Will my confidence ever return

piebaldrider

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Sep 22, 2005
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Some of you may remember my very long posts last year when i broke my arm in a freaky riding accident. I totaly lost my nerve and ended up loaning my boy to the riding school for the disabled where i am happy to say he is loved to bits and done so well i could cry. But i am not ready to ride him again just yet. However my desire to ride and interact with horses wouldnt go away and now i have loaned what was described as a bombproof ploddy cob. I have had her for a few weeks now and i do love her. However this has not been without problem ( not riding related and i'm posting about these elsewere) . I rode out alone for the second time saturday and whilst walking along the bridleway a bird flew out of the ditch and scared her ( I cant post to many details about her ) she danced about and made a big fuss , but didn't realy do anything that bad ,she's a very srong mare and it took me a minute to bring her back down to earth. I decided to exit the bridleway and take the road home, during the jouney i was a mass of nerves, its like all the steps i have taken forward have been withdrawn and im a wreck again and cant face getting on her. I went to her this morning but just looked for reasons why i cant get on her. will i ever be able to ride alone again? it feels doubtfull but shes very slow and nobody wants to ride with me.
 

augermoon

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oh poor you. Its not nice when you lose your confidence. But you're not alone and thats the first thing you need to remember. It has happened to so many of us. I was bucked off my old horse 2 and a half years ago. It wasn't a particularly awful fall but I landed arkwardly and fractured a vertebra in my spine. I was off work for a month and not allowed to ride for 2 by which time, I was a bag of nerves. When I came to ride again, I couldn't believe what an emotional wreck I was. I didn't want to do it but like you had this attachment to horses that I couldn't shift. I tried going without but was a miserable old bag.

Eventually I got back on and started riding again (my horse was sold and replaced for a variety of reasons.) My new chap was great but I just kept creating problems because I had so much trauma going on in my head every time I got on. But I just kept at it, riding as much as I could. I started just doing 10 mins at a time in the school, didn't hack out for over 6 months and just took it easy. Gradually things got easier to the point where I am now pretty much back to normal. But it took over 2 years and I have to say I still suffer from low moments at times.

So don't give up. You obviously have a passion for it but don't beat yourself up when things don't quite go to plan. Just go back to something easier and praise yourself for the little improvements that you make. I used to find that lungeing before I rode made me more confident even though it really didn't make any difference to him. Hacking was built up very gradually from just 5 mins trips round the block. Is there really no-one that will hack with you? What about an OH or friend that will walk with you on foor just to give you some confidence?

Okay, have waffled on enough. You will get there honestly. NR is a great way of sharing each experience, good and bad and you will find the support you need on here. And if you have someone on the yard that can help you aswell, all the better. Best of luck XXXX
 

GEORGE2

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You poor thing!
I also know how you are feeling. I had a terrible accident a few years ago and couldn't walk for a long while and have found myself with different equine friends along the way, starting with youngsters as i didn't have to ride them and making myself excuses along the way. I have now got a three year old who needs riding and i am scared stiff every time i mount him even though he is half dead and have been trying to find a sharer for him so that it doesn't matter if i take my time getting on him and just walking about for 10 mins if someone else is giving him the exercise.
Everyone has got different advice on here but, i have found that just getting on is a big achievement in itself so good luck and just push yourself a little at a time.:)
 

Tots N Dots

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Nov 27, 2005
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I was in a similar situation, I am still a bag of nerves but I am getting there, (sometimes it seems such a painfully slow process) I try not to look at the big picture, I had 5 years off ofter an accident, but just couldn't keep away from horses any longer, I started ridding again about 2 years ago, I refuse to give in to pressure from other people to ride, (no one on here just home) I consider my oh saying why dont you tack Danny up and take him out as pressure, as soon as someone else thinks I SHOULD I CANT, I have had Danny just over 2 weeks, he has had a year off due to an injury, so he hasn't been on the road or ridden for a year, I had no idea what he was like to ride or what he was like in traffic, on Boxing day I tacked him up, I put on my hat and body protector for "safety reasons" and all I had to do was lead him to the gate and back, or at least this is what I was telling myself, I got on and walked him round the village :D , to me this was an incredible moment, I am still a bag of nerves when I get on but he is just so good he doesn't care I am nervous, (my previous horse didn't like the fact I was nervous and this made it a nightmare! I nearly gave up again completely) my advice would be to only do what you are happy with, set yourself tiny tiny goals cause if you set big challenges you set yourself up to fail, I have spent ages beating myself up over how I feel and constantly feeling like I am failing, but I am now resigned to that fact I am nervous and not constantly trying to push myself, I am alot happier and it seems less nervous too:)
 

newnovice

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Feb 18, 2005
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Piebaldrider - you WILL be able to ride. I think of myself as the world's biggest chicken. I started riding for the first time in my life about 1.5 years ago at the age of 41. I bought a horse after a year of lessons and the first two months it was a struggle just to get on her (literally, I had to have somebody hold her while I mounted). Two months after I got her I had a fall, no serious injuries, except to my confidence. I would get on her afterwards and sit on her in the middle of the arena shaking and crying. That was in May. I'm better, but it's been a slow road.

The most important thing I have done is listen only to MYSELF, and try to say only positive things to myself. That's hard. I ride at a barn with other women who have been riding the same amount of time as me, but they are much braver and more advanced than me. That gets to me sometimes, but I TRY not to focus on it. I go out and walk her around the arena and then celebrate the fact that I DID it.

I hate people giving me advice and telling me what to do about my confidence, but I love it that I'm not the only one who has those issues. So...I won't give advice, but I will tell you that you're NOT alone and you WILL persevere.

I can tell you that two things that have helped me are a fantastic trainer and a great hypnotist. Good luck, you'll be fine.
 

LindaAd

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piebaldrider said:
. I went to her this morning but just looked for reasons why i cant get on her. will i ever be able to ride alone again? it feels doubtfull but shes very slow and nobody wants to ride with me.


I think maybe you're pushing yourself too fast, piebaldrider. Riding out alone is quite a scary thing, especially with a horse you don't know all that well. If she's so slow that people don't want to ride out with you, maybe someone could go along on foot or on a bike? That makes a big difference to a horse's confidence - and the rider's! Or could you have a few rides on a nice safe horse at a riding-school first?

I don't think much of your friends for not wanting to ride with you though! Could you go out with someone for a little, then turn round and go home on your own? Or lead the horse out, then get on and ride home?

Linda
 

Ronangirl

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Jan 2, 2006
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Piebald rider

Sorry to hear bout knock to your confidence. By the looks of the other messages posted, we're all in the same boat..so don't worry, a little perseverence will get u there.

Not sure where in the world you are but I'm going to a workshop in Feb in Warwickshire which is all bout gaining confidence when riding. (I don;t even own a horse as I'm a bit of a chicken altho hoping to resolve that in the spring) Anyway, if you wnat the details, let me know.

Ro :)
 

kirstie

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Dec 6, 2005
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Awwwwww poor you i was in the same boat and kinda stilll am i fell of my horse 3 weeks ago in a forest and had to be taken to hospital i was o.k so i thought i would ride 3 days later and she was fantastic well she (galloped of, bucked) but thats the usual. However, she went out of work because of a lump of her head whichh turns out to not be lump :eek: i got on her today to find i was a nervous wreck i couldn't stop shaking and felt tense which is apparently was good for me or the horse i felt better after a while i was only in the paddock so it wasn't that bad. I felt brave enough to go up the rode :rolleyes: and she was naughty side stepping but my nerves disappeared and al i did was concentrate on getting her home. i got her out again and she was being naughty on the road so i took her into the grass paddock and she just cantered around and around:D i think that's all she needed.

What made my confidence go up was going on really good ploddy type horses and when i got scared i just kept at a walk until i felt comfortable in trot and i also thought of happy feelings like the day i bought her. Good luck i still get nervous but not as much.
 
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pedantic

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Sorry to hear of your confidence issue.
I think anyone who is honest will admit to nerves, I had to go through feeling physically sick when driving to the stables for a while when getting back on and riding ginger nobhead after my accident, I have had to adapt my riding to suit my capabilities to my particular animal, I only canter and jump in the school, hacking (at the moment) consists of varied riding night or day, countryside, alleyways busy roads, canal paths ect, but all at walk and trot, the lady who owns our yard only walks and trots with her horse because he can be a bit of a lad and she has been horseing it for over 30 years, dont let others push you past what you are comfy with, it's your kneck not theirs, take it bit at a time and at your own pace, we all ride for enjoyment so it shouldn't be traumatic, if you only hack out at a walk for 6 months or more and enjoy it so what, it's your kneck your horse your money, dont be too hard on yourself :) and keep at it, it will get better.
One of my riding friends called me "an urban rider" a few days ago :D
 

Levigal

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Dec 30, 2005
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nerves

I feel for you and I understand the fear. When I bought my first horse a couple of weeks ago at age 40, I really did not imagine I would have any fear. After all, I rode a lot when I was younger in the mountains and on some fairly untrained horses. But, once I got my horse Levi home and spent my first day with him, I was nervous and anxious. I was so mad at myself because I felt my nervousness was rubbing off on Levi. But, despite the deep breathing and efforts to calm myself, I remained nervous. The horse didn't do anything to make me nervous really; I got that way all on my own.

Then, I worsened the situation by riding Levi in a creaky indoor arena alone. No other riders were there. The wind was howling outside, making the arena roof creak, bang, and moan. Levi was all wound up, and I actually got off of him in fear. Not good.

Since then, I've had a really good day riding him in the same areana. But, my fear is still there, lingering. I don't ride him now without someone else present and that does help.
 
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Hey,

Wow.. im really proud of you for getting back in the saddle again. Do u not have anyone that will walk besides you for a wee while just so that u can get yr confidence back. I had a terriable accident when i was younger.. my best friend and I were out hacking in south africa(where i used to livve) and we didnt know that they we tree felling just the other side off the woods.. the next min we heard was that a tree was falling down and my friends horse was spooked and she fell off but into a huge ditch and ended up breaking her neck... i fell off and was knocked out. My friend didnt make it but i always and still do think that if i didnt get back on a horse she would have killed me!:) so i didnt it took ages bout 3 yrs i was petrified honestly i was terriable but i eventually got my nerve back and I dont even think bout it twice now.

I think everybody deals with things differently i still think bout it alot today, but i used it as a stepping stone. As if that never have happend i wouldnt be at the riding stage at what i am at at the moment!!

I hope everything works out well for you and jst rememeber that Rome wasnt built in a day!

Best of luck - Tam xxx
 

Stella2

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There are a lot of us around :) It seems to me that you are doing really well, but putting too much pressure on yourself! Like the other posters, following an accident, I've been there myself and, well, I still go there some days! I used to plan to ride and expect to do various things, e.g. hack out in company or alone, have a schooling session including particular things etc. It started coming together for me when I took the pressure off myself. I began to do only what I felt happy to do, pushing myself out of my comfort zone a little only when I truly wanted to. So if I wanted to get on in the school and just walk her around a while, thats what I'd do! Sometimes, I'd go to the yard planning only to do some groundwork and then see if I fancied riding - I found I rode much more when I changed to this approach!

I'm currantly not hacking again as the mare I built up confidence to hack is turned away due to lameness. My new mare is lovely, but she is more athletic and powerful than my other one and when I took her out (in the company of a sensible friend on her sensible horse), although she did nothing wrong, she perked-up and clearly expecting me to ask for something more exciting than walk. It was too soon, we didn't know each other really, I bottled-it, dismounted and led her home.

Anyway, I figure, its all good. I'll take it at my own pace and maybe you should too. After all, we do this for fun, we don't have deadlines ;)
 

pepsimaxrock

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I rode out alone for the second time saturday and whilst walking along the bridleway a bird flew out of the ditch and scared her ....... and it took me a minute to bring her back down to earth. QUOTE]

And YOU brought her back down to earth, didn't you... I would be really really proud of that, and you should too. Hacking out alone is really scary, and this story shows you can do it. Well done!
 

cherokeecowgirl

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Jan 3, 2006
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Start from the ground

I too just started riding after getting my first horse at 40. I did what everyone told me not to do. I got a baby - 3 month old. We learned everything together. The best situation was that the breeder wanted to show her, so she showed me ground work to do with her for her to be ready to show. We worked so much on the ground together when my daughter put a saddle on her (I had saddled her before, it wasn't the 1st saddling) and brought her to our front door and told me to get on, I did. She never has offered to buck and she is now 6 years old. She knew all the verbal commands from our ground work and we trusted each other so much from all the ground work we just started riding (well a little more work than I made it sound), but I did not have to do much when I got on her.

Start ground work again with your horse, doesn't matter how old they are. Get them to walk, trot and canter with you on the ground, stop, back up, and so on. Get all kinds of things to distract and startle them in a small (preferably round pen) before you are ever on their back. A paper sack tied to a whip and shake it at them and touch them all over with it. My breeder told me to play a radio loud when we did our ground work so she would learn to ingnore distractions. Then just brush, comb and pet all over - literally to gain trust.

Sorry so long, but hope it helps some.

P.S. Forgot to tell you, I was deathly afraid of horses when I got her, when I was 9 a horse picked me up and threw me under a barbed wire fence, I know how powerful they are. Working her on the ground really helped my confidence with her.
 
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Mini Reed

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You know what struck from your post, was the line about standing looking at your mare, thinking of reasons not to get on..... I've soo been there. I just found that confidence comes with time and patience. I too broke an are in a riding accident, went from gung ho scared of nothing to being taken out on a lead rein!!!! But it just took time, since then I've done shows and had a horse on loan. Is there nobody you can ride out with every once in a while, or what about a friend or boy/girlfriend to walk out with you? My boyfriend used to come cycling whilst I rode. Where abouts are you, maybe some one on this site could spare you some time? Just some ideas.

Whatever happens, best of luck and be patient, don't push yourself too much, wait until you're 200% comfortable with one thing before you move on, and above all don't let anyone else push you.

I hope I haven't duplicated anything said in other posts, I'm lunch and only have time to read the first entry and scan the rest.
 

Afellpony

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I really feel for you. We've all been there so you're not alone. I was riding a mare for someone a long time ago. She suddenly bolted along the bridleway, bucked me off and for good measure kicked me in the head. Lucky I had my hat on. I hurt my leg badly and couldn't ride for ages. After 2 years I decided to ride another horse, who fell on top of me after slipping on the road. I hurt my leg badly and didn't ride again for ages. Rather than risk another accident on someone else's beast, I bought an Exmoor foal. Now years later, I am riding my young Fell pony but I must admit to feeling a bit nervous at times. He is lovely and takes it all in his stride (most of the time). So dont feel alone, it's happened to a lot of us.
 
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pedantic

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Yea what is it with tarmac, so blasted slippery, ESPECIALLY when just resurfaced, my friends arab lost all it's footing setting off at a junction in front of me, frightened me silly, kept me awake all night seeing horses legs going everywhere and her falling off, fortunately it was just cuts and bruise for both of them, we were lucky that the traffic was going slow due to the roadworks as it is normally faster flowing.
 

Ginger Thing

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Piebaldrider - you are braver than me, I have only ever hacked out alone once! Your confidence will return, give it time and take it steady.

Pedantic - I too have a ginger thing which I prefer to only hack in walk and trot, canter is saved for days when I feel he is very calm and chilled, otherwise we get a case of the bucking broncos! Whereabouts in Midlands are you (we're in Sedgley).
 
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pedantic

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Hi Ginger thing, I am in Derby, one of my Po's previous owners was in the west midlands, I have spoke to her on the phone, VERY strong accent :D

Have you any piccies of your ginger beast ?
 

Ginger Thing

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Pedantic - I don't have a strong Wolverhampton accent (thankfully!).

Photos of the Ginger Thing can be seen on this thread

http://www.newrider.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?threadid=40831


He is such a good boy for a tb, he does buck when excited but it's really not that bad, I am just a terrible 'what-if' type of person. If there's a plastic bag in the hedge I convince myself he's going to spook, spin, bolt and throw me under a bus! When in fact he walks straight past! I wasn't at the front of the queue when they gave confidence out, but I just do what I want to do with him, school, compete at dressage, and hack out steadily, leaving the jumping and fast hacking to OH and more confident friends, who really help me out with him!
 
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