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How can i get my confidence back

(7 Posts)
starshaker Sat 22-Aug-09 23:27:27

I used to ride when i was younger. Nothing serious just going on the odd hack. I started taking lessons recently and fell in love with it again. All i wanted was to go fast lol. I decided it would be cheaper (i spend about £100 a week on lessons) to save up and buy my own horse.
Money saved i found a horse that was advertised as happy hacker which sounded perfect. I went to see him and watched the woman ride him. He seemed lovely........ until i got on him and he took off (i dont pretend to be experienced and i wanted soething calm and reliable as my first horse) I came of and damaged my kidneys, back, neck and ended up with a fracture (my hat was also broken and i think that pissed me off the most lol) anyway before i descoved how bad id hurt myself i felt i needed to get back on a horse i trusted so i went to the riding school and had a lesson on my baby (soooo wish he was for sale) i lasted for 10 mins and had to get off as i was in too much pain. My instructor said i shouldnt be in that much pain unless there was something wrong so she called the docs etc etc etc.
After i had healed i was going on holiday and thought a nice beach ride would be just the thing (i had been riding my fav for a few weeks by then and would do everything but canter in the school) My sister and i got on our horses and after a few scary things i was already nervous again. The horse freaked me out that much i wouldnt even trot. Nowthat im home and riding my usual horse again i seem to be really nervous even though i know in my head he is fine and that i can canter up the forest and stuff something just blocks me from doing it. I know its stupid and that i pay the girls for my riding but i feel that where we used to see who could keep their horse cantering the longest im worried about doing a stupid short 1. I still love it but i need to get back to where i used to be but i dont know how to.

Sorry that was longer than i thought lol if you read it all then pleeeeeeeaaaaaase help me

Fluffypoms Sun 23-Aug-09 00:44:00

Is there a share/loan up anywhere near you?

dont think owning a horse is right for you till you get your confidence back.

Dont put to much pressure on yourself. take it slow and gently work your way throgh the transitions.

walk till your ready to trot and so on.

Know how you feel had a bad fall when pushing myself/horse to far..

your confidence will come back and stick to the horse you feel safe with for now as he sounds perfect for you.

Good luck. x

Ponymum Sun 23-Aug-09 21:23:01

Starshaker I really sympathise and know something of what you must be going through. I had several things happen at once which all damaged my confidence in riding (which I have shared before here and people have been really encouraging). You poor thing with the accident.

Here's what I think:
- You need to get your confidence back one step at a time
- I really would not rush into buying a horse until you are very, very confident again
- It sounds like your regular ride at the riding school is a good confidence giver, so can you stick with him until you feel better about your riding?
- In my experience it is a huge leap from riding at lessons and treks, to having your own horse (and for me this was despite having owned several horses when I was younger). Before you take that step I think you need to be quite confident in a wide variety of situations. Once you get confident with your regular ride why not try other horses, other environments, different challenges? That will really help to prepare you for taking the next step.

Can you set some small goals for yourself, but in a safe, controlled way? e.g. canter in the school, then a short canter when out on a ride, etc? But don't attempt anything you're not confident with.

Be realistic about what is involved in owning a horse. There's a good leaflet here and there are also some good books around. You might decide that a regular ride at a good riding school is a better option for now, especially if you add the odd trekking holiday in fab locations! IME whatever level of confidence you have in a riding school environment you need 5 times that to do the same thing on your own with your own horse.

Most of all enjoy your riding at a level you are comfortable with. All the best, and good luck! smile Let us know how you get on.

Pixel Sun 23-Aug-09 21:30:47

Starshaker I feel for you, I know what it is like. I keep asking myself the same question, why can't I relax when I know in my head that the horse I'm riding is trustworthy and well within my capabilities? Unfortunately I don't know the answer!
I've been having some lunge-lessons recently which are helping a lot because I can concentrate more on myself and worry less about what the horse is doing. I'm slowly finding it less terrifying! Maybe you could try something like that?

Southwestwhippet Sun 23-Aug-09 23:02:16

I was bolted with by a terrified youngster (he was running blind) he threw me off and I fractured my spine. Although I was a reasonably experienced horsewoman, working with horses, riding for a living, and I owned my own horse whom I regularly competed, I totally lost my confidence after this.

The worst thing I did was to keep forcing myself back on unkown, difficult and youngster horses. because it was my job and I had a VERY unsupportive boss who basically said "ride or piss off" (and would chuck me on all sorts of potentially dangerous horses without a word of warning or advice but that's another story) I felt unable to admit either to myself or anyone else how nervous I was. I would get tense and terrified on board and the horse would sense this & play up. This vicious circle made the problem worse. Eventually I sold my horse and left that job.

It took me about 2 years to get over the accident and I will never be the rider I once was. However, I can enjoy a good gallop, jump confidently again, and still work with horses, albeit in a quieter job. I also have a spooky sharp pony whom I absolutely worship!

However, I think if I had been able to give myself time after the accident to come to terms with what had happened, and also to get back into riding at my own speed with supportive people around me, I would have recovered my nerve much quicker. My advice to you would be therefore as follows:

> don't get yourself a horse yet. Stick to the wonderful one at your riding school that you feel safe on.
> Don't be ashamed of how you feel. It is normal and natural. I bet if you talk to your instructor he/she will be understanding. Most instructors have been there.
> insist on taking things at your own pace. Keep a diary of your weekly or monthly achievements. That way you can look back and see improvement instead of focusing on how you 'still aren't back to how you used to be'.
> get a supportive, understanding instructor who will encourage you without pushing you - or allowing you to over-push yourself.
> keep remembering that it is your choice to ride. It is a hobby, something you do for pleasure.
> One thing I always do when I feel the nerves kick in is to think "how will I feel about this when I get home if I DONT do it?" If I think I will feel disappointed, I give it a go. If I think i will feel I have made the right decision not to do it today, I won't.

BIG HUGS to you, it is awful and I really feel for you. If you take is slowly, I'm sure you can get over it and find the enjoyment in riding you once had.

Nekabu Mon 24-Aug-09 12:51:21

If I were you I'd concentrate on having lessons rather than hacking. The better you ride and the more stable your position, the more confident you will feel in the saddle and the more control you will have over your horse. Having someone keeping an eye on you from the ground and helping you with your riding should also help your confidence to grow.

I'd also remember that this is your hobby; you're doing it for fun and shouldn't be putting timescale goals up for yourself. What does it matter if you're not cantering within X length of time? It's just another pace; riding is riding, it doesn't matter if you don't canter for a while, you can work on your riding skills just as well in walk and trot. Canter when you and your instructor feel that you are ready, maybe as part of a lesson.

When you are feeling up for it, start riding other horses regularly and if you'd like to own your own horse at some stage in the future, maybe look at sharing a horse first. Ask around and try putting a card up in your local tackshops - sharing can be great, either as an introduction to horse ownership or as a permanent alternative.

Good luck and I hope you start to enjoy your riding again.

skihorse Mon 24-Aug-09 15:09:35

Lots of great advice here.

I lost my confidence badly about 5 years ago. I ended up buying a horse I knew I could handle to overcome my fear - perhaps like you riding the horse at the stables you know and trust?

Another thing I found helped was that sometimes I would just tack up. And mount. And sit - for 20 minutes if that was all I wanted to do. Then dismount.

Nobody's business but yours how slow you want to take it.

I'm not sure racing will boost your confidence any...

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