Hacking: nervous about tripping/stumbling

DD265

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2013
Messages
761
Visit site
We've been coming back into work after the better part of 5 years off and a few failed attempts in that time period. We're hacking out for 1hr15+ in walk. D can still be a little nappy (towards home) and a bit looky but he's improving and his walk is getting more active. He is also getting better in company (he's more likely to plant and sacrifice the other horse to the normally-not-threatening object) the more we go out. So I'm pleased with his progress.

Me on the other hand, I feel like my nerves are getting worse. We had a fall in October 2014 coming down a steep rocky bridleway - on a grassy level bit typically. He just went down on his knees then sideways, I didn't think I'd hit my head just my backside but had concussion for a fortnight etc. I did ride him down the bridleway afterwards (once or twice) but now I daren't. I get off, lead him down it, and get back on at the bottom. I'm trying to go a few strides further down each time but I don't think I'm ready, and I don't know how to make myself ready

Every time he trips or stumbles (which is not as frequent as I think if I'm totally honest) I panic. If I see a bit of ground that I think he might slip/trip/stumble over, I panic. Yesterday I was even panicking over a bit of downhill tarmac - not as steep as the tarmac we were already on! He's barefoot/booted so he has good grip. If he does stumble/trip it's either because he's not picking his feet up/paying attention to what he's doing. I'm working on slowing him down going down hill without feeling like he's struggling (as if I feel like he's struggling, I panic).

Ultimately I know that this fear is in my head, but how do I overcome it? The fear is HIM falling and US getting hurt, I think it's primarily fear for him though because after everything we've been through I know what another fall could mean for us.
 

Morgan123

Well-Known Member
Joined
2 January 2008
Messages
1,405
Visit site
Hello

hmm it sounds like you feel that you want help in you not panicking, rather than him not stumbling, right?? I'm assuming you tensing up is also quite unlikely to help him be steady on his feet.

If so, I kind of know what you mean, and visualisations really helped for me. What happens if you imagine going on some rough ground - you are imagining him falling? Are you actually able to imagine him dealing with it well?

I suddenly realised that the reason I was scared of jumping my horse because I literally could not imagine him going nicely over the jump. Instead my head was going: he will refuse, you will fall off, then you'll have to go to hospital and who will look after him, imagine if you're paralysed and maybe you'd have to give up your job, maybe if you were paralysed you'd have to break up with your bf because he has such an active lifestyle.... and so on' - I mean, my horse is not a reliable jumper, but that's a ridiculous amount of conjecture!!! And I'm not exaggerating either. but anyway. I figured that thinking this way probably was not going to be helping me jump and wouldn't improve on its own!

I started by just imagining what it would be like to jump him without an issue, and that was actually surprisingly tough. Then I did it more like proper visualisations, e.g. relaxing and imagining properly what it would FEEL like - how I would feel, how it would look to me, how we'd deal with problems, etc etc. When feeling more confident, I could approach the problem again but in situ, e.g. being around a jump on my horse and imagining how it would feel to jump properly - etc. I also found riding other horses helped because of not having the same history of drama. Nowadays, sometimes when I'm coming up to a scary jump and I'm thinking 'S*** that's huge I'm going to die', I do a quick visualisation of jumping it well even as I'm actually approaching the jump.

I also think general nervousness management techniques work, even if you're not actually a nervous rider generally (I'm not despite the above!! Just my horse and I have a bad history jumping!). For example, the one about Take five breaths, then name five things you can see, five things you can feel, five things you can hear and five things you can taste - then four of each, then three, etc. Those sorts of things are super helpful.

Hope that maybe helps a little bit - bit random!!
 

DD265

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2013
Messages
761
Visit site
That's really great advice thanks Morgan123. As I was reading it I was going "yep, umm, yes..." all the way through!
 

joulsey

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 December 2011
Messages
717
Visit site
I have no advice on your confidence or nervousness, but I would advise putting knee boots on your horse when hacking. I do this with any horse, regardless of if it has a history of tripping or not. Can save a lot of vet bills and a broken horse
 

DD265

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2013
Messages
761
Visit site
I have no advice on your confidence or nervousness, but I would advise putting knee boots on your horse when hacking. I do this with any horse, regardless of if it has a history of tripping or not. Can save a lot of vet bills and a broken horse

We do exactly that for the reasons you suggest!
 
Top