Shaking before going for a ride...

Discussion in 'Horse Chat' started by Wild at Heart, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Wild at Heart

    Wild at Heart Full Member

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    Hey guys. So I just have a small question.

    I was just wondering if any of you have ever experienced shaking before going for a ride and if so, what do you do about it?

    One thing I've come to realize is that before going for a ride, I start shaking. I'll physically shake enough that I can't keep my hands steady and this will last for 30 seconds to maybe 2 minutes or so. I don't have to be even out of the house yet for this to start. The horses are in my backyard since I live on a farm, so it's not like I have far to go, but as soon as I've decided to go out for a ride, I'll start shaking.

    I don't shake every time I go to ride horses though. If I go for a lesson on someone else's horse, I typically won't do any shaking. However, when it comes to my own horse or one I'm taking care of, then I'll get the shakes before I go for a ride. It's not from excitement, and I don't think it's from fear as I've not had any accidents or bad experiences with the mare I currently have.


    I suppose there's a slight chance it is from fear.
    It would be left over from an experience I had 4 years ago where the horse I was riding at the time though. She was my first horse, green broke, and had a very sassy temperament. Her personality and mine actually clashed quite a bit so after owning her for a year, I sold her to a home where she fit in better since she was just not meant for me.

    However, during the time I had her, there was one time where she tripped over her own feet and we fell to the ground with her landing on one of my legs and I ended up getting taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Honestly, it doesn't really feel like that phases me too much since it was an accident and no horse would purposefully fall.

    The part the fear is from, I think, is the emotions she brought out of me. In general, I'm a very laid back person and rarely get mad. Like, maybe once a year I'll get mad. But with that horse I had back then, by the end of the year, I wouldn't even ride her because after a few minutes into the ride, I'd get upset. She was green so of course she wasn't perfect, but I didn't expect perfection. But the things she did know, she still worked against me most of the time. I don't remember exact details since it's been a few years but I would get so mad that I wanted to just beat her like crazy which is something I've never felt before and honestly scared me that I even felt that. I never did hit her and made sure we did always end on a good note, but I did stop riding her the last two months I had her simply because I didn't like feeling that way, and it wasn't healthy for me to try riding her when feeling like that since she feels it too. Hence why I sold her to someone she got along better with.

    And I suppose after that, I'm scared of feeling that again. I love horses and have had some amazing experiences with them. I don't want to feel that again. So far, I haven't, but I think that's still kind of lingering for whenever I have horse I'm going to ride that's my own. I have grown and learnt more since that time

    So ya, any recommendations on how to get over shaking or getting ride of any type of fear would be appreciated. Thanks, and hope you all have a great day.
     
  2. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

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    Sounds like adrenaline/anxiety.
     
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  3. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    When I turned 40 years old, one of the first things I did was break my back in a fall from a hot TB mare. It was the first time I'd ever been badly hurt, after a lifetime of riding very hard and taking a lot of risks.

    When I was able to ride again, I discovered that I was nervous and tense as soon as I started thinking about it. I'd never been remotely nervous about riding and it ticked me off but it also concerned me because I knew I was communicating all of that to my horse.

    With stuff like this, you have to train your brain to expect things to go right. It's like when you load a horse on the trailer - if you just expect the horse to load, 9 times out of 10 he'll walk right on. But if you have doubts about whether he'll load, he'll read those doubts in all your subtle body language and he won't go on for love or money. Because you're telling him that he won't.

    Try visualization. Relaxed breathing and focusing on how positive your ride is going to be. Really walk through it and visualize it as a perfect ride. With horses, when you expect things to work, they tend to. Because the horse feels everything you're putting out.

    That's what has worked for me. That and time. The more good rides you have, the less fear.
     
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  4. billz

    billz Full Member

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    Sounds like anxiety overload. You'll need to do a little soul searching to be certain and I've discovered that a lot of people are not very truthful to themselves. Knowing the truth is hard for people; admitting it to yourself is even harder.

    I will confess here that I have some fear and anxiety when riding and I know that my horse can sense this in me. I'm still learning every day and I have a huge fear of falling off, especially when cantering. I have learned to increase my sense of awareness and am learning to relax more when I feel the tension creep into my body. I have come off my horse a few times and have been lucky to not have been injured. It's tough and I'm still fighting with myself to overcome my fears. I believe this is very normal in everyone.

    You're on the right path because you've verbalized the issue and are looking resolution.

    Let's ride!
     
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  5. jojozwiebel

    jojozwiebel Senior Member+

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    Maybe take a break from riding and work on teaching yourself and the horse something new? Showmanship, line driving, and trick training would all be fun.

    I personally really enjoy showmanship with my horse and driving my donkey.
     
  6. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Probably just anxiety and maybe adrenaline. There are breathing exercises you can do to knock it away. Google (I think it's called) 4-7-8 breathing exercises and practice this, do them about a half hour or so before. It will help a lot.
     
  7. MzCarol

    MzCarol Senior Member

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    As stated above, you have to 'train your brain'. I'm working on that right now.

    Back in Sept '18 I was with my husband doing an outside obstacle course through a park. One of the challenges was to pass an Amish buggy. When Ayah gets upset I ask her to stand still because I don't want to inadvertently teach her to bolt from things she isn't happy with. She was prancing in place as the buggy approached and then finally she reached her limit and went to turn - not bolt but just turn the other way. She did it quickly and the grass was wet. Her turn threw me off balance to the outside and we both ended up going down - her on my right leg. She got up gently and stood there waiting for me like a good girl. I'm soooo fortunate that the ground was soft because otherwise she would have broken my leg. I also landed on my right shoulder and I've had issues with it ever since. That was my first involuntary dismount in - yes - over 30 years of riding.

    Flash forward to now. I've been working with Ayah all winter to get her strong and fit - and teach us both how to jump. I love my trainer - she gets the 'older rider' issues that younger people don't have due to the invincibility thought process.

    Sometimes I get the worst mental blocks and then I get really frustrated and angry at myself. Where did that 17yr old girl go that used to hop on a frantic pony and go ripping bareback and helmetless across a 4200 acre ranch like her butt was on fire???? Where did she go?!?!?! Yes, it would be smarter for me to be riding a been there done that jumper to learn on and build my confidence, but I'm riding the horse I've raised.

    Long story short......truthfully, I pray before each ride. I ask for protection for both Ayah and myself as well as cool heads and willing bodies for both of us. I'm a faith-based person so this is a comfortable thing for me. I won't say it takes all of the anxiety away, but it definitely puts my head in the good place and things always go better. I also whisper, as much to her as to myself....."Be Brave"
     
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  8. Friesiangirl

    Friesiangirl Senior Member

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    It definitely sounds like anxiety. Anxiety shows up in so many different ways.

    Do you feel the same on the ground? Do you feel the same with other horses?

    I went through this for a period of time. What helped was just slowly working to have small wins, over and over, for a period of time. I ultimately also purchase a horse I felt was a better fit for me, even if she's younger and has some of her own unpredictability, she just was the "right" kind of horse for me, where I am, in my life right now.

    Be gentle on yourself.
     
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  9. ChestersMomma

    ChestersMomma Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Your situation sort of sounds like anxiety, but here is my experience... I shake after I ride. I've been riding the same horse for 16 years now. It's 100% not anxiety or fear related and it doesn't happen until I'm on my way home no matter how long I linger at the barn afterward. It happens in my legs almost exclusively, and they basically vibrate. This does not happen to me after any other form of exercise.
     
  10. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    Whatever works for you. Idk if praying helps everyone, but it couldn't hurt. To be honest, the breathing exercises center your brain. They lower your blood pressure etc and help you focus that I posted above. Maybe a bit of both might help.

    Edited added - sorry MzCarol, I thought you were the op for some reason. :confused:
     
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