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Help major case of nerves

(19 Posts)
Japonicathehorseygirl Sat 08-Oct-16 18:50:08

Middle aged rider reasonably competent mix of dressage and jumping until recently became really scared of jumping so skip it unless on really calm horse and stick to dressage and hacking. Ride at good ridding school and trust instructor. Starting being nervous In case horse falls. Saw this happen to someone else a couple of weeks ago fortunately rider and horse fine. I think my fears are a bit irrational as I know the dangers and I still want to ride and I am fine with my daughter riding but seem to have lost my nerve any advice much appreciated

5OBalesofHay Sat 08-Oct-16 19:34:01

Get yourself a lovely native pony. I was nervous but mine is so lovely to me, and no slouch at dressage either

Garthmarenghi Sat 08-Oct-16 22:30:34

Do only as much as you feel comfortable with. If it's just walk then so be it. Set yourself up to,be confident.

mrslaughan Sun 09-Oct-16 19:58:01

I think it's harder to overcome severe nerves in the riding school situation..... just because you are moved around horses.
I have had serious confidence issues which had nothing to do with my ability to cope with situations..... having said that my fears were very definitely irrational, and I would start visualising ridiculous scenarios. The way I solved this was going to an excellent confidence workshop , which involved using positive visualisation and reprogramming my thought process. I don't think I could have got past this simply by riding more.
I will look at who I did the course with - she is a rider as well, and does them around the country.

mrslaughan Sun 09-Oct-16 19:59:45

Amanda kirtland-page.....you should be able to find her in facebook.
She not only does the workshops , but I believe one in one sessions as well

cauliflowercheese14 Sun 09-Oct-16 20:26:01

Interested to read this, I'm a late starter to riding, been having weekly lessons for 9 months with the odd hack in between. I am prone to anxiety about it, even though I really love it when it goes well. There are some ponies I dread riding as they are disobedient (or more likely I am incompetent with them) and it makes me feel useless. My instructor says I have to keep riding the difficult ones or I'll not learn. Wish I could be more confident though, I'm just starting to canter and it scares me witless until I've done it and then I'm really proud of myself.

IceIceIce Sat 15-Oct-16 13:07:08

If you're not wanting to jump any more would you be able to look at western riding? I ride western. I have zero interest in jumping. I honestly don't know why more people don't do it if they're nervy. It only took me a couple of times to start clicking into place. It's a much deeper seat and you just feel more secure in general.

I won't ever go back to English now.

IceIceIce Sat 15-Oct-16 13:11:33

cauliflower I'm sorry but I don't think that's right at all. Why exactly do you need to ride difficult ones? Do you plan to have a young or difficult horse?

I definitely don't like that she's making you do this when you don't have an established seat in all paces (although, bear in mind what I class as difficult may be different to you).

If you only want to learn to ride for pleasure I really don't see why you need to ride difficult ones a lot.

Japonicathehorseygirl Sat 15-Oct-16 17:15:15

Tried western once really enjoyed it but nothing available nearby. Agree with you about the deep seat - trying to focus on riding without stirrups so feel balance is getting better. Last nights lesson was fine but next week it's jumping so not sure how it will go. We have four weeks with same horse then swap so two dressage one poles and one jumping. Cauliflower cheese - I think you should only be on a horse that you feel comfortable with its one thing if the instructor is trying to increase your confidence but should shouldn't be on a horse doesn't match your ability.

arabhorsesarebest Sun 16-Oct-16 15:44:22

I agree with Ice why do you need to experience riding difficult horses unless you've taken leave of your senses and plan to own one (and if you have this is not the way to get that type of experience no riding school hose will ever be that difficult).
I chucked in my five impossibly difficult (the clue is in my user name) horses just over 10 years ago, I now ride for pure fun and it relieves the stress of a very demanding job. I Try to have private lessons two to three times a week at one of the countries top riding schools, I take the view I'm paying the money so I request horses that suit me and my experience/style of riding e.g. No giants/dead from the shoes up warm bloods even if they advanced dressage school masters, apparently I'm not the only one with "favourites", the stables respects our choices and will even call on the day and allow you to cancel if your favourite horse(s) isn't available. They also now generally put me on horses similiar to the one I like riding best (think very forward going TB types). Occasionally I ride something that's not my cup of tea, at my request, in an attempt to imrove my lateral work, half pass etc but I get off relieved it's over not sure I've actually achieved my aim and glad to be going back to my less straight forward but more interesting TB's types
Obviously you want to be challenged in your lessons and hopefully your doing it because you enjoy it the majority of the time but it it's a hobby not a career change. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyable, and fun, not too scare you stiff, I suffer from claustrophobia there's no way I would take up pot holing as a hobby. You need to decide what you out of the lessons at the moment, what you want to learn and what you don't, if your scared to do something put it to one side for the moment and spend your lessons being doing something that makes you feel good at the end this will boost your confidence. Do you and your instructor set objectives of what you want to achieve in the short term and longer term? It also might be worth having a different instructor/riding school for a couple of lessons, another one might suggest things or word things in a different way and you'll experience this lightbulb moment, this might help your confidence. Finally do you enjoy the way your instructor teaches I personally can't cope with endless screaming and shouting of instructions it really effects my confidence and makes my ride like an idiot and I would be considered a very competent confident rider.
If your stables won't accommodate you find one that will.

cauliflowercheese14 Fri 21-Oct-16 20:30:29

That's very interesting arab and ice, thanks for your comments. I have zero ambition to own a horse, my ultimate aim is to be able to competently ride in walk, trot and canter. I genuinely enjoy my lessons but it doesn't come easy and that's definitely due to the horse. Every few weeks I get a break and ride what my instructor calls one of the 'robots'. Needless to say I love riding these but follow her advice because what do I know?!

arabhorsesarebest Fri 21-Oct-16 23:23:45

If you like riding "robots" request "robots". You are the customer you are likely to be paying a fairly substantial sum, they need your business, if you like riding Fred or Sunny when you book your lesson tell them.
Where I ride it's a joke between me and the staff who work in the office that 95% of the time I ride the same horse, sometimes they momentarily pretend they've put me on someone else just to wind me up! My favourite horse and I have over the months developed a great relationship, even though she's also ridden by loads of others she clearly remembers me and we have an understanding. We practice various movement and every week we both improve. This week she went so well one of the other instructors didn't recognise her asking my instructor who she was? I was chuffed to bits I understand her and she understands me, I know how to get the best out of her. I'd come from a very stressful day at work and thought I was probably too tired and wound up to enjoy the lesson, I finished feeling exhilarated. This is what it should all be about, you should be enjoying it. Having said this riding will never be easy simply because it's not easy, I've spent 40+ years on the back of horses I used to ride 3-4 hours a day, I've had 1000's of lessons and sometimes I'm left stunned by my own incompetence! We do learn from horses that don't suit us but do we need to learn what they are teaching us if your just doing g it for fun. I recently rode very badly an advanced dressage horse, popular with any clients at the stables I go too, ok I improved my flying changes but I wasnt really enjoying it. I didn't like the way it moved, I couldn't steer the thing, or even get it into canter at times, I finished the lesson demoralised at how badly I rode and wondering if I'd made the right decision coming back to riding after have had a break.
As I said above if your current stables won't play ball find another one, or how about an intensive day(s) of riding at either your stables or somewhere different, I can highly recommend where I go. Where I ride lots of people come for an intensive day(s), they've obviously spoken to the office and have set objectives whether it be to competently walk trot and canter, or learn to do piaffe, the staff work hard to help customers achieve their objectives. Perhaps this would boost your confidence and move your riding on a bit.

cauliflowercheese14 Sat 22-Oct-16 10:51:45

I think they would give me the horse of my choice if I requested it, but I suppose I've left it up to them, as they are supposed to know best. I realise talking to you here that I've never discussed it with them or anyone else. My instructor will always ask if I like a particular horse, but frequently says it'll make me a better rider if I can handle the difficult ones. (They're not dangerously difficult, they might need firm handling or be hard to keep going.) She knows my aim is just to be able to ride a horse and go out for hacks as I've been clear about that.
I like the instructors style though, she is quite shouty, but that suits me. I have had lessons with a couple of other instructors but found them not to be directive enough for me.
I do fancy more intensive lessons but probably can't afford it at the moment, my dd1 goes too so it's a bit pricey already. Maybe when I'm not paying nursery fees too! It's something that I'm surprised how much I enjoy generally but also how much I enjoy the actual learning, perhaps because it was completely out of my comfort zone.

arabhorsesarebest Sun 23-Oct-16 08:23:05

Have you thought about having a few weeks off then having two or three lessons in one week or vice versa. Or if your having group lessons having say a private lesson every other week for a few weeks. If you only riding once a week in a group your progress will be slow and you will feel frustrated. IME of friends learning to ride as an adult is much harder many adults who learn to ride struggle to overcome their nerves. Riding more than once a week even if it's just a one off might help or having a private lesson will also help as the instructor is concentrating only on you, and you can say today I only want to work on say staying in balance in canter.

cauliflowercheese14 Fri 28-Oct-16 13:44:58

arab thanks for the suggestions, I realize that although I chat to people at the yard I don't chat much about the process of learning. I'm reassured you think it's common for adult learners to be nervy though. I may be apprehensive sometimes but I'm always really delighted with myself when I ride well.
I currently share a weekly lesson with dd and I feel I get most of the attention as she's still mainly on lead rein. We sometimes go for a hack as well if it's school holidays etc. and I can afford it. My ultimate riding ambition is only to be able to enjoy hacks and feel generally confident in the saddle. I'd also like to be able to go riding on holiday - somewhere we go regularly has a school that offers beach rides which I'd love to do!

IceIceIce Sun 30-Oct-16 01:51:23

Yes I agree I would be insisting that I either choose which horse I ride (within reason obviously) or I'd take my business elsewhere.

Arab is spot on.

I really don't like riding instructors who pedal horses as "difficult" TBH. It gives the horse a negative label and a bias against the horse, the riders are either more nervous if the horse or they'll go the other way and get heavy handed from the get go.

and then everyone wonders why these horses behave the way they do and it's reinforced for them day in day out.

Riding school horses are rarely difficult horses and tbh I also think it's dangerous for instructors to try to push the "you'll get experience riding difficult horses" line.

My horses are lovely and they are really respectful. But if you handled them like a lot of so called difficult riding school ponies are handled they'd show you what a difficult horse is. I'd put money on it that you'd be severely injured.

You sound like the sensible sort but can you see how it encourages people who do have an interest in eventually working with horses to make them good horses to think they have experience with difficult horses nd a lot of the time they get out of the riding school and quickly find out how "difficult" 500kg of animal can get when you get it wrong lol.

She really doesn't need to be pushing it on you she just doesn't.

Argh this has irked me lol. I hope they sort it out!

IceIceIce Sun 30-Oct-16 01:03:20

and I hope you don't take my post as condescending. Most people who learned at a riding school do it IMO. Myself included. there are a few instances where I look back now and it's only years down the line I think back to how I was riding hat horse and I was entirely biased from the get go. I was terrified and I should have said no in the first place. everything that horse did to me was my fault I had its reins way too tight I was probably hurting the poor things mouth it was used to even less experienced riders than me not only holding onto its head but the less experienced would be pulling and Jerking around.

If I were to end up with that horse now I'd give him a loose rein and let him get a bit of his energy out. they stop running if they realise they don't have a reason to. pulling and jerking and manhandling gives them a reason. (I'm also not saying you personally man handle or yank on them. but you can bet your ass that horse is ridden by a good amount that do do that. I've seen it in every school I've ever been to bar one and the woman who ran that would never ever pedal a horse as difficult).

cauliflowercheese14 Sun 30-Oct-16 09:46:02

Not condescending at all ice thanks, you make a very good point about it being a vicious circle when you give an animal a bad reputation. It's all relative too as you say as a truly 'difficult' horse wouldn't be anywhere near a school. I will definitely ask that I stay with the horses I really enjoy riding.

Initially, I struggled to be firm with any of the horses as I was worried about hurting them. I think I'm better with that these days but I'm not a manhandler or yanker. To me it is a bit like how you handle a dog on a lead - you shorten the lead to let the dog know you need him to come to heel, but you're not yanking or dragging him. I don't know whether that's way off the mark though!

arabhorsesarebest Mon 31-Oct-16 08:59:04

Ice is absolutely correct most horses only pull if you give them something to pull against. Having said this unless your hacking out when it is perfectly acceptable to ride horses on a longer rein providing their moving forward with good impulsion, for flat work and jumping horses need a consistent (but not pulling) contact, many riders struggle with this even at higher levels partly because a horse changes its outline with changes in pace, and as it engages its hind legs more and lifts its back.
Novices tend to tense lean forward climb up the reins particularly if a horse is more forward going than they are comfortable with but this sends out a very simple message to a horse go faster.
I was taught many years ago that simple obedience is the first thing you should be working on when schooling a horse, we were not allowed to get on a horse that walked off when you got on, you had to get off again, obviously there will always be exceptions but this is a good principle, and something to aim for for horses that are difficult to get onto (had one of those) we then had to ride for 10 minutes in all three paces, assess the horse and then feed back to the instructor, having detailed height age breed etc the next thing we had to say was does it trot when you ask it too, or stop when you ask it too, etc if the answer was no then that was what you worked on, you cannot go any further with a horse if it's not listening to its rider for the most basic of commands. So cauliflower you are not "hurting" a horse by insisting on basic obedience.

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