New rider

Joined
22 January 2019
Messages
5
Hi all, hopefully posting in the right spot. I’ve been riding for a little over a year, once a week. I also suffer from anxiety, it was a massive struggle to get started and I still struggle each week when it comes up to my lesson( once I’m at the yard I’m fine but the anticipation of the lesson wrecks my nerves). It means on occasion I miss out on my lessons because I end up talking my self out of going. I guess I’m just looking a bit of reassurance that missing the occasional lesson isn’t a big deal, my anxiety tells me I’m the worst rider ever for missing them which then impacts on my confidence at the lessons despite my obvious improvements since my first lesson. Also if anyone has any advice on dealing with lesson anxiety that’s also appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 
Joined
14 November 2018
Messages
13
Hi Lauren! If you miss a lesson, it does not make you the worst rider ever! However, I do think it’s important to establish what is making you anxious and then working on that? Is it one thing in particular?

I think some nerves are a good thing - it shows that you care!
 

Starzaan

Well-Known Member
Joined
20 January 2010
Messages
2,906
Hello - welcome to the forum and the wonderful world of horses!

May I ask what it is that you're getting anxious about? That will help me answer. There is no need to worry about missing lessons. I used to teach people who would come sporadically and only actually have a lesson maybe once every two months. It will definitely slow your progress down, but it isn't a problem at all.
 
Joined
15 December 2016
Messages
109
I think it just takes time. Riding once a week for a year ( and also some weeks not) is not long at all. I have never been a confident rider and used to have butterflies every time I tacked up my pony . One day I realised I was no longer worried but it probably took me a year of riding 5 times a week to get there. Is there the opportunity to go more often as this may help your confidence. Also set your self small goals and discuss these with your instructor. Don't be afraid to let them know you are anxious - a good instructor should help you with this. There are a lot of instructors who specialise in anxious /nervous riders - there are a lot of us and even usually confident riders can have periods of anxious "I can't ride" wobbles!
Remember most people would never get on a horse at all so the fact you do is a great achievement.
it may help if you could just spend more time around horses - is there the option to do some helping out at your riding school or help at a local RDA centre or rescue centre.
Good luck and I hope you continue with your riding and get a lot of enjoyment from it.
 
Joined
22 January 2019
Messages
5
I suffer from generalised anxiety so literally random things make me anxious, I’m not particularly anxious when on the horse and have no problem with pushing my limits and comfort on higher jumps, new horses etc, I just have an awful habit of letting my anxiety talk me out of going ( it makes me feel sick to my stomach so it can be hard to push past when I feel like I might be sick). Unfortunately I have a full time job which makes it difficult for me to go more often however I am trying to fit in extra time whenever I can sort out a set working timetable so I know when I can and can’t ride. I just want to ensure that I’m not disadvantage for myself by missing a week here and there because I beat myself up then for missing one week because others in my lesson never seem to miss however they are younger than me and not in work so the possibly have more free time and probably more horse experience and confidence. Will look into getting involved with rda as there is one a stones throw from my house.
 
Joined
22 January 2019
Messages
5
I want to be good at it, I just think sometimes I place a lot of pressure on myself to be better than I am which then in turn makes me anxious about going in case I’m not actually that good. Vicious cycle I suppose, can’t get better if I don’t go.
 

HEM

Active Member
Joined
4 January 2018
Messages
150
Location
Essex/London
Hi Lauren, welcome!

I suffered quite a bit with anxiety a few months ago where it was making me sick too so I understand completely what you are going through! I also coach young adults and children gymnastics and see a lot of nerves in them when at competitions.

Honestly there is no reason to feel worried about missing a lesson. You are doing this for you and no one else and that's what you have to remember. Pressure is the biggest cause for anxiety and nerves and once you take that pressure away it really eases the stress and simple things become easy again. I agree with the above about it taking time but you need to be selfish with it and not force yourself.

If you don't feel up to going don't go... and don't worry about what people are thinking/saying, you will never know what people are saying about you so don't dwell on it! If you are feeling nervous push yourself, 80% of what we do is mental, tell your self you are the dogs boll*cks and believe it when you say it! It's amazing what you can do when you think you can do it! (I've seen a lot of kids tell me they can do a skill which I don't even think they are close to being able to do but because they believe in themselves they can!)

The best advice I can give is to just breath, relax, take that pressure away and remember you are paying to do this because you enjoy it not because someone is paying you to!!

**sorry for the long post just seen this situation a lot in the past!
 

Rumtytum

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 November 2017
Messages
627
I've been riding just over two years and still get butterflies before and on the drive to the riding school. They are getting smaller but still there :oops:. Like you, once I'm physically on the yard/horse I'm fine. It's weird but I just accept it, and if the pre-lesson nerves are escalating I physically DO something - anything- to take my mind away, and it usually works. Worst thing is to sit and let negative feelings take over, that's when the temptation to cancel could win. Good luck!
 

Surbie

Active Member
Joined
27 July 2017
Messages
596
I was nervous/scared about getting on my spooky horse in high winds because that's when he is the most flighty and at the beginning I only had plasticine instead of muscles. I was very scared about falling off mid-spook until I did and it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.

The best thing I was told was to turn the emotion around, if you can before it really takes hold. If I interpreted being worried and nervous into being excited it made the BIGGEST difference to me and to my riding. Laughing also helped me - you might not want to try this in a group lesson situation! ;)

Neither of these might work for you - it depends on what it is that is making you worried.

Missing a lesson here and there won't make you worse. And comparing with other people's riding feels a bit pointless because they aren't you and you never know, they may be battling with their own issues.

I hope you find something that works for you. Do let us know when you do, it might well help someone.
 
Joined
23 July 2018
Messages
20
Some great advice there.
One thing I'd suggest... It might make a difference, might not but worth a shot. Do you have any opportunity to visit the yard to spend some quiet time with your favourite horse? Time without an actual lesson. Perhaps building a bond with the horse, and requesting them for your future lessons will help alleviate some anxiety by putting you more at eases and tipping the scales in the direction of popping up to visit a buddy.
From personal experience I was overhorsed at a yard years ago and they kept insisting he was the right horse for me to be riding. I used to dread going for lessons until I spent some time on the ground with him, got to lunge him and build a bond. We ended up getting on famously.
 

Rumtytum

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 November 2017
Messages
627
Agree wholeheartedly with thommackintosh! After my lesson I have an hour in the stable with 'my' horse, grooming, massaging, just being with him. Our quiet time is as good if not better than the lesson and a great calmer of nerves. We definitely have a bond now and I love him to bits.
 
Joined
5 January 2015
Messages
66
As a fellow anxiety suffered, my tips are:

- Avoid drinking coffee the day of the lesson!

- I say to my instructor if riding a horse that I’m not 100% confident on that I will only canter/jump if I feel comfortable - I almost always do but giving myself permission not to makes me feel less nervous.

- telling my instructor about the anxiety helps (only works if you have a sympathetic instructor though). As soon as I say the words the anxiety start to disappear....

I do find myself thinking about cancelling every week, the reason I don’t is that I KNOW how much riding and being around the horses helps with my anxiety overall- once I’ve ridden I’m so much more relaxed.
 
Joined
20 December 2017
Messages
39
A technique my therapist gave me for when the thoughts start happening, is to visualize the word STOP in what ever format works for you (I think of a red Stop sign) and then use a kind voice to reassure myself. So for example, today I was also feeling anxious about my lesson (you're rubbish, your coach doesn't like you, you're going to make a stupid mistake) I thought the word STOP and my kind voice re-assured me and reminded me how much I love my lesson.

Apparently this helps re-train your thought pathways, and while the thoughts may never entirely go away, my therapist assures me it does make changes. I have been using this process for about a month, and I have felt a difference.
 
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