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Thread: from Armchair Rider to Horse Rider...how?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Canada, west coast
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    Default from Armchair Rider to Horse Rider...how?

    First time writing here. Been a 'reader' for sometime now. I have a highland pony and Connemara cross in my back yard. Both safe and suitable. I look after them and organize loans with them but never get around to riding myself. I'm getting older (60) and I really need to return to it or I won't . I keep making excuses and find barn chores to do rather than ride.
    I rode a lot as a junior,was pony club and show mom when kids were growing up. When they moved awayto Uni.and jobs,I bought myself a very safe non spooky 15.1 Connemara and recently a HiPo to keep the other company and be the 'guest horse'.
    I'm totally horse crazy and do everything for them but the riding.... Guess I'm nervous of a fall....How did you all restart? We're any of you mentally paralysed to get back into the saddle?
    Suggestions to over come procrastination would be so appreciated.
    Thank you
    Last edited by Villager; 30-11-2011 at 08:06. Reason: Title needs correction

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2,383

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    Hi - I returned to riding at 59 after a gap of 15 years. You can read my story in the link in my signature, but I started again at a riding school on a quiet horse in the manege and found that everything I was taught so many years ago was now all wrong! After the first lesson, nothing could stop me and after a few months I bought my own first horse.

    Don't worry about falling - it will probably happen at some point, but worrying won't help!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Maybe get yourself an understanding RI.

    The best way I have found to getting people back into the saddle when they have this mental block is to set them tiny little goals to reach. So to start with tack up if that's as far as you feel you can go then untack again. If you feel you can sit then sit on them. Make sure you have someone with you to keep you chatting. Chatting is a very important part because it relaxes you.

    Only move onto walking with them when you feel comfy sat on them. Then move forward literally 2 steps. Then build that up to 5 and so on. Eventually working your way up to the pace you are most comfortable or want to be doing.

    Don't force yourself to do more than you are ready for because that won't help. Tiny little aims that should be easy to achieve and then only move on when you feel safe at that step.

    Good luck!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    12,320

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    hello

    Stop pressuring yourself, you dont have to get on your pony and *do* anything spectacular.
    Take it easy, and remember, if you dont want to ride and are happy just caring for your pony thats fine, riding isnt everything. But if you do want to ride again youre just going to have to get on and stop making excuses for yourself

    Try tacking up and just getting on board and sitting for a while, then get off and call it quits for the day. Then do it again the next day. And when youre bored with that and you feel like you can walk for a little while, do that.

    Can you get someone to stand at the ponies head so s/he cant do anything you might feel unsafe with?

    Tack up and get on board for a sit every day, so you cant avoid it, make it one of your 'chores' if you like. Hopefully soon you will feel comfortable again and want to have a toddle around, and build it from there. But you dont need to jump on board and be all singing and dancing immediately. No rush
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  5. #5
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    ah, what lil legs said while I was typing that ^^
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  6. #6
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    Welcome to the boards As others have said, take it steady and set yourself little goals to achieve. If you've got a flat bit of field that you can ride in, then my recommendation is to find a good, sympathetic riding instructor who will come out to you - it will keep you and your pony in a familiar comfort zone and will hopefully help you feel a bit more relaxed. Get a friend to come over for moral support if you need to, and take everything slow and steady.

    I will bet that once you're on board, you'll probably feel quite happy to have a little walk under supervision, but getting on is the first big hurdle to overcome. Chat about anything and everything if you find you're getting a little nervous (I once went to a clinic for my nerves and the trainer had me talking about how far we'd travelled and what my job was - anything except for the task at hand to keep my mind off what I was doing!). Sing if you like! Talking and singing ensures that your breathing is natural and steady, and ensures you're getting enough oxygen, which helps keep your brain from sending out adrenaline and other chemicals that create anxiety and nervousness, which can then create scents that your pony can pick up on.

    Remember to congratulate yourself regularly - even getting in the saddle is going to be cause for celebration!

    And don't forget - we love photos!
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  7. #7
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    Oct 2009
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    Remember to congratulate yourself regularly - even getting in the saddle is going to be cause for celebration!
    Oh and remember to breathe! Breathing is good

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Canada, west coast
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    Thank you all for your encouragement. Christmas and New Years has come and gone, just sending the last of my grown up family off and then I will saddle up, hand walk the pony over to the riding club and mount and ride at a walk around the track.....perhaps add a trot if I'm feeling pony is having a 'steady eddy' day. Small steps is exactly what I will aim for....will tune in after my first hack....Happy New Years everyone.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    east mids
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    hi - as someone who has had very variable confidence levels in the past, i echo others advice re small steps
    i also found the boredom technique very useful - basically, when you first ride only allow yourself to walk, a few days/weeks of that & then when you are truly bored move up to trot & the the same technique from trot to canter
    good luck with it all
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Hi and welcome.
    I have no advice to offer as agree with what all the others have said. Start slowly, and set small goals.
    Hope you enjoyed your New Year ride if you managed it, and as has been said, we love photos

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