The return of the " Nervios Nellie "


New Member
Jun 24, 2002
A barn in Wisconsin
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I have been so happy with my riding on my horse as of late..that I took my instrutors advise and got permission from a barn mate to use his a few instructor wanted me to use his horse becasue we are now trying to teach my horse to go from the fast canter to the western lope and this guy does a very nice western lope...Then I can get a feel for it and learn to relax at the canter.
So ok ..I get permission and get him groomed and tacked and get on ..all is well until I start to give him direction..he wants to cut in and I want him on the we go around and around about that ..I do get him into a lope ,,but while he is loping he has grabed the bit and is flinging his head all around and cutting into the center of the arena :mad: ..well this freaks me out..:eek: and I pull on both reins ..this does nothing.. but we do eventully come to a instructor tells me not to worry about were he is going or what he is doing with his head..just to canter him around and relax....:( ..ok I do not know about the rest of you.. but for me to " relax ' on a horse I need to have at least some control over where he is I got into a huge stand off with my instructor .:mad: .I told her I will not ride a horse that will not listen to where I want him to go and she thinks I need to to learn to let go..:eek:
I think that is a load of C-ap...anyone else been asked to do this ?
Am I being a baby ?:rolleyes:
I have seen KIDS ride him..and was reminded of this by the barn owner..
So of course now I feel like I have lost all the confidence I worked so hard to get and have returned to the " Nervious Nellie " club with my head bowed in shame...:(

Tots N Dots

Active Member
Nov 27, 2005
Planet Pickle
dont you dare bow your head in shame, you had the guts to try a different horse and do something new! at least you tried?! you have regained your confidence once and this is just a little hick-up that you will get past, I think it is a little harsh of your instructor to remind you that kids ride the horse, my 3 year old has sat on my unbroken youngster, doesn't make her a super rider or my youngster an easy ride, maybe it is just that you should have had a couple of goes on this horse on your own 1st to get the feel of him? then had a lesson, Rome was not built in a day, and I think you were very brave to try a new horse,


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
Yes, I have been told to do this. But I was riding a reliable lesson horse, not something that was headshaking or going to take off at high speed. I am not balanced, so I am not good at steering because if one's weight is not central the horse goes off to one side.
So early in my cantering career I was told just to relax, and let the horse choose direction. For me it worked wonders. I even went round a corner now and then. But usually the horse stopped. Maybe your teacher thought the horse was annoyed by the bit? If a student is told not to steer, it may mean they ride with looser reins, and thus relax the horse too.
The crucial point is that I was happy with the suggestion. I was being asked to do something I was good at (relaxation) and being spared something I was bad at (steering).
Your situation was diffferent. You were on a strange horse and felt you were asked to do something risky. Being cautious does not classify you as a nervous nellie. I never do anything which frightens me. Even in a lesson I take the safety decisions. So I feel you did right to question your instructor. That is often so hard to do. Nor should you feel humiliated because you acted in an adult way.
The teacher probably thought she was offering a conventional solution. But teaching adults is a more complex business. Grown ups need explanations, not only of the teacher's suggestions - but of possible and preferable alternatives.


New Member
Aug 17, 2005
First time I cantered I cantered without reins BUT this was on a very trustworthy horse I'd been riding for a few months so for me it was a good way of experiencing the different movement whilst still having his mane to grab on to for support.

Since then I have had a few hairy moments in canter often on horses that were new to me, particularly one lovely young speedy mare who spun into the centre of the school every time we started cantering :eek: probably as a result of my terrible balance :rolleyes:

Under the circumstances you're describing I wouldn't be at all happy about carrying on, I wouldn't necessarily rule out what is being suggested but I would want to be comfortable in the horse first -like you I like to have direction and brakes before trying something new.

Sometimes it's taken me a lesson or two on a particular horse to get these basics, sometimes more but I think it's time well spent. If I have become comfortable and relaxed and the horse has become familiar with me and what I'm asking him then it's easier for both of us.

In short you did the right thing - don't ever do anything you're unhappy with. Certainly in order to make progress you need challenges to be overcome, and you shouldn't always be working in the comfort zone, but the decision on when to go beyond that should always be yours, after all it's your neck!

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