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How to encourage DD back on a horse?

20 replies

WocketInMyPocket · 24/05/2013 20:39

My DD is 5 and has been doing group riding lessons for about 10 weeks and at first seemed to love it. Last week she came home crying saying that she was frightened of the horse (particularly trotting) and she doesn't want to ever go again.

Any advice on how I coax her back on a horse without putting her off altogether? I was thinking about private lessons to build up confidence but I'm not sure she'll even do that.

OP posts:
chocolatecakeystuff · 24/05/2013 21:14

Maybe it was all just a bit much for her, some kids just don't take to riding, has she got a friend from school she can go with?

Did something happen in her lesson that's frightened her?

Littlebigbum · 24/05/2013 21:23

Hacking on hols,
And time

WocketInMyPocket · 24/05/2013 21:25

I think it was when they started trotting that she freaked out - and I think also she finds it quite tricky and worries that she can't ride as well as the others. She does already go with a friend but even that doesn't seem to help.

I just assumed she would love riding as I did!

OP posts:
saintmerryweather · 24/05/2013 21:28

can she go out on a hack? maybe the lesson is too much pressure for her and she just needs to enjoy a nice wander out, by herself so she doesnt have to feel that she is doing better or worse than anyone else. she is still only little

Gruntfuttocks · 24/05/2013 21:30

Sorry, no experience of riding / horses to go on, but it sounds as though your DD was seriously frightened in the lesson, and if you push her to go back now, you could put her off for life. Why not just let her take a break and see if she mentions it again or asks to go back herself.

All of my kids share some of my interests but they have all found new ones of their own that would never have occurred to me and rejected others that I love. You can only offer them opportunities and let them choose. Hard to walk away, but if you keep it low key, she may want to try again when she's older.

LEMisdisappointed · 24/05/2013 21:32

She is only five, give her a rest from it and start her up again later on - if you push it, she wont want to do it. My DD1 never took to it, DD2 loves it. She hasn't fallen off yet, i suspect i will have a problem when she does - although she has had a horse step on her foot and lost a toenail Shock and it hasn't put her off

WocketInMyPocket · 24/05/2013 21:33

Hacking - yes great idea! I'm sure she'd like that and as you say no pressure and no trotting if she doesn't want to.

OP posts:
DreamingOfAFullNightsSleep · 24/05/2013 21:36

I started riding lessons at 7, got seriously frightened when I lost control once and stopped til I was 9. I was lucky enough to have a pony when I was 12, so if hacking is rejected, I'd say leave it a while.

Pixel · 24/05/2013 22:20

Ahh, 5 is very young to be worrying about being 'good enough' in lessons, especially now she's had a fright.
I wouldn't mention riding for a while but still take her along to 'visit' the ponies/give them a carrot etc (if the school owner doesn't mind). That way she'll still have a link to the ponies and hopefully she will see the other children having fun and change her mind. Then maybe some nice relaxed wanders out on the lead-rein to get her confidence if that would be possible.
But as others have said it might just be that it's not for her. My dd was the same. She was doing well I thought, could do a lovely rising trot and seemed fairly keen but then just didn't want to do it any more. Nothing happened, she didn't have a fall or anything. She's had plenty of chances over the years if she'd wanted to ride but never re-ignited her interest.

adoptmama · 25/05/2013 07:56

I hated my group riding lessons as a child and spent most of them frightened unless I could ride my favourite little pony. I still very clearly remember the malicious delight of the horsey teen helper asking me if I wanted to ride him again the following week and then saying 'well you can't we are selling him tomorrow.' :(

It might simply be she is too young to enjoy it, having had a fright. If she wants to go again I would try an individual lesson (on the lunge even) where she may feel much less likely to get out of her depth. Also see if she has a favourite pony she trusts to ride and maybe build up to it slowly by having her simply be around them, helping to get them ready, giving them some apples etc with no pressure to actually ride. Definitley don't force it though as her fear will be compounded.

issyocean · 25/05/2013 08:21

My D is going through a similar thing.She was going really well had loads of confidence and even had an (unscheduled) canter on her 6th birthday.

Then three weeks in a row she had issues where the pony got a little excited and put in a little buck and another pony massively spooked.She didn't come off but twice ended up hanging off the side.

She still wants to ride but her confidence has been severely knocked and she now won't do anything unless someone is along side her and she doesn't want to let go of the saddle when trotting.

Luckily we have a fantastic instructor who plays lot's of games,lets her ride bareback ect and is generally making things really fun whilst gradually getting her to do things independently

I think if your D doesn't want to ride atm give her some time away and then have some private lessons with someone who is good with children.

Floralnomad · 25/05/2013 10:44

My daughter gave up riding when she was 5 , she fell off cantering and it completely put her off . I'd leave it for a few months and wait for her to ask to go back . Mine never went back ,although she still goes to see our pony occasionally.

Littlebigbum · 25/05/2013 13:00

There is some great advice here, and to be honest 5 year olds have really short legs.

mrslaughan · 25/05/2013 14:25

It depends I think whether she is happy to hop back on in a private lesson.

Ds is 8, and last year fell of at canter twice plus had a couple of spooky things happen in his lesson with other ponies, and it really knocked his confidence.

He still really wanted to do it though, so he has been having private lessons since.....he had got to the point he would happily lead his group in trot, but we had to go right back to the beginning really. he loves hacking, so his instructor would set him a target for in the arena, if he did that they would finish the lesson with a hack. to start with it was to walk around the edge on the lunge line, then just walk without it. Then trot around the edge on the lunge line, then trot a few strides on his own. Little by little building his confidence back up.

he loves it, and is well and truley back into it, but still won't canter, and we are going to wait for him to say he wants to do that.

so you need a sympathetic instructor, and her to want to do it. If she doesn't give her a break.

Booboostoo · 25/05/2013 17:57

She's very young, I'd leave, find her another hobby and see if she wants to come back to it later on.

However you have to be realistic and may have to accept that riding is a love it or hate it kind of sport and if she finds it frightening she just won't want to do it.

Floralnomad · 25/05/2013 18:32

My daughter was having private lessons when she had her fall so I don't think that always makes the difference ,she was happy to get back on and do walk/trot but wasn't keen IYSWIM . We stopped having lessons and just pottered on our pony for a bit but TBH it felt like it was more for my benefit than hers in the end so I stopped taking her . Secretly I'm quite happy that neither of my children were interested as I would have ended up with numerous ponies ( we don't sell on) ,and my husband was delighted !

WocketInMyPocket · 25/05/2013 21:35

Thanks everyone - some great advice here. Well, we talked about having a private lesson/hack and she seemed quite keen on that so have booked it and see how it goes. If she still doesn't like it after that I will call it a day for a while as you have all suggested (and will hide my disappointment :-) )

OP posts:
Pixel · 25/05/2013 21:52

I had to pretend I wasn't devastated at the time, but now I tease dd about what a disappointment she is (she's 17, she can take it Wink).

Meddlinkids · 25/05/2013 22:29

It all depends on the child. My DD is five and jumps and will get on anything.

She was born in the saddle though as we have our own livery yard Grin

stirrupleathers · 30/05/2013 07:12

Hi Wocketinmypocket we got a little pony on full loan for my daughter after numerous riding lessons which cost a fortune so as im a horsey mum we decided to get a pony so that i could teach her myself. All going really well until we went out for a hack pony spooked and she got scared and has not been on since. So her twin brother got on and now competes !! she sits in the car on her ipod when he rides !!! I have said that i just want her to get on once when she feels ready just to give it a little go as we have a different pony now !! so i feel your pain arghghg girls eh?

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