How do I get back on??

Joined
5 June 2016
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9
Had an unlucky couple of weeks riding :(

I fell off a few weeks ago when the horse spooked and bucked me off - and landed right on my head! I didn’t lose consciousness or feel dizzy so assumed I was ok (and got back on, cantered both reins etc), but actually ended up feeling a bit ‘foggy’ for the next few days so think I may have had a mild concussion - eek! Plus was more sore and stiff than I’d ever been from a fall, so all in all wasn’t a great experience.

Yesterday I was supposed to have a confidence building lesson off the back of the first fall - ha! Working on the lunge with no stirrups and no reins (on different horse) who spooked one way - and I toppled off the other way! Shouldn’t have been a bad fall but had this explosion of pain across my lower back which was terrifying.

I’ve got lower back issues (not aggravated by riding) anyway so ended up being sent to A&E where they took it extremely seriously and checked for all sorts of damage. Luckily nothing broken, but I’ve been sent away with three different types of painkillers and told it will be incredibly sore for at least a week.

I’m currently absolutely terrified at the thought of getting back on. It seems slightly irrational because I know I wasn’t seriously hurt in either fall, but all I can think of was shaking and crying in a corridor at A&E thinking that I might have done permanent damage to my back. When I shut my eyes I just relive both falls.

What can I do?? Am I being completely irrational and need to buck up??
 
Joined
30 May 2018
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15
Not irrational at all - I think we’ve all been there!

Follow the age old adage to get straight back on the horse. Could you find an absolutely bomb proof horse to borrow, and just walk around for a little bit? You might need to build your confidence back progressively, rather than going straight back to full lessons.
 

Shay

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17 August 2008
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It is really hard - especially as you get older. I broke my back when my horse and I fell together (not his fault in any way). It was months before I could walk again and the idea of getting back up on a horse was both my entire goal and the most terrifying thing. I had a young child at the time and was the sole wage earner for our family so I felt pretty irresponsible stuck on that spinal board.

1st of all - replace your hat. 2nd -if you don't already have one look into a body protector and an air jacket. That will reduce the damage from most types of fall - it will also make you feel more confident and protected over your back. If your physio agrees you can get an elasticated mini corset strap / back support thing you can wear which will help support your lower back riding. Building better core works best - but as an interim it can ease some of the pain.

Then - take the pressure off yourself. I drove myself to get back on a horse. Partly because Doctors etc said I couldn't. But that drive in itself caused problems because you beat yourself up more over then being scared. So give yourself a break. If you don't want to get back on then don't. (Although the fact you have just spent probably £600 on kit to make you safe might add an impetus!) Starting on a lunge lesson might not have been the brightest idea - but a private session, in walk on a bomb proof pony with someone walking beside you will help. Working on the lunge means you can't get carted off with which is great to build confidence for faster paces again - but perhaps not without reins / stirrups for a while!

I did get back up - I rode my daughter's safe cob for the first time about 11 months after the accident. It took a long while but I am very glad I did it.
 

Pearlsasinger

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I suggest that you find a mechanical horse to have some lessons on, you need to build up your muscles, so that you don't topple off if the horse spooks. I would also be a bit miffed with the RS who put you on a horse that spooks on the lunge in a confidence building lesson. As above, build back up slowly.
 

Toby_Zaphod

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8 August 2005
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Many years ago my daughter had transferred from ponies to horses. She seemed alright, going well, she'd just bought a 2nd horse & we pushed to boat out & bought a lorry having decided it would be better with 2 horses than the trailer we had. She was jumping well, riding well then one day she went for a lesson & fell apart! She had a total loss of confidence. She couldn't jump a cross pole, she was in tears & we thought it was all over. The instructor/trainer was a GB veteran show jumper. She sat down with my daughter & has a chat & we left her to it at her request. The trainer later spoke to us & asked us to bring her to her home with the horse on Thursday evening & then leave her with her until Sunday. We were told she's be alright, don't phone her or anything. We did this & those 3 days seemed an eternity. We went back on Sunday & had just missed her last lesson but daughter took us to the arena & showed us what she's been doing. From not being able to jump a cross pole & falling apart she had finished off jumping a 1.20 course. We were astounded. The trainer told us she'd had issues years ago & just knew what to do so with chatting to my daughter & some training she totally rebuilt her confidence. In short you can rebuild confidence, with the help of a gifted trainer it can be done. Good Luck
 

vhf

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If you're reliving the falls when you close your eyes, it might be worth having a chat with someone who knows how to get you over that (or at least a good read somewhere). I think it's called something like "acute stress", and the practical upshot of that is that it's going to mess with your confidence long term if you don't address it, but should be perfectly sortable and will help massively with getting back on board.
You, I, everyone, knows that everyone falls off, and sometimes we get hurt. It isn't the logical part of your brain you need to have words with right now, so no, you're not being irrational and needing to buck up, you're being quite normal! But all the above advice from people applies regardless.
 

poiuytrewq

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Look at CBT it’s practically invented for people like you. A distraction technique is learned to help change the way you think, I think it would be especially helpful with the feelings of reliving the falls.
As much as you may not believe it time also helps, the memories will fade and it will get easier. I’m lucky in that I’ve never had a real confidence crisis, but I’ve had definite dints and I’m not generally the most over confident person at the best of times so wish you the best of luck x
 
Joined
5 June 2016
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9
Thanks so much everyone, this is really helpful and makes me feel less irrational. Think yesterday was just so scary that it’s coloured my view of riding, which will hopefully fade - wasn’t fun having to give a urine sample to check for internal bleeding!

Great idea on getting better kit. Stupidly, I have a body protector but haven’t worn it for ages - bought for a holiday with hacking and jumping and never got into the habit of wearing it for day to day riding. Will change that!

A friend has suggested taking a step back and doing groundwork might be a good idea. She has an instructor who comes once a month who is apparently fabulous, and I should be able to borrow a RS horse. Feels like a sidestep and allowing myself to be with horses but not pressured to ride might be a good tonic.

Might wait until I’m off diazepam though! :D
 
Joined
16 December 2016
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My jumping confidence was shot to bits after I had my children. I was riding an ISH that was too much for me at the time. Then went to a TB who was ok'ish but unreliable. Now I am on oversized connie..... a bit of a plank at times but a safe one. Never going to be a superstar. He has helped me get my confidence back in bucket loads. Word of warning from my experience.... at the start of needing some help building up my confidence I asked a very well known retired eventer would they give me some coaching at local XC schooling location (it something that they do). When I explained my issues their reply was 'you should give it up if you have lost your nerve'....because of their "status" it wrecked my head for years. I really took it to heart. Genuinely gutted. Luckily plenty of family and others encouraged me to keep trying. Now I place my trust in another person who gives clinics and is very genuine in wanting to improve you. So right horse and right trainer were key for me along with support from family.
 

Myloubylou

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I had nlp to help me with confidence issues jumping. Was very sceptical of it working but it helps the brain diminish the memory. Wouldn’t be jumping massive fences but 1st time I jumped after the session I remember thinking that’s tiny when before I’d be worried jumping a tiny cross pole.
 

dogatemysalad

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Are you riding at a riding school, because, if so, one accident is understandable, but a second one following shortly after the first, is worrying.
 
Joined
5 June 2016
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I had nlp to help me with confidence issues jumping. Was very sceptical of it working but it helps the brain diminish the memory. Wouldn’t be jumping massive fences but 1st time I jumped after the session I remember thinking that’s tiny when before I’d be worried jumping a tiny cross pole.
I haven’t heard of it - what’s NLP?
 
Joined
5 June 2016
Messages
9
Are you riding at a riding school, because, if so, one accident is understandable, but a second one following shortly after the first, is worrying.
I’m am indeed at a riding school - totally agree that it’s not a good look on paper. Both horses are livery horses I’ve ridden loads of times before and have always felt very confident on, so am marking it up to two unfortunate but random incidents, rather than a reflection on the school itself - if that makes sense?

The first fall could have been avoided - someone stopped to watch my lesson with their horse right next to the arena fence. Their horse jumped at something which made mine think there was something to be scared of. Combo of (perhaps? Maybe I’m being precious?) not ideal etiquette in having another horse right up against the fence, plus my overconfidence/stupidity in continuing to canter round and canter past the other horse. Hindsight is 20:20!
 

horsesense

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28 October 2008
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After your first fall you should not have been put on the lunge to restore confidence as that is a demanding lesson. You should have been put on their quietest horse, led around in walk and gradually allowed to do more as you felt ready. You need to spend quiet time on horses to gradually get your confidence back; it may take many hours if you've had a bad fright.
 

Rumtytum

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12 November 2017
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890
You've had two nasty falls in a short space of time, no wonder you are having issues.
So.... when you feel ready (and not till then) I'd book another lesson, this time on your RS's ploddiest plod (guess your RS has one) just to remember what it's like to feel safe and secure.
I rode a horse who sapped my confidence and a second bad fall left my nerves almost shattered. In desperation I saw a hypnotherapist who thought riding a horse was like riding a bicycle :rolleyes: so that was no help!
What did it for me was a rock solid Welsh sec D. I got on him and felt safe, my confidence (slowly) returned, and I'm now a happy rider.
Good luck!
 
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