure, no show. And perhaps your farm, with its location near an air base, is not where she needs to do it. (By the way, I empathize with her - I had a HOT TB in SC - we went to a show in Beaufort [think Parris Island/USMC Air Station]. Riding in adult eq, drop stirrups at trot - fighter squadron goes up. I swear I could have reached up & grabbed a wing. Those suckers are LOUD and SCARY.)
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    • Originally posted by ccoronios
      So, if I'm reading the situation correctly: 10 yo got tossed 2 yrs ago. Wouldn't get back on and then didn't ride for ?? Then got tossed again, wouldn't get back on and didn't ride for months. So that would bring us to maybe 12-18 months ago? What has she done on/with horses in the past year+? And all of a sudden, she (or horse-loving parental unit?) decides she should go to a show - in a month? And not only a show - but to show over fences, when (unless there's a huge jump-cut in the chronology here) the last two times she rode (2 years ago) she got dumped and refused to get back on. Then she takes a lesson every two weeks, falls off during the first one and again refuses to get back on. Ditto second lesson two weeks later.
      I must have read a different thread than you did.
      10yo rides horses at home.
      She has two quiet QH geldings at home, which she rides regularly.
      10yo asked about going to this show and asked about jumping at it.
      I know some may not believe me, but she herself brought it up to me around Christmas. Asking if she could ride this pony, what classes could she do, etc... She was very excited about it and into prepping for it.
      Because there is a beginner novice class where she can trot or canter 4 simple fences, and she asked if she could do it.
      10yo did not fall off two lessons in a row and has ridden other times than the two times they fell off (a year between falls).

      ETA - quotes from post by the OP - post #68

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      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by SanJacMonument View Post
        OP - I wonder how the young lady is doing this week?
        She is doing great! She and her older sister came down monday for another lesson. The older sister brought her TB gelding down so they could ride together. As soon as kiddo go out of the car she hugged me and handed me a drawing of "her" pony jumping a jump. She said she was very excited to ride today and I mirrored her enthusiasm. I took her aside and asked her in private if riding was still fun to her, if she wanted to continue, did she feel pressured to ride, was she under stress...?? She answered that she did very much want to ride and was excited to do it.

        BTW, the reason they drive the hour and a half each way is usually because the mom has an appt for another kid or some such thing.

        We had a great ride, she said she was excited and wanted to jump a course today. I told her no jumping today and she was ok. She was all smiles and confidence, w, t, c. Two point, no stirrups, drop and pick up stirrups... No problem. Her sister did well too. She got off and wanted to give pony his feed after he was untacked, said she wished she could ride again tomorrow, etc...

        So I think it was just the jets that freaked her out. The pony was perfect. I have video clips that we took and I am so tempted to post them to show how encouraging I really am to her, but I don't have their permission, and I would rather not open myself or the girl or the pony to any more criticism.

        We got tacked up and she was all smiles and said she was very glad the jets were not flying today.
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        • Great update! Hope the positive trend continues.

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          • Oh, that's good... as far as riding is concerned. Perhaps the issue is temperamental and you can work with that.. Hopefully this is a "turning point".

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            • perception is reality. if you can't see the situation from your student's perception, you are not ready to help the student see it from your perception.
              ...don't sh** where you eat...

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              • She should be told that if she wants to ride, and falls off, she MUST remount unless she is injured. If she is not willing to do that, tell her and parents to stop wasting your time and theirs and find another sport for her. It is clear that she does not really, really want to ride. If she did, she would get back on and concentrate on learning how to stay on.

                ETA I agree that the child needs some instruction and practice on how to fall off and how to perform an emergency dismount. She also needs probably more practice on developing a secure seat. My perspective in paragraph one is both as a former instructor (3 years in my youth, children and adults privately and in groups) and as someone who has had some scary falls.

                The difference is, I was told, as a child learning to ride, that unless I am seriously injured, I must get back on, even if only to be led around at a walk. The worst wreck I had (young greenie spooked, whirled and bucked 4 times, and the 4th buck sent me off) kept me out of the saddle for 3 weeks. My first ride after that was on a very gentle horse, as I knew that I A) had to get on a horse soon and B) knew that if I did not my riding days might be over and C) I did not want fear to rule my life.

                I agree that showing is not the best thing right now, certainly not jumping, but that if she shows on the flat, or in hand, she must understand that there are NO TANTRUMS allowed in anything dealing with horses. If nothing else gets it through her head, let her know that tantrums scare horses, and that can make an 'iffy' situation worse.
                Last edited by sdlbredfan; Feb. 21, 2013, 12:21 PM. Reason: clarity and add content
                Jeanie
                RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

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                • Oh, I don't think that, sdlbredfan. It's just that she doesn't want to ride unless the jets aren't overhead. Hell, I know plenty of adults that don't want to ride unless the stars are perfectly aligned.
                  "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

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                  • Originally posted by sdlbredfan View Post
                    She should be told that if she wants to ride, and falls off, she MUST remount unless she is injured. If she is not willing to do that, tell her and parents to stop wasting your time and theirs and find another sport for her. It is clear that she does not really, really want to ride. If she did, she would get back on and concentrate on learning how to stay on.
                    Seriously?! Have you never taught a kid who wants to ride really badly but is scared of falling off??? Falling off is a very real fear and is SCARY. We have to accept that it happens, and we have to learn how to deal with it....in our own time.

                    If she just fell, there was no reason for it, spook, etc I would agree that kid must get on. If she fell because jets are flying low overhead and the pony spooked as a result, its ridiculous to expect her to get back on until the jets stop flying and pony is calm. This kid is not a trainer, it is not her job to teach the pony to deal with jets flying low overhead. What matters here is the kids confidence - she should be expected to get back on only when the situation with the jets is dealt with.
                    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
                    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey

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                    • Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
                      I am not angry at her. I am frustrated because I don't know what to do about it. I have done exactly as you posted above. The mom has too. We have both explained to her that we would not put her in a dangerous situation. She was fine up until the jets started. She is quite confident and we were having a great lesson until this point. So she is not afraid all the time. How do I help her realize these falls were flukes?
                      Because falls are not flukes. Stuff happens, horses spook because they are horses. Any horse will spook, not if when.

                      So, back way up and figure out if the child really wants to ride. How is she on the ground? Does she like to groom and play with the pony? Do they hang out and have a relationship? Or, does she just get on the pony and then have issues?

                      My now 29 yr old daughter had a bad fall when she was almost 11 while vaulting. She was sitting at the canter and the horse stumbled and came out of it with a buck. She came off and broke her arm. It hurt...a lot and from the painful episode, she was then scared.

                      The difference with her was she loved horses, she tried so hard to get over her fear. The instructor was really good about letting her ride at her own speed and didn't care if she never got out of a walk again.

                      Over the months on her own starting riding a bratty little pony. He got her confidence back and she went on to riding a horse we bought for all of us to ride. He was more horse, but boy did he take wonderful care of her. He only lost her once over a double bounce jump and he got stuck in the middle of it. He hated jumping, but he would do it for her. We owned that horse until he died at 28 yrs old, after she was out of college and out working on her own.

                      I am experienced but have had fear issues. It happens, and you can't control it, you can only work at it. We had a young horse that was truly rank and after dumping me twice and also injuring my youngest daughter, he went away. She is still leary but loves her current horse. I didn't realize the falls had affected me until I started horse shopping for another horse for myself. Almost 3 years later I am very comfortable on my own horses, but not on horses I don't know well. And I am an adult who can reason through this.

                      Change ponies and/or your teaching methods. If the girl loves horses and wants to be around them, let her get comfortable in her own way. If not, another past time may suit her better. Quit pushing.

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                      • Actually, yes when I was teaching, and later coaching my Stepdaughter after she had a scary fall, I have had experience in these issues. Overcomiing fear and doing something scary anyway is a very good learning experience. Letting fear rule one's life limits such life and is not a mentally healthy way to live.
                        Jeanie
                        RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.

                        Comment


                        • I have to agree with sdlbredfan on this.

                          If there is a way to redirect the child's activity -from screaming to singing a silly song, for instance; or playing a 'mother may I?' type of game on horseback during the lessons, to include dismounting and remounting, turning left, right, etc. it is very possible to change her emotions through changing her behavior.

                          It is difficult to focus on 2 things at once, even if one of those things is fear.

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