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Terrified to Ride My Horse (Update on Page 7/8)

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  • #41
    When you get freaked out and dismount, what happens next? Do you take him back to the barn, untack and put him away?

    My younger horse has a hair trigger buck (he has a valid reason for it, but I didn't know that for a long time). The first time I found it he broke my tailbone and dumped me in the dirt. I had no idea what the trigger was, but as he had helpfully given me warning with head tossing and back humping either of those made me anxious. If it was persistent, I would dismount and make him work on the longer. Work, not run around and get the yayas out. He had to listen and respond, or get a quick correction. Sometimes I would remount to cool him out, other times not.

    I did figure out that it was saddle position that was his issue and I got to the point of hopping off at the warning signs, adjusting the saddle and getting back on. Sometimes I had to do that three or four times. I had a friend who thought he was doing it to make me get off. But he wasn't. He was honestly worried about the saddle getting too close to pinching a nerve (I didn't know that at the time). The moment I got it right he was all in, what are we doing today attitude whether it was the first time I mounted up, or the fourth time. I will note that when the saddle couldn't work for him (fit change due to muscling) I couldn't get it right.

    If you think there is any chance he is trying to get out of work, then try putting him to work when you get off. Mental work is as good as physical - if he's TB you won't physically tire him out, but you can make his brain work.

    Comment


    • #42
      For longer read longe in my post above. Autocorrect doesn't believe "longe" is a valid word no matter how many times I tell it.

      Comment


      • #43
        Horses love routine, they thrive on it, it gives them a sense of security knowing what to expect and when.

        This horse was in race training, which is a very set routine with little or no turnout, eventually in a lesson barn running on a set schedule with scheduled rides and limited turn out.

        Then you move him to extensive turnout and leave for a week and go to a random riding schedule with some gaps.

        In retrospect, he was fairly good that first 3 weeks being worked 4-5 tines a week. Then you stopped for a week, came back and "got on him in his field" .JMO But part of your answer is here. In retrospect getting on him in his field after a week off might not have been a good choice. Combined with the drastic changes in routine might have been a trigger..,and he scared you which started this going south,

        Very possible this horse has spent all of his previous life living securely within set routine and he suddenly has had to cope with more thinking for himself plus the turnout and random schooling schedule. And the daily temp has dropped 30 degrees, the north wind blows and the deer are very active looking to breed with the bucks in rut. And there's Hunters about, horses can smell and here things that get them nervous.


        There's too much going on for this horse right now complicated by the fact he scared you. Yeah, ulcers but that is not a hook to hang everything going on here expecting a solution on. And, OP, you are still young but the horse you were courageous on at 16 is not ibe you are eager to get in in your mid 20s and that will get worse as you get older. Don't kick yourself over it, it's normal.

        Theres several ways to try to fix this, the horse needs more time to adjust or to move back to a routine he is more comfortable with, will the old barn take him back as a full paying customer? Barns often can find room for paying horses.

        You need to stay off of him, maybe take a lesson or two on sedate schoolies. Ideally, he needs regular qualified Pro rides to restore his trust and confidence in a rider who isn't scared of him several days a week, if you can't swing that, get as many as you can and you can lunge him in a meaningful way on as many of the other days as you can at a regular time. Get that routine back for him, just don't get on him.

        You could just turn him out but my thinking is he'll hate that, possibly get wilder on you.

        How long has he been off the track? How long dud the lesson barn have him and where was he before they had him. Might help to know these things.

        By all means investigate pain but not going to repeat all thise suggestions.
        Last edited by findeight; Nov. 16, 2017, 11:06 AM.
        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by KandC View Post
          For whatever it's worth my anxiety is out of control in general and that's not helping. Just frustrated and sad.
          Most are ignoring the glaring issue here - OP if this is the case the right thing to do is sell. You might want to consider entering the horse into a program with training to get the horse sold.

          You're nervous, it's not fun. Horses take up too much time and money to not be enjoyable. Some horses are just not right for some people. Best of luck with the sale.
          Boss Mare Eventing Blog

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          • #45
            Hope all is going well with you.
            I am posting because I've had some issues with riding and anxiety.
            Some things you can do for yourself.
            If you drink coffee caffeinated beverages before you ride I would suggest an herbal tea.
            I like Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamers.
            Rescue Remedy is also good. Use it before you ride.

            Obviously you are doing all the right things for your horse and if it is behavioral you may want to consider as others have suggested getting a pro to ride him to resolve the issue.

            In the meantime you could avail yourself of some professional help for yourself get some cognitive therapy with some medication until you have resolved your anxiety issues.

            You could also keep a journal so that you can pinpoint exactly when and how you felt the most anxiety when riding.

            I think most this anxiety you feel stems from the fact that you didn't expect that kind of problem with this particular horse. It started out so well and now it has unnerved you to the point you don't want to ride anymore.

            Can you go back and start over again?

            Make a list of short term and long term goals that you want to accomplish with this horse.
            If you are confident walking and trotting then start from there.
            You don't have to canter. There is no law about this.

            Consult with your trainer about coming up with lesson plans that focus on rebuilding your confidence. If that means going back to the beginning then so be it. There is no shame in that and no shame in your feelings of fear.

            if your trainer isn't willing to work with you on this then find one who will.

            This isn't a matter of your riding abilities eroding, it is a matter of confidence.

            And after further review you decide that it isn't worth all this anguish that is okay too.

            I've been there and I know. I had one day where I wanted to ride and it was very windy. I got on my horse and just froze up. I tried everything : deep breathing , trying to relax my muscles but I just sat there stiff as a board. My horse didn't do anything or even offer to do anything naughty but I just couldn't do it. I got off and put him away.

            I just wanted to let you know that you aren't alone.
            Don't sell youself short. And remind yourself you do have the skills.
            Give yourself and your horse a little more time and then decide.

            Hope this helps.
            let us know how it goes.
            You can also pm me if you want.
            "They'll be no butter in hell."

            Comment


            • #46
              Rider anxiety and an OTTB do not mix. Put this horse in full training with a good pro. He has a lack of work ethic and has figured out how to intimidate you.

              Comment


              • #47
                You might also not realize how afraid of failure we all are. Do something long enough and at some point there will be an epic fail. That's true of everybody and just about every activity. The trick is not blaming yourself and learning to work through these things to come out better on the other end.

                Just guessing you have always managed to work through these challenging spots but for variety of reasons not this one.

                It takes guts to admit things to yourself and even more to admit them to others. It's a great step forward for you to tell us. Think you will learn you are not the only one out there struggling with it. You might even start another thread on managing anxiety around horses, certainly not the only one facing it and no shame in asking for help with it from others and there are counselors who specialize it it. Important for you to tend to that and not fret over not being able to majikally fix the horse, Hes not your biggest problem.
                When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                Comment


                • #48
                  First off, I think if you are scared, don't ride him. Your are not doing him or you any good. I think you should put him in training and you yourself should ride another horse and give yourself some mental distance. Not that you can't ride it, just you need time for a mental redo so you aren't automatically hyping yourself up and making the situation worse. Distance does help IMO, the more you have, in this case rides, between you and the "bad", the better it is when you come back.

                  Second, you said sent the saddle off to be adjusted? The fitter didn't come to you? You can't actually get a good fit from a distance fitter.

                  It is very brave to acknowledge that you are scared. I hope it all works out for you

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Been there, done that, still have the horse. Was keeping him the right decision for my riding, probably not. Was he amazing to handle and my heart horse. Yup. I learned to accept my limitations with him. I also found people that enjoyed riding him and was able to enjoy his show career through them.

                    He too is an OTTB. He thrives on routine. Couldn't handle turnout at all when we got him. I think it took us about 10 years to build him up to a day of turnout and even that was on his terms.

                    My successes with him came once I recognized my part in how he went. My nerves (also an anxious person) did not bring out the best in him. If something startling happened around the ring, I think I reacted long before he did and he used my reaction as an excuse. His other riders didn't react and neither did he. He has worked best for me in a very strict and consistent program.

                    My fear of him came when he decided to buck me off. I have fallen off lots of times and there is a big difference between falling off and a horse intentionally putting you off. After that I knew he had that ability and I could ride his regular bucks but was never certain when the switch would come and it would go beyond playing.

                    I am being long winded, but I guess what I am trying to say is that give it some time to regain your trust in each other. Start small. Have the trainer ride and then get on to cool out, or lunge and then have a prescribed ride planned, ie 10 minutes of walk and trot. Make both you and the horse feel good. I read that Winning Feeling by Jane Savoie and it really changed how I interacted with Sport.

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      People have given good ideas here so far. Another thing to consider: if the horse was a lesson horse, he may have been ridden in multiple lessons a day 5-6 days a week. It doesn't sound like you ride him with the same frequency or intensity as he may have experienced before. Getting him into a more serious exercise regimen may smooth things out if it is not pain related.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #51
                        According to the barn, he was ridden once or twice a week. He was too green to be used consistently in the program.

                        If I get nervous either the pro gets on, we do walk work, or he goes straight onto the lunge. Me getting off does not end the work; usually it gets harder. He's a dream to handle on the ground and is learning vocal lunge commands currently. We lunge over poles and are learning cavalettis on the lunge.
                        About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

                        Comment


                        • #52
                          Originally posted by Jealoushe View Post

                          Most are ignoring the glaring issue here - OP if this is the case the right thing to do is sell. You might want to consider entering the horse into a program with training to get the horse sold.

                          You're nervous, it's not fun. Horses take up too much time and money to not be enjoyable. Some horses are just not right for some people. Best of luck with the sale.
                          Agreed -- mostly. Once a horse scares you, it's hard to get confident with that horse again. And this may just not be the right pairing/fit for a variety of reasons. However, there is often a rough transition period with a new horse that goes through significant lifestyle changes (new barn, new turnout situation, new rider, new exercise schedule, new feed, new tack, new trainer, etc) and it's easy to miss out on a nice horse by selling the horse too soon without giving it a fair shot at adjusting.

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            Originally posted by CCook View Post

                            Agreed -- mostly. Once a horse scares you, it's hard to get confident with that horse again. And this may just not be the right pairing/fit for a variety of reasons. However, there is often a rough transition period with a new horse that goes through significant lifestyle changes (new barn, new turnout situation, new rider, new exercise schedule, new feed, new tack, new trainer, etc) and it's easy to miss out on a nice horse by selling the horse too soon without giving it a fair shot at adjusting.
                            Right, but it sounds like she bought the horse in March and had been leasing him before for several months?

                            I would guess by now it may be becoming clear that is maybe not a good fit, why the OP posted with that question here, I think.
                            There is some good advice to try to fix this situation, how to try other, to let go and why that is best.

                            Good luck moving forward, whichever way that may be.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              I rode the horse once a week in lessons March-May. Then purchased him in July. Moved him to my barn in late August. Issues started late September. (For clarification!)
                              About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by KandC View Post
                                I rode the horse once a week in lessons March-May. Then purchased him in July. Moved him to my barn in late August. Issues started late September. (For clarification!)
                                What do your trainer and vets think of the horse and if he is really suitable for what you want?

                                Sure could be that the change is one of the triggers here.
                                That still leaves the question how to get him back to what he was and will he be what you want to ride while under your management.



                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #56
                                  Trainer loves him. Thinks he's pretty easy to ride if you're clear with him. Which may take a few rides on my retired horse/a schoolie to regain that confidence. When I bought him, he really made me feel like I could do anything on him, so I hoped to show him in the hunter/jumper ring in a few years- I'm fresh out of school so showing is not feasible financially which takes away the pressure of a timeline and why I'm so willing to work through our issues. Granted my current trainer is an eventer (only barn that is conducive to my schedule in the area).

                                  Vet and chiro (DVM) and myself (small animal DVM) think poor saddle fit/back pain. I also think ulcers may be a component based on previous experiences with other horses (same behavior from a different higher-strung horse). I think if he were 100% comfortable, we might have a breakthrough whether it's good or I realize he is not for me.
                                  About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    Originally posted by KandC View Post
                                    Trainer loves him. Thinks he's pretty easy to ride if you're clear with him. Which may take a few rides on my retired horse/a schoolie to regain that confidence. When I bought him, he really made me feel like I could do anything on him, so I hoped to show him in the hunter/jumper ring in a few years- I'm fresh out of school so showing is not feasible financially which takes away the pressure of a timeline and why I'm so willing to work through our issues. Granted my current trainer is an eventer (only barn that is conducive to my schedule in the area).

                                    Vet and chiro (DVM) and myself (small animal DVM) think poor saddle fit/back pain. I also think ulcers may be a component based on previous experiences with other horses (same behavior from a different higher-strung horse). I think if he were 100% comfortable, we might have a breakthrough whether it's good or I realize he is not for me.
                                    Sounds like you are not in any hurry, your trainer likes the horse also, maybe keep trying a little longer, have the trainer put some more rides in him, see where that goes.

                                    If you still feel uneasy as time goes on, there is a time where you have to decide if that is worth it to you.
                                    Some horses, by no fault of anyone, just are not a good match, hard as it is to admit with the otherwise really nice ones.
                                    As a riding instructor, one rule was to not insist a student needed to ride when not comfortable.
                                    That can cause more problems than helps anyone.
                                    Riding another horse for a while and watching how your horse progresses under the trainer could be a solution, if you want to give him longer.

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      OP, been there, done that, its no fun. Please be kind to yourself, sort this out carefully. There is a lot of excellent advice here.

                                      I just bought my first QH type in about 40 years, I'm not too proud to say I'm winding down (But I do hate to say it..). Anxiety ruins the whole reason we have horses IMO. I figure the time I have left, I want to be on a horse, not just wishing I had the 'guts' to ride a certain one. PS that's not 'guts', that's self-preservation for me.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #59
                                        Went out today with the intention of a short and sweet flat session, but first, decided I was really going to palpate him. He's been sensitive about his left poll being groomed since I've had him (don't remember that prior to August). He is turned out in a halter and likes to play. Neck is comfortable and muscles are soft. Back is painful and muscles are "splintering" right around the end of his thoracic vertebrae- conveniently, where a rider sits. He also has one dorsal process 2 cm taller than the rest (probably T15-T16 if I had to guess). Obviously, skipped the ride and lunged instead. He had one small tantrum over a pole, but quickly got over it after a growl and a cluck and then lunged HIMSELF over the pole several more times. I found that when he got frazzled, returning to a small 20 m working trot to settle and then spiraling out to the scary pole helped.

                                        Then we played follow the leader working on moving his shoulders and hind independently for a nice cool down. He's such a neat, sweet horse on the ground that it makes me more confident it's pain. Saddle fitter who was recommended to me is coming out next week, and we'll go from there. If the saddle is ok, I'll probably get X-rays of the area. Considering adding a trial of Nexium as well (the literature is interesting!).

                                        I'd like to say I tried (almost) everything before I call it quits.
                                        About my horses and my riding:http://krseq.blogspot.com

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

                                          Originally posted by LauraKY
                                          I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
                                          HORSING mobile training app

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