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The tack room

Eventually have bought a horse after

102 replies

sykes · 09/02/2010 21:19

a very long time of looking and haven't owned for about four years although ridden a lot in those four years. Amazing manners on the ground but very young - too young, probably - and very forward going. I have a lot of help at a brilliant yard but my confidence is shot to bits. When I tried him out he was great but is SO different at home. Still a lovely man on the ground and I know he's a baby (four-years old, rising five) but I am getting everything out of proportion. I've had youngsters before and just seemed to get on with it, whereas now (post children) am a complete wimp. My instructor/the yard manager says my ability is fine but it's my mind set. She rides him beautifully - but she is an amazing rider - but I am getting more and more wound up and he just p's off with me which is making it all worse. I get tense, he gets tense, never (well, not so far) bucks but tends to get very strong and I react in exactly the wrong way. Help, please. Basically, I've done what I said I wouldn't - bought a youngster who is probably too much at this stage in my life but I so don't want to send him back as he's adorable. Sorry long post. If anyone is kind enough to reply I'll explain more.

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MitchyInge · 09/02/2010 22:11

will not be much help but wanted to offer moral support/listening ear

(we have a quite green 6yo and more and more I think have bitten off more than can chew, although it's great to watch more experienced people do good things with him I do feel a bit morose lately but am getting the £££ together to have him (re)schooled soon)

glad you have got lots of help and support with him at your yard, there are some v useful people here too so let it all out!

MitchyInge · 09/02/2010 22:11

PS CONGRATULATIONS

can we see pic?

sykes · 10/02/2010 10:25

Am just going to the yard - thanks for message - and am going to take it very gently. After my instructor has ridden him ..... will update. Also have pictures but am not sure how to download. Will ask one of my daughters later after school.

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iggypiggy · 10/02/2010 11:40

The problem with confidence is that once it is gone it takes ages to get back...

I lost my confidence on the horse before my current one - which meant I was a complete overreactor to every little thing he did - making him worse - and me petrified. In the end I gave him back (he was on loan) and bought myself a 5 yr old - (he's now 8 and a star). The thing is that my new horse isn't really any easier - he just suits me better - I don't mind his antis - I know his limits and I trust him. In fact I feel safer on him messing around than on the old horse behaving normally .

Anyway - all I'm saying is that you really need your confidence back. One way that helped me is to ride horses I feel safe on (not sure if this is an option for you?) which reminds me that I can ride and I love riding.

I'm not sure how often you are riding your horse - but I would say - the more the better - get to know his 'limits' so you know exactly what the 'worst' is that he does. Then make sure you are prepared for it - that might mean looking at what tack you use? Especially if you can find something that enables you to stop him p-ing off without being too harsh? Or maybe lunge before you ride? Anything that makes you feel better about getting on him? Because once you start to get that confidence back - you can move on a step?

Not sure if that helps?

Owls · 10/02/2010 12:33

Really good advice from Iggy. Not sure if you've heard of these cds?

I think they've certainly made a difference with my nerves - I'm still not brilliant but need to work on my seat now I've got a bit more confidence back.

Let us know how you get on today.

Oooh, congratulations on horse btw.

sykes · 10/02/2010 12:46

thanks v much. Am back, obviously .... didn't ride him but rode another horse who is very easy and had a good blast round the school which helped me enormously. I think it's very true, Iggy, I do need to know his limits. The last horse I rode a lot was a big warm blood who was spooky, nervy etc but it really didn't bother me as I knew just how far he'd go and was comfortable with that. The problem is I really don't know how far my horse will go. In reality it probably isn't that far but my nerves are shot to bits for some very stupid reason. My instructor says leave it for a week to ride him - ride a different horse until then and start afresh on Monday. She's schooling him and says he's going nicely but is forward going and a bit nervy since our mad gallop around the school. I didn't help his confidence, let alone mine. Thanks for all the messages and will look at those CDs. He is lunged before riding and I am looking at just taking it very slowly for the next few weeks - just walk, trot, work on transitions, if go into canter just a few strides, back to trot. Also to work on leg yields at some point so he doesn't dash off from the leg. And learn NOT to over react and jab him in the mouth when he does "go". I need to get him to work long and low in walk, trot and canter? Any other ideas would be VERY appreciated.

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iggypiggy · 10/02/2010 14:41

sykes I don't know what does it with confidence - but can sometimes not be much and I totally know what you mean about nerves being shot. The horse I rode used to random gallop across the area and set his jaw so there was no way of stopping. He did it with a few other people too - but I really started to doubt my ability and was miserable riding him.

Incidentally - i wasn't the only one scared of that horse - but equally it didn't bother some people - odd! Although the thing that really made me lose my confidence was him throwing me on the road - I think after that there was no way back.

Your intructor sounds great - ride the other horse and enjoy yourself. In fact the more different horses you can ride the better - I find riding a few (not an option for everyone!) makes you focus less on your own - and somehow dimishes the fear a little.

When I ride very lviely or forward horses I try to change direction often and keep their minds busy - seems to stop them thinking of naughty things to do - perhaps try that? Also lots of transitions are good - especially downward - eg, trot to halt (not sure what stage he is at with his schooling?).

Am sure others will also have fab advice.

sykes · 10/02/2010 16:28

Thanks, Iggy. His schooling is very basic but he drops into a really nice shape quite naturally. My instructor is also trying to focus on use of weight for transitions/aids which am sure will be very useful. I think I'm just being a big wuss and need to get out of this mindset. The advice re changing direction will help him and me as I find when I've got things to focus on that really helps. Thanks v much. Throwing on the road - cripes - indeed, NO WAY back after that. It happened to a friend of mine and she took a long time to recover from that. Thanks again.

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iggypiggy · 10/02/2010 16:40

sykes you aren't a wuss - confidence is so easy to lose - and does take time to get back. But it can be done and I'm sure you'll do it.

yes - road falls are scary, and I didn't hack alone again on that horse after that. The car that spooked him (irrationally - as others had been fine) didn't even stop to see if I was ok - nice! Luckily I still had hold of the reins and could get on again. But that's another story!

sykes · 10/02/2010 16:45

Roads are a nightmare. To hack out from where he is is down a very busy road, only for a few minutes but am really not looking forward to it. However, my wonderfully kind instructor says she'll take him out first for me and I'll go on a different horse. I fell on the road years ago - horse just slipped from underneath me. The horrid thing was he landed on me and my leg was squashed underneath. No one stopped then but I did have a friend with me who managed to throw me back on. Had to have my boot cut off me as my leg swelled to the size of a balloon. Happy memories .... I do wonder why I ride sometimes. Thanks again. Not sure I'd have got back on if I'd been you, though. He sounds like a nightmare.

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iggypiggy · 11/02/2010 15:11

I hurt my ankle falling on the road (just bruised - not broken) and didn't think I could limp home - so riding back was only option! I would have led him if I was nearer home!

Isn't it odd that car drivers don't stop to see if people fallen off are ok?! Your expereince sounds horrid.

Good luck with your horse - let us know how you get on!

dooit · 12/02/2010 21:23

DD struggles with her confidence a bit sometimes. I think it's partly due to her size (or lack of,at 5ft nothing) and our horses size (only 15.2 but built like a brick shit house!). She's very aware of the potential for things to go horribly wrong if he put his mind to it, although to date he never has.

DD sometimes becomes very tense and Leo is very sensitive to this. He picks up her tension through the reins and worries himself so in turn becomes more jumpy and inclined to spook, whereas, although I'm technically a poorer rider, I don't worry, so he stays relaxed and we don't have issues with spooking at all.

DDs instructor is always telling her to "whoa, give" with the reins. Just squeeze the reins with a firm but gentle pressure whenever she feels him become strong at all but release the pressure instantly so he has nothing to pull or to fight against. It has the double benefit of giving DD something to concentrate on without becoming rigid and tense through her arms and hands and it helps Leo to relax and drop his head into a nice relaxed contact.They can't fight you if you don't fight back. DD sometimes says to herself "whoa, give, whoa,give" with each step of whatever pace they're in to remind herself. It such a small thing but has helped her a lot.

pandora69 · 12/02/2010 22:54

For anyone struggling with brakes, have you seen this lot?

MitchyInge · 13/02/2010 09:38

team chasing in headcollars (at the bottom)

I want to do that!

Pixel · 13/02/2010 12:52

I saw that in Horse and Hound, there was also a man who spent a day hunting without a bridle to raise money for Help for Heroes!

oldernowiser · 13/02/2010 14:15

They are all mad, and I am jealous of their bottle and ability

I am such a big baby with my confidence at the moment, so I can totally relate to your problem Sykes.

I think it just comes down to trusting your instructor, taking time and setting yourself small achievable goals. You sound like you're doing fine and are far less of a wuss than me.

I went out on the bridle paths on Thursday,(on a horse I've seen an 8 year old on!) just walk and trot, and came back totally elated, you'd think I'd won Badminton or something, I was so pleased with myself as I was so scared when my instructor said I was going out!

Keep us posted about how it's going

sykes · 14/02/2010 10:10

Thanks so much to every one. I am continuing to ride a different horse for next week as my instructor wants to install some more of the basics in my horse. He really doesn't seem to have very many at all. I am being a complete wuss but am hoping this is very much a long-term relationship so it doesn't really matter if I don't ride him for a few weeks. Strangely, I'm riding the other horse much better than I ever did, according to my instructor, and it does feel like that which is weird. Am still going up to see my horse, groom him and do work on the ground with him. Free schooling and just walking him around in the school and over poles etc. My instructor thinks he needs desensitising - so we all have to be quite noisy and not too cautious around him. I was schooling the different horse when my instructor was riding my horse and he did look very nice but took for ever to settle. I'll keep you posted and fingers crossed. Thanks once again and am intrigued by the web link.

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MitchyInge · 14/02/2010 10:36

glad to hear things are going well, there really is no rush is there? think it is a v good idea to spend as many happy and productive hours in the saddle as possible, even or especially if saddle is on something else!

am still waiting for my happy positive feelings about new pony to seep back in

Pixel · 14/02/2010 19:16

Sykes, you are me! I've done exactly the same thing as you. Had my last pony from a very lively (well, ruined) youngster but just got on with it. Meant to get a safe old plod this time round (post dcs) but after a fruitless search fell in love with a just-backed youngster, reasoning that a nice unspoiled horse must be easier than my previous one, or an older one who'd learned every trick in the book (ie my sister's 20 yo).

Well he is lovely (also 4 rising 5), is as laid-back as his seller said he would be and has done nothing wrong but I'm petrified of him. I know there is no reason to be, and like you, I have an instructor who says I'm more than capable and it's all in my mind, but I'm just so tense and constantly expecting the worst. Luckily I don't seem to have ruined him as my friend rode him yesterday (first time he's been ridden since before Christmas) and he was a perfect angel.

Got a lesson booked for tomorrow to make me get on him as I really need to get a grip!

Owls · 15/02/2010 09:07

Good idea to ride a different horse for a while, Sykes. Am going to be doing the same thing next week, a lesson on the lunge on a schoolmaster so I can think about me.

Good luck with the lesson today Pixel, let us know how you get on.

sykes · 15/02/2010 12:22

Pixel - lots of luck. I've just come back from the yard and rode a different horse while mine was being schooled. He now stands while being mounted and his walk and trot look much better, canter still a bit unsettled at first but it's coming along. Of course, this is all with my instructor riding him ...... One more week and I intend to get back on. He really is SO sweet on the ground, though. Took my dds up and they groomed him, led him around etc and he really is incredibly kind and quiet. Apart from when it comes to bringing him in. He's in love with a mare. Hope every one is doing okay and thanks for all the support. Look forward to updates from others.

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Owls · 17/02/2010 16:44

Sounds positive Sykes. How did you get on with riding the other horse?

Pixel, how was your lesson?

sykes · 17/02/2010 16:56

Riding the other horse was great. Just back from the yard and had some "bonding" time grooming my horse. Back on Friday to bond further .... and ride the other horse. Hope all is well with you and Pixel - would love to know how your lesson went?

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Pixel · 17/02/2010 17:33

Hi all. Well I got on him which is the main thing! We had to take him out as we still have so much mud so it wasn't a 'lesson' as such. My instructor got on first as she still needs a mounting block (broke her leg a few months ago) and dhorse was quite forward to start with but not naughty and soon settled. He walks so fast we ended up going further than we meant to and so he saw his first train! He grew about a hand taller and quivered a bit when the barriers came up but he didn't move an inch, and was still calm enough for me to get on and ride him home so we were really pleased with him.

So anyway, I didn't actually do much but I feel much better for having got on him after so long (had built it all up in my mind again) and I was able to stay relaxed so all good. I even managed to let him have a loose rein which is something I really struggle with since I'm constantly expecting something to happen. Lol, you should have seen me trying to get on. By standing on the kerb I just about managed to get my foot in the stirrup but then at the crucial moment I slipped off the kerb so was forced to heave myself up in a very undignified way with my instructor hanging on to the other stirrup for dear life! I nearly didn't make it, I swear he's grown again since the last time I got on him.

Owls · 17/02/2010 17:41

Well done! Am full of admiration for the fact you mounted from the kerb personally. I would have to lower the stirrup leather so much would be impossible to swing other leg over.

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