How to ride in big groups confidently?

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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I am having a major crisis of confidence at the moment. One of the reasons is that I find it very hard to ride in big groups. Last night there were about 20 of us doing games/jumping etc. Although the horses were on the whole well behaved, all were excited.

The problem is that I just couldn't do it! I felt so unsafe and scared that all the horses were going to go into a mass 'charge' around the arena. I ended up getting off in floods of tears, even though the horse I was riding didn't do anything wrong and was very well behaved. Everyone now thinks that I am very neurotic (even more than before!). I just hate being out of control and I hate horses following each other and ignoring my aids.

Does anyone else feel like this in groups? I have always felt vulnerable in big groups. This stems from a serious bolting incident some 16 years ago now! Every time I think that I have got over it something happens to put me back at square one.
 

horseygal90

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I hate riding too close to another horse. Seriously, makes me feel sick just thinking of it. It's why I could never even consider doing something like polo.
 

bel71

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Sorry to hear of the experience you had Mary Poppins. Were you at a riding school having a lesson when this happened? I agist at a place that is also a riding school, and I often ride my horse with 15+ other people having lessons at the riding school in an indoor arena. I always get out of the way of the people I can see are having difficulties with their horse, or the people who are new to riding, in an attempt to describe the sorts of issues you are describing. Fortunately, I am used to riding in this way, and my horse is fine in a group.
It's hard though if you are feeling out of control. Is there a way you can ride in smaller groups until your confidence builds up?
 

Ponymad123

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Oct 30, 2008
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I am SO glad im not the only one!
Seriously im petrified! i can hack my pony out alone and with another 1 at a push any more and i cant stand it, im scared if the other horses set off mine will and i wont be able to stop him.

Its awful because a local riding school have a lessons weekly for all the horses in the area that dont have a menage and i would love to go, ive been a couple of times but my pony gets too wound up following all the others and i end up being terrified.

Luckily we have a menage and i have weekly lessons alone with him but i would love to go and be confident that im not going to die! :eek:
 

Mary Poppins

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I know it sounds far fetched but have you considered hypnotherepy to work out the confidence issues related to the bolting incident?

I don't really believe in hypnotherapy to be honest. I did think that I might attend a nervous rider clinic at Holistic Horses (www.holistichorses.co.uk). They use NLP to help overcome negative thoughts and apparently this can be very effective.
 

Mary Poppins

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I am SO glad im not the only one!
Seriously im petrified! i can hack my pony out alone and with another 1 at a push any more and i cant stand it, im scared if the other horses set off mine will and i wont be able to stop him.

Thats exactly how I feel. I am confident that I can control the horse I am riding just fine, but I really can't cope if someone else gets out of control.
 

Ponymad123

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I know what you mean, its the thought that horses are a heard animal and if one goes - they all go/ or try their very best!
I wish i could overcome this fear myself, i dont know how- ive tried hacking with sensible people but i feel like i hold them back from cantering around everywhere.

I canter happily on my own but not with another horse :(
 

Tatooed Lady

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You're not alone, not even close. I'm okay riding with 2-3 other horse/riders, but larger groups on the trails make me really nervous. Probably because I'm on a rather large, young green mare, and the larger group rides tend to have more advanced horse/rider pairs, which means faster, longer rides, and everyone seems to feel that since they're experienced and can work their horse through everything, EVERYONE ELSE is of the same ability, even if they're notified otherwise ahead of time.
It gets dangerous when you've got a group even of 7-10 riders, and some manage to cross a road and the rest have to wait for a car. The group I was with...ugh...the first half didn't even wait! They just kept riding on, figuring that we'd catch up!
Nope, for now especially, keep me with a small, informal group that is willing to cater to the most inexperienced person in the group!
 

Izod1360

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I think it just takes some time getting used to IMO. I am used to riding in an indoor with at least 15+ horses. You just have to pay attention to your surroundings and pay very close attention to your horse and how he/she is acting.
 
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