Exercises to build confidence under saddle?

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by noreins, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. noreins

    noreins Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,399
    Likes Received:
    475
    I posted about this last year then sort of disappeared, but I think I have a better understanding of what's going on mentally now so I'm looking for some advice.

    Part of riding horses means pretty much accepting the fact that you are going to eat dirt eventually. I've had more than my fair share and it never used to matter, I got right back on (unless I physically couldn't). Now it's turned into a pretty extreme fear. I do have pretty bad anxiety as well so it isn't even just a fear of coming off... It's a very detailed visualization of what may go wrong. Anyway, I've taken many many steps to keep things as safe as possible to try and allow the logical part of my brain to be in charge. I just wanted to explain a little to hopefully ward off any of the "just do it/ cowboy up" type of advice.

    So what I was hoping to find here is some help feeling more secure. Instead of trying just going crazy trying to avoid a spook or buck or whatever, I want to feel like I'm equipped to handle it. I guess I'm hoping someone has some good exercise ideas to build on that. I'm riding a still fairly new to me horse these days so I feel like I never know how he's going to react to anything. Groundwork ideas or light riding exercises that would help would be very much appreciated. :)

    Just to make sure I've covered this-
    I'm not a beginner
    I've recently started taking lessons when I can
    Ordered a helmet, should be here today
    Traded off my crazy mare for a young but laid back gelding
    I've had other people ride him so I could actually see that he's safe
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    33,586
    Likes Received:
    65,321
    Take lessons on steady Eddie horses. It's about ability to balance yourself no matter what the horse does and the ability to make the right decision, correct reactions when the horse acts up, that will diminish the horse's ability to get rid of you. :D

    If you can handle whatever the horse throws at you, that's what riding confidence is.
     
    bsaz and Cynical25 like this.
  3. noreins

    noreins Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,399
    Likes Received:
    475
    Right now my options are to take lessons on one of mine. Hooker never seems to be sound these days so the new guy is my go to. The trainer felt very confident he was what I needed at least :)

    And the trouble with this basing from my actual anxiety and not so much the horses themselves is I feel safer on a crazy but familiar horse than I do on a dead head but unfamiliar horse. So taking lessons on a lesson horse would set me back quite a bit. I know that won't make sense to most people.
     
  4. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    33,586
    Likes Received:
    65,321
    No, it doesn't make sense since the well trained lesson horse WILL ride for any level. If you can ride that horse as if he were intermediate level, there's your confidence.
     
  5. noreins

    noreins Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,399
    Likes Received:
    475
    This isn't a riding issue, this is a mental issue. I'm not sure how else to explain it? I have clinical anxiety that has leaked over into my horse life.

    Let me try like this... I've literally had horses my entire life. After I had my daughter I was nervous even leading them. Nothing happened to make me feel that way... anxiety isn't logical.

    Doesn't matter how broke and calm a horse is..If I don't know that horse, I have a panic attack even thinking about getting in the saddle.
     
    endurgirl likes this.
  6. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2016
    Messages:
    5,413
    Likes Received:
    10,590
    What helps me the most:
    Have someone hold your horse.
    Sit in your saddle, feet hanging loose (not in the stirrups)
    Close your eyes.
    Breathe in for a count of seven, hold the breath in for a count of seven, breathe out for a count of seven.
    Repeat a few times if you need to.
    Stretch down and touch your feet with each hand on the exhale, hold the position, breathe normally, sit up on the inhale.
    Lean back and touch the hips (or tail even, if you can) on the exhale, hold this position, breathe normally, sit back up on the inhale.
    Lean forward to touch the head (or whatever you can reach!) on the exhale, hold the position, breathe normally, sit back up with the inhale.
    Put your feet in the stirrups.

    RIDE LIKE A BOSS.
     
    noreins likes this.
  7. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2010
    Messages:
    33,586
    Likes Received:
    65,321
    Well then, if riding enough horses to build up your confidence doesn't work, and your anxiety meds don't help, why do you want to ride?
     
  8. noreins

    noreins Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,399
    Likes Received:
    475
    I need to remember to try this when I have a helper around. Thank you!

    I'm not currently on my anxiety meds since they aren't safe while breastfeeding. I don't know how to tell you WHY I want to ride. It's been part of who I am for as far back as I can remember. If I gave up on everything I have anxiety over I'd never move off the couch. I know that with some work I can enjoy it again.

    And riding DOES build my confidence back up, I've made a lot of progress over the past few months. I'm asking how to work towards accepting a very specific aspect of riding.. or maybe how to better prepare myself would be a better way to explain that. I simply said riding someone else's horse isn't going to help me right now. Once I can ride mine, that's my next hurdle.
     
  9. Dona Worry

    Dona Worry Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2016
    Messages:
    5,413
    Likes Received:
    10,590
    . . . I don't think you understand how this works.
     
  10. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Messages:
    11,000
    Likes Received:
    32,391
    You should count yourself glad that you don't know the answer to that Manes. I totally understand, it is not a logical thing, fear is a strange and very personal thing, but being a fellow sufferer I get the war in your head over the want to ride and the fear.

    A great coach is your biggest asset, mine has been fantastic, but for a start if you are on Facebook I highly recommend joining the Riding Fear Free group. It started as a support for a book with the same name, I never got around to the book, I was further along my journey when I joined, but it has helped a lot of people. Hang in there, you can get through this
     

Share This Page