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Feeling nervous about riding during pandemic.

23 replies

Catsneezies · 30/12/2020 20:43

I am an experienced rider but now in my 40s with young children. In an area where local hospitals are rammed and covid rates are really high.

I'm about to sign the paperwork to loan a horse but am having second thoughts about riding during the pandemic. The horse is well behaved but as we know anything can happen with horses. I'm feeling really jumpy about increasing my risk of injury during a pandemic and whether I'm being irresponsible as the mother of young children. If anything were to happen I might not get medical attention in time.

On the other hand I'm been struggling with anxiety and I know that this will help massively.

I can't tell if I'm overthinking this as part of my anxiety or actually being irresponsible?

OP posts:
Pipandmum · 30/12/2020 20:59

I don't understand why a pandemic would make any difference? The risk is the same. Are emergency responses slower?

Catsneezies · 30/12/2020 21:21

Yes. 6 hours ambulance response time around here. Hospitals full.

OP posts:
Askinvillarblues · 30/12/2020 21:39

I don’t think you are being unreasonable. I know plenty of people are carrying on riding/jumping as normal but for me personally the risk is too high at the moment so I’m sticking to hacking on my sensible pony (as much as I’d love a blast cross country!). I stopped totally for a few weeks during the first lockdown, partly as the kids were all at home and I couldn’t get to the yard, but also because I didn’t want to risk an accident and need ambulance/hospital treatment when the NHS were under so much pressure anyway. But I didn’t judge friends who carried on riding - it’s very much a personal risk-assessment I think. But hopefully this lockdown will only be for a couple of months and we will be into spring and better weather by then anyway!

Honeyroar · 30/12/2020 21:44

I completely understand what you’re saying and agree, but I think that “low impact” riding isn’t too risky. Most equestrian teams injuries I’ve had have happened off the horse. However, some of my friends are here, there and everywhere doing clinics, competitions and lessons - I think that’s unnecessary and selfish personally, it can wait.

Honeyroar · 30/12/2020 21:45

Sorry- no idea how teams got into my post!

Jakey056 · 30/12/2020 21:48

I think everything has risk and being outside in the fesh air will be better for you than not riding. Both my kids ride and it has been a lifesaver in lockdown. Can you do flatwork or less risky work?
Maybe define what is risky to yourself?

Benjispruce2 · 30/12/2020 21:51

Not riding but cycling. Said the same to my DH this morning that perhaps cycling in the icy weather during a pandemic wasn’t a great idea and to my surprise he actually agreed. Yanbu.

Trivium4all · 30/12/2020 22:12

Remember, a risk assessment is about the severity of the risk, multiplied by the LIKELIHOOD of the risk. You need to be rational with yourself here (which I appreciate isn't easy about these things): if you thought the likelihood of an injury requiring an ambulance was actually high, considering you are being extra-thoughtful about this because of your kids, then you shouldn't ride at all, pandemic or no. So for the multiplier, on a scale of 1-5, you would still use a 1 (as in, unlikely). As for the severity, how much does an extra wait on the ambulance increase the severity, really? The potential severity of an equestrian injury is always really serious---with the likelihood being rather small (so, 5x1, =5, with or without pandemic. Which sort of shows how silly the fake maths of risk assessments are, really.). Viewed rationally, assuming you are competent, not over-horsed, and not taking silly risks, it's not reasonable not to ride. If you are REALLY worried, then you have to consider if the worry is primarily a product of your anxiety (in which case it still needs addressing, since we know how much your worries can affect your horse), or a product of a rational assessment of your risks (in which case you should question if this loan horse is the right one for you, pandemic or no pandemic). If you decide it's a product of anxiety, is there someone, like a trusted riding instructor, that can help build your confidence that you're competent with the horse? I'm trying to say, in a rather clumsy way, that I don't think the effects of the pandemic on your risk assessment are rational grounds for worry. If you like the horse and it makes you feel good to ride it, and you are comfortable with your confidence around the horse, then the extra risk of an ambulance wait isn't, in terms of just pure numbers, enough to justify not going for it. Do you have a trusted professional you can speak to, to seek reassurance?

Catsneezies · 30/12/2020 22:21

Thank you that's really helpful. I think having anxiety makes it really hard for me to do a rational risk assessment as I will always assume there is a higher risk than there really is, and have a lower appetite for risk than most people anyway.

I definitely think riding will help my anxiety. I could just never forgive myself if I did have an accident and leave my children without a Mum because of doing something just for me. Hmmm...maybe that is what I'm worrying about, am I being selfish?

The horse is sensible and I would only be hacking and doing a bit of flatwork. No jumping and no bombing around the countryside.

OP posts:
Catsneezies · 30/12/2020 22:23

I am having online CBT so not sure if this is something my therapist can help with, but I will ask, thanks.

OP posts:
JayAlfredPrufrock · 30/12/2020 22:26

Oh bless you. I’m sure riding will do you the world of good.

Stay safe.

Trivium4all · 31/12/2020 12:14

Try not to think that way (about being "selfish" to do something for yourself)! You too deserve to seek self-fulfilment and happiness! Otherwise what's the point? Yes, riding is a risk sport, but hacking and flatwork on a sensible horse is at the low end of the riding risk spectrum, and it sounds like it would do a lot for your mental (and physical) health! Also think, you'd be setting a great example for your kids, in terms of showing them how to care for an animal and treat it with respect.

I have a neck disc issue. I've been told I'm fine to ride, but should avoid falling off. Since I generally aim not to fall off, I'm cracking on with riding, and it's been a huge, huge help to me during the past year.

Stantons · 02/01/2021 17:36

Make sure your hat is up to date, get a good body protector and stick to steady basics good luck with the new pony

SnowmanDrinkingSnowballs · 02/01/2021 17:40

Go for it, be sensible but enjoy riding, I would in your place. Life is too short to sit at home worrying.

midnightstar66 · 03/01/2021 09:44

We acquired 2 share ponies during the first lockdown and tbh they have really made it for us. Getting out in the fresh air each day and having fun, building new skills etc. It's been a game changer. I'd not put it off. The hospital situation is temporary.

Snarfclamper · 03/01/2021 09:59

Hi op! My daughter is hacking and having X country lessons but I've chosen not to ride for now. (Being older and not in good shape after lockdown, I personally don't want to risk giving the emergency services more work!)

Instead I've been doing groundwork with our mother/daughter share (still wear a hat):and I've been thoroughly enjoying it and it is improving my horse's behaviour and responsiveness and my relationship with him. My daughter notices a big difference on top too.

I'm just about to sign up to Miri Hackett's groundwork course on Patreon as I've heard so many good things about it.

This may not what you want to be doing with a loan horse but it's really REALLY surprised me how rewarding and fascinating I am finding groundwork which done properly takes infinite patience and "being mindful" which in turn has really helped me with anxiety (used to have panic attacks).

Lurkingforawhile · 03/01/2021 12:50

Although if the worst happens (for example something like a broken wrist?) you might have to wait longer for an ambulance, I understand hospitals are very safe and there isn’t any reason you would catch COVID there if that was your concern? Does the stable have a school you can use? (Even indoor schools count as outdoors). When I was allowed in December I was having very sedate lessons inside, without even cantering when the horses hadn’t been worked for a few weeks. It was still lovely, and I worked on some skills in walk and trot. Good luck, I am very envious as I won’t be able to ride until they open up the schools for group lessons again.

SansaSnark · 10/01/2021 08:40

Are you sure that your loan horse is the right one for you? Obviously coming off is a risk with all horses, but it sounds like you need one you feel really safe on? Do you feel like you are at risk of being overhorsed?

I'm still riding during lockdown but just sedate hacks and low key schooling - I am trying to minimise the risk of falling off! My pony is sensible enough that I know these activities aren't too risky - I'm probably more at risk driving to the yard (which I have to do anyway for his care).

pinkhousesarebest · 16/01/2021 20:50

I’ve just come on here for some advice as I am terrified at the minute and considering stopping. I am now wondering if Covid is bringing this to a head. I have been riding for six years as an adult, now a fairly ancient one. I broke my wrist a year ago and that let the fear in and I can’t get past it.
How do you get past it? Really don’t want to have a horseless future. And I really understand what you said about feeling selfish OP.

Haggisfish · 17/01/2021 21:03

I’m riding but take it very easy-no cantering and only trot in the school. I’m getting a body protector as well.

Trivium4all · 17/01/2021 22:46


I’ve just come on here for some advice as I am terrified at the minute and considering stopping. I am now wondering if Covid is bringing this to a head. I have been riding for six years as an adult, now a fairly ancient one. I broke my wrist a year ago and that let the fear in and I can’t get past it.
How do you get past it? Really don’t want to have a horseless future. And I really understand what you said about feeling selfish OP.

Huge sympathy for you! A crisis of confidence isn't at all unusual, and it can take time to work through it. What's your horsey situation? Do you have a sympathetic instructor?
Ariela · 17/01/2021 22:51

Do a lot of groundwork with your new loan horse, get to know him/her first. Lots of grooming, and scratches, take him/her for a walk, get to know him better just from the ground. Can you do this before signing up? And maybe see if owner will ride or some breezy confident youngster can ride him/her first - and then, if you feel happy get on and ride. Either way, just spending a lot of time with new loan horse will help immensely with your mental well being.


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pinkhousesarebest · 19/01/2021 19:58

Trivium just lessons. Had been hacking with a friend but haven't in a while as they are fast little native ponies. I have been reading the thread and I think I will just walk/trot and take it easy. I have a wonderful coach who is easy to talk to.
So sorry for the hijack.

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