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Anyone else a wimp when it comes to riding your horses at home?

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  • Anyone else a wimp when it comes to riding your horses at home?

    Last year I took a pretty bad fall from my gelding (he flipped on top of me) I was physically ok besides major bruising but not sure if mentally I'll ever get over it. This gelding went into pro. training to get over his quirks but came to realize I was just wasting money on a horse that was untrustworthy under saddle. As a 6yr old he has been retired to my pasture puff I wont part with him he's such a sweet horse in general. I even had a few real nice offers on him while he was at the trainers. I just knew he would end up in a bad place once they realized how he could really be under saddle.

    I have 2 other horses at home that are very well trained. I can do all the ground work with them before mounting but when it comes to that I loose my nerve. I work them a little more then off comes the saddle and I give up. They do nothing to make me nervous I just can't bring myself to get on them and if I do get on its for less than 5 minutes I get so tense that I get off and put them away. Its pretty bad that my not so horsey DH will get on them and ride more than me.

    I take lessons with DD and have no issues riding there. It is in the works to get the trainer to come out and work with me on my own horses he just hasn't had time or come up with a price to come to my place. I really want to ride my horses I just can't. I'm sure they are not complaining

    Has anyone else gone through this or am I just being a real wimp? I used to be the one that would jump on anyone of the horses in the pasture trained or not (this is going back 12+ yrs ago before kids). Maybe this is just the joy of me getting older.

  • #2
    I've never been in that same situation. I could understand being scared when no one is at home. But i do think having your trainer come out and work with you so that you can gain confidence riding them. Would having a good horsey/rider friend that you trust do the same thing? They ride them first then you get on .. slowly increase your time riding.

    Hope it works out for ya.

    A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


    • #3
      Well, let's agree to call it Cautious rather than Wimpy

      Yes, I am definitely getting more cautious about riding at home.
      Age & injury (nothing major) will both do that.

      Do you have an arena/enclosed place to ride at home?

      IIWM, I'd go ahead, pick my most trustworthy horse, do the groundwork then get on.

      If your pulse starts racing & you feel faint just get off & call it a day.
      If not, then walk a few steps.

      There's no timetable, do more as you feel comfortable.

      Would you feel better with DH or one of your kids keeping you company?

      If not, is there a horsy friend you could ask to be Moral Support?

      Take Baby Steps & do not expect your younger, daredevil self to return.
      Sometimes that ship has sailed & that is not bad, just different.

      Hope it works out for you
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


      • #4
        I had a horrible fall right after becoming a re-rerider with horses at home after roughly 10 years of riding only once or twice--flung off and was black and blue from armpit to knee on one side.

        I actually got back on the horse right after the fall but the next day was way too stiff and sore and had plenty of time to think about all the what ifs. It didnt help that I had no proper mounting block and at 52 yrs old was no longer able to mount from the ground and had lost a lot of flexibility and strength.

        For a very long time I was petrified whenever I mounted. I could mount up, I did, but sometimes it would literally take the better part of an HOUR to screw up my nerve and swing my leg over. Once I was actually in the saddle I was fine, but getting up there was a deal breaker some days.

        Now, the positive side of this is that just about nothing else about riding scares me. That was three years ago and you never saw such good horses for lining up beside just about anything to be mounted--since I trail ride, they have to be stump-broke, bumper broke, stream bank broke, log broke, porch-step broke.....but I STILL to this day have a little pang of anxiety and have to gather myself for a moment or two or longer to convince myself I can get on the horse and Not Die.

        eta--I've had plenty more falls since, including a spectacular cartwheel with the horse rolling over me without smashing me, had the saddle roll more than once, spun off a time or two in a bad spook, but none of them, oddly enough, seems to have made my nerves worse or set me back.

        The book Overcoming the Fear of Riding might be a good read for you--if nothing else, will let you know you aint the only one out there.

        I ride alone most of the time, and go out the dirt roads and into the woods where I'd have to get myself out of about any jam I got into. The cell phone doesnt always work where I go. I dont think I'm foolhardy, I do appreciate my limitaions, but I am at the point with my two where the horses and I rely on each other and look out for each other. So far, its working for us.


        • #5
          Yes, I was just like you. I posted on a Pony Club list for someone who wanted to keep their horse with me in exchange for riding with me a few times a week.

          That worked out really well. (I went from being unable to talk as we walked along the road, to total relaxation)

          Then I decided to retire the horse I was nervous about. The only other equine I can ride on my place is my kids' 21 year old 14.1 pony, so I do.

          As a person who is very like you, I ride that pony in a halter bareback in the fields and go on trail rides by myself with NO FEAR. Why? That pony is good as gold.

          I never fell off the horse I was afraid of, and he never tripped badly enough for me to fall/get hurt (my worries). Conversely on the pony I've both fallen off (b/c he took *one* spook step at a wild turkey flying up under his nose and I wasn't paying attention so lost my balance and fell off laughing in slow motion) and he tripped badly enough (on flat ground, thank you) to go to his knees. But because he was a pony I sat still and thought, "I can always just step off" because he's so close to the ground.

          So, bottom line, ride with someone. And think about a horse that is so saintly that even with all your fear issues you just have to trust them.

          I have to say also that while I ride the pony at home, I ride seriously at my trainer's on a horse I'm half-leasing. I came to the realization that I just couldn't ride seriously at home.

          You are not alone!
          Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


          • #6
            It's easier to ride in a lesson when there is "someone else in charge" rather than rely on your own judement to spot potential disasters. I went through a period of second guessing my own judgement. I did get past it, but it took a lot of soul searching.

            You are not alone!
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              I don't ride alone though I do want to be able to.

              Five years ago I fell IN THE GARAGE!!!!! and had I been alone I would have been in serious trouble.

              As it was I was grounded for 5 months. After that I was OK but made the mistake of going to a clinic when I probably wasn't really fit and was still in considerable pain. The clinician really destroyed my confidence and it took a long while to get it almost all back. It's still a work in progress but I don't sit on my mare and cry anymore.

              My last remaining issue is silly really. Sophie is shaped like a barrel of Guinness and the saddle tends to slip. Because I ride in a dressage saddle I can't tighten the girth while mounted so I like to have someone help me mount, even when using my stirrup height mounting block, aka Mom's handicapped access.

              Two things I have done that have helped the current issue: I lunge her before I ride and I have ditched my sheepskin half pad for a Thinline half pad. I had the saddle fitted to accomodate the thinner pad and without the extra bulk so far it seems steadier.

              The main breakthroughs though came from Jane Savoie's books, It's not about the Ribbons and That Winning Feeling. They gave me the tools I needed to get over my fear. She also has a new series "Freedom from Fear" I also retired the mare I was afraid of.
              I wasn't always a Smurf
              Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


              • #8
                Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                I went through a period of second guessing my own judgement. I did get past it, but it took a lot of soul searching.

                You are not alone!
                Yup, I didn't trust either myself or my mare
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                • #9
                  I feel like I've become more of a riding wimp period. I used to climb onboard any horse to try it out - I climbed up on a lot of rescue horses whose training level (if any) was unknown. NOW, I do a ton of ground work and am much pickier about who I will climb on board.

                  With my own horses, I'll ride the three older/better trained horses at home when no one is here. BUt I call in and check in with my husband or ride when I know he'll be coming home. For the two youngsters, I don't ride them unless he's here. And I don't even do ground work with the rescue mare without him here. And I wear a helmet, boots, gloves and a safety vest when I ride now.

                  Somedays, I feel a little paranoid... and then I remember that I like my life and don't want to give it up due to a stupid accident!
                  Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

                  Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


                  • #10
                    Priorities Change

                    It's normal to be a little nervy after a bad fall. Whether it takes a few weeks or a few years to shake is individual. Sometimes the caution gained is good to carry around for a while.

                    I lost part of my nerve with the words, "I do." The last time I found myself in a bad situation, in addition to contemplating the best method to bail, I was thinking of my husband and the kids and what a craptastic decision it was to get on that particular horse. So I would definitely say I've become more cautious, though not wimpy. Put another way, it's easier to make the decision which horses are worth riding and which someone else can mess with at their own risk. I think maybe before I was more worried what people might think of me if I backed down from a challenge, which in hindsight is silly.

                    On the positive side, I've become less of a perfectionist when I ride. I used to be so determined to reach goals and self-imposed deadlines that I often sabotaged my own progress. Now I'm a lot more laid back about just riding the horse vs. chasing my expectations, and I can only say I wish I had this attitude years ago. Not only am I having more fun now when I ride, but progress is easier and faster.
                    "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                    • #11
                      Me too...

                      Have gone through a very similar experience as a re-rider close to 40... fell off my daughter's mare while cantering a few years back & found out I couldn't get back up off the ground. It took me a very long time to start feeling even somewhat okay about riding, and especially to canter. I didn't canter for about 2 years, and I still feel a little sick to my stomach when I think about doing it.

                      I sold the very young horse I had in training and bought a short (15.1), stout, extremely quiet QH mare. She has helped me SO much, and I just recently have started trying to canter on my own, albeit only in an enclosed area and not going too fast. Sometimes my heart jumps up into my throat just driving to the barn in anticipation of having to ride, but afterward I feel so happy.

                      I started off by putting absolutely no pressure on myself, just getting on and walking around, then doing slow trot work, and finally going to my old huntseat trainer to canter in a lesson with her on an old schoolhorse. Having a trainer or knowledgeable friend around to help direct you is a huge plus. It helps me to have someone there to remind me to keep my heels down & breathe if I get anxious.

                      While I really hope to get to a point where I can do a little 2' course again and canter long enough to be in a pleasure class or training level test at a show, I am giving myself all the time necessary and working only with people I feel comfortable with, who will still help me progress. And I have gotten over the thought that I need a big, tall, fancy horse to show with. I tried some of those out while horse shopping & couldn't even post the trot, I was so nervous with the big movement! My little mare does Intro level dressage just as well as anyone else.

                      Just try to breathe & relax, keep your mind focused on a point you are heading toward & have a plan when you decide to ride. Just get on and sit there for a little while, baby steps! Think about anything OTHER than what bad things can happen to you, and find a trusted person to help you get on and walk around. When you finally break through, you will be so proud of yourself! I think I even cried after that first canter. You can do it!

                      A canter is a cure for every evil. ~Benjamin Disraeli