Sarah, a very young girl who has been into horses for quite a few years now had a traumatic experience less than a year ago and said she would never ride her own horse again. Less than six months after her accidents, she not only started riding her own horse again, but also is taking her time and the steps necessary to truly rebuild her relationship with her horse.
Sarah had two traumatic falls back to back. Now this girl has fallen off before and can take it, however her second fall had an incident where a horse stepped on her leg and should have broken her bone. This left her feeling uncomfortable around horses, definitely not her confident self.
Thankfully, her family decided to move their horses to a new facility where they would have more room for them to run, an indoor arena, and many more amenities they needed to get back into the swing of things. Sarah, her older sister Laura, and their mom Kim all ride and genuinely love their horses, so it was sad to see Sarah down in the dumps over her falls.
The good news is Sarah has an instructor who is natural horsemanship based and took her back to the basics. Sarah was started back on an old, wise and gentle horse. She was able to build a relationship from the ground up and now rides with confidence on her own horse again.
As of now, Sarah is ready to show her own horse again. When he spooks she tells him to get back to business and focus on her. Because she had the opportunity to ride other horses with her trainer and her new riding team, she is now more thankful for her own horse than she ever was.
What can we take away from Sarah's experience?
Been There Done That
There is nothing wrong with taking a few steps back and regaining confidence, especially with a “been-there-done-that” type of horse. They are the best, and in fact, I recommend the use of them in these situations when you are learning how to feel for the answer you need from your own horse or if you have been stressed about something with your own horse and need a break.
Sarah’s horse is a 20-year-old, semi-retired Quarter Horse gelding named Zip. Zip knows his leads well, spooks seldom now, and most importantly, he knows when a rider needs to be taken care of and when he can push them. These are the horses you fight for and once you have them, you never let them go. If you have the opportunity to ride a Zip, or a Mr. Darcy, another horse who offers the same, then do it, and think about doing it often. Horses like this can remind you to take a step back, that you are queuing your horse properly, or that you are ready to take that next step because you can do it.
If you are having confidence issues with your horse or any horse, my best suggestion is to go back to the basics and rebuild your foundation of trust because without it, things crumble far too easily.