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Really missing riding but very nervous , advice please

20 replies

Blueskytoday · 10/03/2017 21:49

I had a pony growing up and loved riding, had no fear whatsoever, pony was very straight forward and easy to manage.
Since returning to riding as an adult after 20 years break I've become much more nervous. I'm 46 .
It also seems that a straight forward pony without any kind of issue is impossible to find.
I've had one fall where the horse did a massive cat leap over a fence and I went over his shoulder, no damage done but trip to hospital on spinal board pretty scary.
The second incident was trying a horse for sale who bolted , I came off, onto the road , twisted ankle.
After the second fall I came home and put all my riding gear in the bin to try and stop me wanting to ride again.
I feel really lucky that I escaped serious injury and think my fear is going to transmit to any horse that I ride and cause any horse to be spooky etc.
I feel like I've got a job, children etc, I can't risk being injured.
Thinking about it logically it seems crazy to want to ride again but I miss it, it's been a big part of my life.
But then I think of all the pleasure it brings, and I drive my car everyday, go on planes, ride a bike etc, all potentially dangerous!
Any thoughts or advice from you all would be great 💐

OP posts:
SteppingOnToes · 10/03/2017 22:00

They do exist - I've just sold one... They do however come with quite a price tag as they are like hens teeth and people are prepared to pay for safety (and even more if it has talent too)

OldLibrary · 10/03/2017 22:02

Try a horse.,? More choice, and more sane, in my experience

pinkmagic1 · 10/03/2017 22:06

What about some lessons/hacks on a riding school plod. Take it very easy to start with just walk and trot and then build up from there.
I had a nasty fall a few years ago where the horse I was on spooked, reared and spun. I was kicked on the way down and honestly thought I was paralysed for about 10 minutes. I found afterwards that short regular stints in the controlled environment of the school helped, gradually building up to short hacks. I also invested in a decent body protector which made me feel more confident.

5OBalesofHay · 10/03/2017 22:12

Try a native pony. I was where you are and my lovely fell mare looked after me. I am just a happy hacker these days though

lastqueenofscotland · 11/03/2017 15:32

If you are looking for something totally safe and sane and a schoolmaster who jumps etc with it you're looking at a pretty serious price tag.

They are out there they are not cheap.

Blueskytoday · 12/03/2017 12:43

Thanks for your thoughts everyone 💐

OP posts:
MortifiedinAsda · 12/03/2017 14:02

I could have written this. Im 45 and got diagnosed with a life limiting illness a year ago. I had gone back to lessons about 18 months ago after stopping riding when i was 11. I wanted a horse because i think life is short and i had kept putting off learning to ride again and then finally buying one of my own - its the best thing i ever did.

It took a few months to build up and start again but i finally got up to cantering and came off ( school horse spooked at a car backfiring on the other side of the school hedge ) It really knocked my confidence as i had only just started to learn to canter again.

We moved about 4 months ago to a place where we could keep horses at home and i was looking for a horse for me ( 1st horse which had to be pretty much bombproof and a plod ) it took months, we even bought one which was completely mis-sold, the dealer said you could put your granny on her but she was completely unsuitable for a novice so we sent her back.

Finally we found my mare. I spent 2.5 hours with her trying her out, grooming her and seeing if she was the horse for me, she was great, if a little lazy, likes an easy life and nothing too strenuous ( which is perfect for me ). Like the poster above said they are out there but they don't stay for sale 5 minutes and they do cost quite a lot. My girl was for sale for 1.5 hours before id made an appt to see her and the seller took the ad off as she had so many enquires.

We have a pony too, my small sons ride him - he can be pretty spirited ( loves a buck when going into canter ) luckily my sons dont canter ... yet! Try a horse, you might be more likely to find what you want then - a horse that is safe plus has a bit of a 'zing' isn't going to be easy to find but try and make sure you have a budget to just be able to go forward and buy them when the right one comes up?

Polkadotties · 12/03/2017 16:45

I got my first horse in September last year. He's a big 16.3 5 year old Irish draught, not your typical first horse but he has the kindest genuine temperament. He was a lot of money but so worth it.
I feel much safer with a big solid neck and shoulder in front of me.
Yes we've had green moments but I've never been scared of him.

Blueskytoday · 12/03/2017 19:14

Thanks for your your replies, I've been to Robinsons and bought some riding gear and a nice new hat. Feeling excited to get riding again, rather than scared so that's positive!
My sister has horses, she has an Arab, ex endurance gelding who I have ridden in the past but he is very powerful and too sharp and fast for me these days.
She also has a Welsh sec c 12.2 , she's said to potter round on him just to get my confidence back up.hes a very placid pony, bought for her 8 year old. I think I would be far too heavy and big for him, I'm 5 ft 5 and 9 half stone.

Trying to find a suitable horse is a minefield.

I don't mind if it's a horse or pony , more important is temperament, lack of issues, just straightforward and easy to do and ride.

My sisters just moved into a house with spare stables so that's really got me thinking again about getting one of my own.

I don't have a massive budget, what kind of money do you think I'd need ?

OP posts:
5OBalesofHay · 12/03/2017 21:22

Depends what you want. You'll get a lovely safe hacker for under £2.5k. If you want a bit of talent, suitable to compete etc then at least £4k. Probably a bit more.

Pennina · 13/03/2017 12:19

I sympatise but keep with it. I'm 53 and overweight so don't feel as balanced as I used to. I'm signing up to SW this week to get my weight down - my horse will appreciate it I'm sure!

I had a bad fall, then had 2 kids and just haven't had the time to ride that often. I'm a happy hacker (former polo player) these days, and have a light hack Hanovarian. He's a bit sharp for me but he's so kind I know he wouldn't do anything for "badness". The more I ride the better I am in terms of confidence.

My aim, once my weight is down is to buy a mother/daughter cob which will be bomb proof and that I can potter around on.

I don't think at 9 stone you'd be too heavy for the pony - does he have good "bone"? I think you'd be ok for just short rides.

Re getting a horse, check out Horses for Homes. I got my beautiful gelding from them and he's got a home for life with me as a light hack.


Rollingdinosaur · 13/03/2017 13:22

I think it is different riding in your 30's and 40's than it is when you are younger. I used to be completely fearless, with no thought of consequences. These days I am much more aware of what can go wrong, and the responsibilities I have, that I would struggle to manage if injured.

Have you thought about getting back into ownership gradually? Maybe try sharing or loaning first. Once you get back into it you may be more likely to hear about something suitable to buy, by word of mouth, which can be a good way of finding a decent horse. It is not easy to find a good one, it is a minefield, and people will tell some horrendous lies when selling horses unfortunately.

Blueskytoday · 14/03/2017 19:39

Thanks for your thoughts and sharing your experiences .

OP posts:
WellErrr · 14/03/2017 19:48

Speaking as a BHSAI with over 20 years experience - you can't go from a long break straight to buying.

It doesn't work. Plenty try it.....but it never works.

The reason is, that you're understandably nervous and not riding fit. Even a safe pony will pick up on this.

You need to go to a riding school for a few months first. Get your confidence, properly, then start to look. Go to a reputable dealer (I can recommend some) or find something through word of mouth.
Any vendor with sense or compassion won't sell to an adult coming back after a break and in the middle of a confidence crisis. I certainly wouldn't.

Riding is great fun and you can absolutely come back to it and enjoy it - but don't run before you can walk.


Blueskytoday · 14/03/2017 20:28

Wellerr, Thanks for that it makes sense.

I'm loathe to go to a riding school again, going round an indoor school is not my thing at all. Want I want to do is hack out, beach rides, fun rides, long term maybe low level endurance .

It's hugely expensive and the schools I've been to locally I've not been impressed with at all. Both the quality of the teaching and the horses. All hacking involves road work which I'm far too scared to contemplate.

There's a riding farm that looks more like I'd enjoy it, all the ponies are fells, the rides are on pack horse trails, no roads, very scenic.
The ponies must be very quiet, they do riding for people with additional needs and very young children .

We are going on holiday to Tenby soon and I'm going to book a beach ride, that's something I've always wanted to do!

OP posts:
WellErrr · 15/03/2017 07:21

It can be hard when the local RSs are expensive and dull, I agree!
What about the riding farm? Or how about trying to find a share with a quiet older horse?
Plus, now is the most expensive time to buy a horse. If you spend the summer building your confidence then you'll get much more for your money in autumn

happygardening · 15/03/2017 08:08

OP how about an intensive weeks holiday at a top riding school?
I had a 10+ year break (am middle aged)I started riding again last spring, I was a horse owner and a competent rider. I'm really lucky because I have one of the countries top riding schools on my doorstep training to FBHS (I can recommend it PM me if you want the details) so lessons are great, because the horses are top quality, the facilities are brilliant and also many of the instructors are current or ex top competition riders so the lessons are rarely boring. I wasn't ever overly nervous as someone previously involved in endurance/race horses but I did and do worry that if I fall off something will go snap and I didn't think I'd enjoy "going around an indoor school". But now I ride three or four times a week, I have even entered their unaffiliated dressage comps (in my past life I hated dressage) and have even won 1 and am now giving elementary a go next time. We went away a few weeks ago and I went riding with our friends DD it was an average riding school and if I'd started back somewhere like that I doubt I'd have lasted it a month.
Some private lessons would also be worth consodering they can make a big difference, it's inevitable that lessons are less boring and the instructor is only concentrating on you, you'll be able to work on specific areas and there's less chance to flop around so you'll be able to work on your confidence and riding fitness. I agree with Well don't get a horse until you've got more confident otherwise you could easily frighten yourself, invest in some really good lessons/intensive weeks tutition.

happygardening · 15/03/2017 08:16

Just to add if you think the lessons at your riding school are expensive have you seriously added up the cost of horse ownership? I can ride three times a week (private lessons with an ex Olympiad) and it would still cost me less than having a horse on their livery yard and that's just the day to day costs not including buying a horse tack rugs shoes worming insurance travelling to comps, lessons (still very important even if you own a horse and a must if your nervous) etc. I appreciate that you may not be paying for livery but horse owning is very expensive.

RatherBeRiding · 15/03/2017 14:49

Totally agree with WellErr. I had a really long break and went back into horse ownership after some decades out of the saddle. As a younger rider I rode racehorses in training and would ride absolutely anything. I had balance, core strength and no nerves to speak of.

Getting back into it again after a long break and children - very different story! I bought a totally unsuitable, very sharp competition pony who nearly destroyed my confidence. Fortunately I found some vestiges of horsewomanship from somewhere and had it out with the pony and never really looked back. 10 years later we still have her and she is my daughter's ride now. I (foolishly!) have a youngster - but he's a native type and pretty amenable although I do come off him from time to time.

If your hunt for a ploddy happy hacker doesn't succeed, how about looking for a horse share? There are - round here at any rate - any number of horse owners desperate for someone to help keep their horses exercised. It will get you back into the saddle without the commitment of ownership, or the fear of ending up with something totally unsuitable. And once you are within the local horse community again you may well hear of something suitable for sale. The best ones are sold through word of mouth. Personally I would never, ever buy one from someone I didn't know so that I could check out what the horse has done, where it's been, how it's performed etc.

happygardening · 15/03/2017 15:44

I think a horse share is a brilliant idea assuming you can find a suitable horse, perhaps someone with a semi retired horse who wants it hacked out? As RatherBeRiding says it's a no commitment way of getting back into the saddle, you'll hopefully find someone to hack out with which should help your nerves and get into the local "horse community". It will also hopefully enable you to work out exactly what sort of horse you would like, also the more you ride the better and quicker you'll get at assessing a horse which will help should you come to buy one in the future.

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