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In two minds about horse riding again - advice needed please!!!

3 replies

coffeecake79 · 11/12/2012 12:46

Used to ride as a teenager and loved it. I'm now in my 30s and considering getting back into it (my brother and SIL got me a horse riding day from Groupon for my Birthday last year and I've developed the horsey bug again!).

However, I am absolutely terrified of doing myself a serious injury. I never had this fear when I was a kid - I would ride any horse (within reason...) and jump anything without any fear!! But now my fear has really got the better of me - to the extent that a lovely lady offered to let me ride her horse (an old semi-retired dressage horse) and I pulled out of going for a test ride through sheer terror. I know this sounds ridiculous but I was also scared because the horse is a big one - I think if he was 13.2hh I could have brought myself to get on!!

I have tried to rationalise my fear, and tell myself I could get injured, but I could also get injured driving my car, riding my bike, falling down stairs or doing any number of everyday activities......but I am so scared. How can I overcome this as I really do love horses and riding.

If I did return to riding, I would only be riding gentle horses in a school, I would no way be hunting, going XC or anything :o
Do you think riding is very risky if you only ride a safe pony and don't jump, do anything too crazy?!

I have tried a couple of riding lessons, but didn't really have much faith in the instructors or the horses - the horses either didn't move or were a bit naughty........I think it would help me to build up confidence with just one horse rather than a different horse each time I ride.

Also, once I am actually on the horse I normally feel more confident, it's just in the build up to riding I get so nervous.

Any advice really appreciated.

OP posts:
kittykarate · 11/12/2012 15:45

I'm a very nervous rider, I only do lessons, barely hack out as I get nervous in big open spaces. A bit of reality - I don't do anything crazy, but I have fallen off twice in 5 years. Once a cob spooked because a pigeon flew into the school and panic flapped in front of his face. Once when a pony tripped up, and he landed on both his front knees and I went over his neck. So there are no guarantees. On the other hand, both of these falls were minor and at slow speed, so a couple of days of ibuprofen and I was fine. I've had worse injuries tripping on a flight of stairs. So is gentle riding risky? A little. But not crazy juggling chainsaws risky.

I can understand why you find the school horses frustrating. Generally they are a bit unresponsive unless you are a strong rider, and they will try tricks to make their days easier (cutting corners etc.) You could try asking the school if they can give you the same horse regularly? Mine will try to do this, but you really need to speak to the person who plans the horses days, rather than an instructor.

PebblePots · 11/12/2012 22:08

You really need to go to a very good BHS approved school, preferrably a 'Where to Train Centre' with an experienced instructor. Yes that is expensive but you get what you pay for & this will minimise risk of accidents, have the best behaved/trained horses. Unlikely you will get to ride the same one each week tho.

Invest in a good, comfortable back protector, it really does stop any falls hurting as much & hopefully this will take some of the worry away.

It is normal to feel nervous while you get used to riding at a new place imo.

Zazzles007 · 12/12/2012 06:21

The other thing you could do is visit the local saddlery in your area, and explain that you are a nervous rider and ask for a recommendation of an instructor who is good with nervous riders, and who has quiet school horses. As Kitty said, riding horses, any horse, comes with an inherent risk, but going to an instructor who is good with nervous riders and has quiet horses will help minimise that risk. You can then explain your situation to your instructor so that they will take you along slowly and build confidence into each ride, never doing more than you feel comfortable with. When I restarted riding as an adult, I thought that I might only do dressage, but ended up competing eventing once my nerve went up. Never say never! Xmas Grin

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