Utter loss of confidence - has anyone come out the other side?

Sticker

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 August 2010
Messages
65
Location
UK
I’m a regular poster here, but I know several HHOer’s in RL & I guess I just don’t want to admit how bad things have got :eek:

I’ve had two falls in the last year – one rotational XC, in which I broke my shoulder, & one from a client’s youngster, when he bronced riding out. I was hospitalised with a suspected broken back, before the MRI thankfully came back clear.

Since then, I just don’t seem to be able to recover my confidence. To the point where I just don’t enjoy riding any more and I’m making excuses not to 'have to' ride.

My own horse is a still a little green but honest. We’ve spent the last few months ‘focussing on dressage’, really because I’ve lost the nerve to do anything but flatwork. I’m still having weekly lessons with my trainer, which used to be the highlight of my week, but I’m struggling even with these.

It’s at the stage where I’m actually considering selling up. I never, ever thought it would come to this.

I realise this post may come across as self-indulgent & whingy – I do truly realise how lucky I am, to have my horse & my health. I work hard to keep her, and I really, really want to overcome this :(

Has anyone else come back from an utter loss of confidence? How did you do it?

Any thoughts at all would be really appreciated :eek:
 

BeckyX

Well-Known Member
Joined
28 March 2010
Messages
518
Location
Blue - lives at Arundel castle :D lushhhh,,, I liv
When i was 12 i went to my first pc camp on a pony i had never ridden before because Bracken had lamenitis (RIP xx) on my secon XC lesson someidiot lost control and galloped full pelt into me and star, well she was find but we rolled down the hill (yes i got crushed!!) woke up about 15seconds later in some thistles, i had bad concusion and felt very sore i was dragged of to hospital and drugged up then went home and threw up. Not pleasant! I went back the next day (did not ride!!) but my confidence was vanished, dressage comp i just cried as the pony dragged me round the arena!!.

But look at me and my pony now jumping at hickstead!!! Bracken was the one who built me up again bless his soul :( i miss him now but i am really trying so hard to remember the good times even though it hurts - he was the one who gave me the confidence i have now :) RIP boy xx

Ypu can get through this, really you can, building your confidence up wont be a quick thing (took me about 3 years and some nice ponies :) ) Just try to enjoy it again, if you really are not enjoying it then maybey take a break and come back too it?

Good luck with whatever you decide but seriously i think you will get your bounce back :D

PS - you don't sound whingy, you sound NORMAL :)
 

humblepie

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 February 2008
Messages
3,948
I lost my nerve for jumping a few years ago, nothing to do with falls but it just sort of gradually went. Used to do foxhunter/grade c etc, now a cross pole terrifies me but have changed very successfully to another discipline. Perhaps speaking with a sports physcologist (I can never spell the word) or someone along those lines may help or just go with the flatwork and gradually build back up. My current horse doesn't jump (which meant I got a superstar at a sensible price) but I do wonder if now with a confident horse I may start jumping again. Your situation is different and I hope someone more in your position can help. Separately though I did lose my nerve for hacking out after an accident (not serious but frightening) and with the right horse that has come back totally.
 

sally87

Well-Known Member
Joined
24 March 2009
Messages
533
hi

i have always had problems with my nerves although i never had such a bad experience as you (& judging by the fact this post is in CR probably wasnt riding to the same level as you either). there have been a few occasions where my nerves were so shot that i no longer enjoyed riding & seriously considered giving up & selling up & its probably only because i am a stubborn b****r that i didnt.

the first thing is riding is meant to be fun. if it is causing you so much stress that you hate it then it isnt worth it! however i suspect you are like me & have lost all confidence but still likes riding really, just the nerves are spoiling your enjoyment. if this is the case & riding is something you really want to do then you need to build up your confidence again. this means going right back to basics. doing what once you would have considered simple & easy things first.

how are you on a horse at walk? is this a challenge for you or is it only when the pace picks up that you experience nerves? see if you can go for a quiet walk hack or even just around the school. does this cause you anxiety? if so do it, then do it again. each time you do it & you find out you can do it with nothing bad happening, the next time will be easier. keep doing it until your anxiety is reduced then add in some trot or if riding out rather than in the school is a challenge add that in. keep doing the new challenge until your anxiety is reduced then add a new challenge & keep going like that.

it will take a long time & it will not be easy. however each time you do something it will get easier. if your horse is a bit green then can you maybe find someone to ride him for you & find a nice older sensible horse for you to build up your confidence on? then add your green horse as one of the challenges later on. if you have someone else riding him regularly then you can build up the amount you do on your horse gradually & decrease what you do on the sensible horse until you can do as much on each.

it can help to have someone to talk to & tell of your challenge schedule so you cant chicken out! remember to reward yourself when you achieve something no matter how small & dont punish yourself too much if you dont achieve something one day, tomorrow is another day & you can try again then!

having a confidence crisis is horrid. i know as i talk from personal experience in several areas of my life, not just horse related. things that you could do so easily a year ago are now a massive challenge that you dont think you will ever be able to do. however with a bit of determination & a lot of hard work it is possible to work through the crisis, its just up to you to decide is riding important enough to you for you to give up that amount of time & effort. i know it was for me.

if you want any more advice or just someone to talk to who knows what it is like to be in that position then feel free to pm me. i am having a hard time with my nerves at the moment too but we can get through it.

good luck

Sally
 

smossy

Well-Known Member
Joined
27 October 2007
Messages
378
Been loosing the plot really badly to the point of any excuse not to ride or go up to the stables,daughter been fab,so put my cob on a riding loan to give me chance to think. Went to see a horse last week got on and off even quicker as felt panicky and sick.Yesterday went to see a 19 year old section D mare,fantastic felt as safe as houses,only trotted and thats good for me lately, cant wait for her to arrive. hope I am on an upward spiral as giving up riding would have been next step.
Take it one step at a time,borrow an older horse,have some relaxing riding and Im sure that you will come out the other side.
Good luck,but im sure you wont need it:):):)
 

alpha1

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 January 2010
Messages
156
Yes and you will be fine!

I used to event but gave up riding after a string of 'wrong' horse. I started again last year by pottering about on my friends school master. This lead to me buying another horse of my own 6 months ago.

I kid you not, I wouldnt get on with out a back protector, martingale, someone in the school with me and having lunged 1st. I walked with only a tiny bit of trot for weeks! I even had to be lead by my mum out on hacks (i'm in my late twenties, how pathetic is that!)

Anyway i'm now jumping and going BE next year, if not the end of this season! It just took time and eventually you feel your bottle getting bigger, you start wanting to do more. You may look a divvy riding round like a novice kid for a bit but who cares! :D

Good luck!
 

icestationzebra

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 November 2004
Messages
5,378
Location
Leicestershire
I think firstly you need to stop beating yourself up for feeling the way you do. You have had two very nasty falls and what you are feeling is completely understandable. I have often wondered how the pro riders manage to pick themselves up from horrible falls (Oli in Kentucky springs to mind) and carry on as normal. I guess it takes incredible guts and I think it is the exception rather than the norm - so don't compare yourself to them. Is riding your job? If it's not then take the pressure of yourself, perhaps give your horse a short holiday whilst you reassess. You might find you miss riding her and that is a natural step back to it. I'd seek some help from a sports psychologist who will have specific expertise with which to help you. I wish you well - I can imagine it's incredibly hard not only to experience, but to admit. Riders especially are a proud old lot and often try to gloss over these things. I admire you for acknowledging this is something you have to address and admitting you have a problem (as they say) is the first step ......

Good luck and please keep us posted.
 

tiggs

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 April 2007
Messages
1,086
Sally87's reply really resonates with me and I have found a little step at a time the only thing that works for me and if I have a day I don't want to ride I don't. AAA essence which I think Kerilli recommended has also worked.

However from what you (OP) have said in your post about a clients horse suggests that you may do this for a living, which is obviously much harder. What I would do is tell people that you are not allowed to ride for 3 months except on very quiet horses while you have an injury healing. This takes the pressure off you having to ride any clients horses while you are teaching and gives you time to enjoy your horse without any expectations.

It is understandable that you feel how you do and you must do whatever you feel is best but I am sure the people you know in RL would support you.

Sorry if I have made lot of wrong assumptions, wishing you all the best.
 

kit279

Well-Known Member
Joined
31 January 2008
Messages
3,612
I wouldn't normally recommend this but it sounds to me as if you are in need of something a little more than a confidence boost. You have had bad crunching accidents - these are phobic stimuli and can make you very phobic about riding. I have seen some really seriously good results for 'post-traumatic' psychotherapy using hypnosis and controlled MDMA therapy (experimental controlled drug treatment) - not specifically for riding but for people who need to put really traumatic experiences (eg. car crashes) behind them. It's not for everyone but it might be for you. Whereabouts are you based? I might be able to point you in the right direction.
 

LEC

Well-Known Member
Joined
22 July 2005
Messages
8,889
I had TFT after some bad falls and a real loss of confidence and found it brilliant for getting through lots of issues. As one poster said stop beating yourself up about it as it will just make it worse. Maybe take a step back if you can and find some pleasure in the small things rather than thinking you should be doing something bigger and more important. I find going back to RC a brilliant help as all the pressure comes off and all levels attend which really helps my confidence as I realise I can ride!
 

Sticker

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 August 2010
Messages
65
Location
UK
Thanks all, your moral support is very much appreciated! It's been a lonely old time of late :eek:

kit279, I'm in south wales - if you could point me in the right direction, I'd certainly be interested to find out more, thanks.

EL - I'll check out Danielle's website, thanks too.

Sally87, sorry to hear you're experiencing similar confidence issues, I think you're right in a real back to basics approach. I'm writing down some short & longer term goals now, which I hope will help me focus back into things. I may well pm you too, thanks.

icestationzebra, definately agree about the pros, I really don't know how they do it after a crashing fall. Maybe that's part of what makes them pros, or maybe they have similar issues that they have more resources to resolve. Either way, they don't half make me feel inadequate! I guess it's not altogether different from all those air-brushed magazine covers...

Again, thanks all, feeling more positive already & wasn't even sure that was possible :)
 

juliap

Well-Known Member
Out to Pasture
Joined
17 September 2009
Messages
417
I had a similar loss of confidence although it built up over time as the horse I was riding would put in nasty stops - mostly my fault for not riding properly but it was a vicious circle.

You have had 2 really tough falls so no wonder your confidence has taken a knock.

I went to a hypnotist to try to get over it. He explained things really well & to be honest it was as much the talking about things before the hypnosis as the actual hypnosis which helped. I had breast cancer about 4 yrs before this which had been a massive wake up call to reassess my life & the result was to get a horse which had been a lifelong dream but I hadn't done anything about it before.

He explained that my sub-conscious was trying to protect me by making it so uncomfortable to jump. I had survived the cancer & here I was putting my well being at risk again jumping a horse which was liable to stop with me ending up sailing over the top.

You had survived 2 nasty falls so it isn't surprising that your sub-conscious is trying to protect you by making it feel so uncomfortable to ride.

The hypnotism helped by going through situations under hypnosis where I was confident and successful. I wouldn't say it worked overnight but slowly & surely I have got more confident - a new horse who is very genuine has helped but even before that I had got a lot more confidence back. I still replay the recordings before competing. Have been out doing unaff 90cm ODE's this yr & aim to do a BE at the end of the season. I love the x-c now - it's the sj that isn't so good.

I'm sure you will get it back - we are a stubborn lot but as others have said don't beat yourself up - it is a very normal & natural reaction & a very sensible one as well.
 
Last edited:

only_me

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 June 2007
Messages
13,869
Location
Ireland
Last year I had a bad fall in the field and my horse used me as a springboard into gallop...! Completely severed muscle and we suspect broken but as I am a stubborn fool I never had it x rayed, and am living with the consequences of a Dented arm.
What made it worse was that he got out onto the road and was cantering up and down trying to get into the yard.
I still have nightmares about the fact - he literally missed a car by about 3 seconds!!

I was incredibly nervous and didnt want to ride on my own in the field, and I was terrified about falling off in case it happened again :(

But I made myself ride on my own, and tried to wait until the other riders on the yard where heading down, but I forced myself to ride on my own; the fear never really went until I fell off my YOs horse this easter, and I got dragged a few m because of holding onto reins (stupid - in an arena but instinct!) and so the "fear" had gone as I fell but was alright (apart from a wrecked shoulder, but nothing new!)

I think it depends on the person you are, I tend to force myself to do something I dont want to do so I force myself over it!

You will get it back, for some people it takes longer than others and is perfectly natural, if you didnt feel nervous then there would be something wrong! :)
 

MissSBird

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 May 2008
Messages
2,063
Not sure if my help will be useful, but I'll share my experience.

I suffered from a real loss of confidence when it came to jumping - to the extent I would have panic attacks about it.

What helped me, and it pains me to say this, was losing my old mare to an unrelated issue. She was pts, which left me horseless.

My sister was brilliant, letting me ride her fell pony until I was ready to move on, and then until I found a new horse. I knew this fell pony very well, having seen her perform with my sister so trusted her. Thus I started to jump her a little, because I could trust her. Just over little fences, but it was good fun.

I then bought my boy. He was just backed, so I had to teach him to jump. I think knowing he hadn't been taught badly (the problem with my previous horse) gave me confidence. We started small, and together have grown in confidence. Today we jumped a 70cm upright confidently, a huge accomplishment for me.

Finding a horse I could trust implicently has done wonders for my confidence - though no one expected me to find him in a youngster the way I did. the original agreement had been sister would jump him and I'd jump the litle fell!

So, if things are really so bad, would it maybe be worth finding a new horse? If you are unhappy riding, it won't be fun for your horse either. If a second isn't financially viable, could you maybe loan out your current one and buy/take one on loan that may help to build your confidence?

I just know that finding the right horse has really been a key help for me.

The other piece of advice I could give would be to remember these things take time. I wouldn't consider myself to be completly cured of my worries yet, and I've been working on it for 11 months now. It's an uphill struggle.

Also, don't ever, ever, let someone force you into doing something you don't want to do. One day you will feel the confidence to do things. I jumped my first filler the other day. I was jumping with my sister, just over poles. She put the filler in to do with her pony, and I just decided to go do it. Don't be pressurised - wait until you are ready to do things.

Good luck. I really hope you find the answer *many hugs*.
 

spookypony

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 November 2008
Messages
6,881
Location
Scotland
I've had my confidence knocked a few times now, since getting the Spooky Pony. I think for me what is scary is the unpredictability of the loss of control: first, his "little moments" just seem to come out of nowhere, and second, whether or not I manage to stay on seems to be out of my control at the moment. Each time, I have been a bit shaky and cautious for a while after the incident. Gradually, gradually, as the immediacy of the moment fades (and the pain of whatever body part I've managed to bang up), I start being willing to ask for more again: first that she shifts his rear in trot, then a little canter, and eventually I'll try to take him in an open space again...no walls...

This time round, I'm mainly frustrated, since things had been going so well earlier this summer, before the problems with the low grade laminitis...and just as we get back into the swing of things, I have to go back to square one yet again...and the frustration then makes me put pressure on myself, and pressure on the pony...not helpful! But one consolation is that, having been there before, I know how this progression works now, and can watch myself climb back out of the hole, as it were.

Two things that help me:
1. Go ride a sane horse that reminds me I'm not totally useless, to get me out of that worried head-space,
2. Each time I ride the Spooky Pony, look for the positives, beyond "he didn't tear off in a panic today". Today, that positive was "he's still accepting the bit much better and more consistently than before".
 

Sticker

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 August 2010
Messages
65
Location
UK
Thanks again all, it's really heartening to hear from everyone overcoming similar issues. I work with horses, so professionally I don't want my issues to be public knowledge! Which makes it really valuable to me to have support from the forum :)

I think the points about the right horse are key too, and I really think my mare is 'the one'. It's tough - if I had lost my nerve because of my horse, I probably would look at selling her, but this isn't the case - the fall XC was one of those things (she lost her footing into the fence on wet grass, despite studs). She is only 6 and still a little a green so she looks to me for confidence, which doesn't help, but she's also fairly relaxed & sensible, and I don't want to part with her.

It looks like my shoulder may still need more surgery (rotator cuff bug*ered :(), which would be a real pain, but I guess would give me a natural break & some time. I just worry that if I stop riding altogether, I won't get back on at all.

Anyway, I shall stop rambling and get back to work, thanks again for all suggestions ;)
 

NELSON11

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 June 2009
Messages
775
Location
In the Midlands
It is really good to know others are feeling/experiencing the same. I had a crashing fall on hard ground after being tipped up by a teamchaser I was keeping fit for someone (who had actually broken their back coming off this horse) this happened 7 years ago. I was sidelined for nearly 12 months after squashing my spine.

A week later, I lost my horse so was very traumatic all round. Following on from my injury my other horses became sidelined due to injury so whilst I never thought my confidence had gone, I didn't have to test it out as horses were not being ridden etc due to lameness issues. Only now has it hit me how frightened I have become of coming off and doing my back in again.

Fine on the flat, just now terrified to leave the ground. My friend has started to help me by lending me her lovely big warmblood to start to jump again. I cannot tell you what fear I have in me. But this week which is session 2 we are progressing (we did an oxer). And don't want to speak too soon, but think the old me may be returning.

I am worried about it, as I really want to get the old me back, but small steps all round I think.

Hope you feel stronger/more confident soon

xx
 

NeverSayNever

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 July 2008
Messages
4,439
Location
uk
Finding a horse I could trust implicently has done wonders for my confidence

So, if things are really so bad, would it maybe be worth finding a new horse? .
ditto this!

you say you have a green but honest youngster just now.Tbh, feeling as you are feeling I wouldnt be keeping a youngster of any sort - although it obviously worked for Miss Bird, Id think its a minority case that a youngster can rebuild ones confidence. And the fact you are feeling like this with your current horse suggests he/she is the wrong one. Get yourself a horse, as she said, that you can totally trust and i bet it all comes back!

i have never been a hugely confident rider, but if i have trust in my horse i will do things i never thought id dream of! With my last horse i went out successfully competing XC and loved ever minute of it. Then I bought a youngster whom i had a nasty fall from, jumping and a couple of frights with him broncking and me feeling out of control.... (he was sold as a project)

that was back at Easter time and I honestly thought i was going to have to give up........ i tried other horses but just didnt feel 'right' with any of them and tbh i was losing the motivation to try:eek: then Charlie came along:)


I have had him for about 8 weeks and have gone from not really wanting to ride.... putting it off..... feeling butterflies and nerves while tacking up.... hands trembling while grooming and tacking up at the thought of riding.... tears whenever i felt paniky in any way

to me having a hack today where we were galloping like crazy loons round the stubble fields; slopping along on the buckle the rest of the time. We've been away having jumping lessons and Im finally back at the stage where i can pop round a little course in my own field at home without forgetting to breathe and passing out,lol.

It's all been about finding the right horse again for me - i built it up really slowly... short quiet hacks with someone on foot, flatwork lessons, then slightly longer hacks, hacks in company... etc

and now -i am back to getting out of bed in the morning and feeling those butterflies of excitement that i am going to ride him again today and do something else different!:D

if that feeling was there before, you can get it back... i did.:) good luck and hugs to you , i know how horrible it is.
 
Last edited:

dominobrown

Well-Known Member
Joined
15 March 2010
Messages
3,944
Location
North England
Yes I have lost my confidence and got it back, I think I think differently now. Everyone has ups and downs, you just have to be determined and push yourself.
 
Joined
6 August 2010
Messages
2
Location
Nottingham
I have just booked a session with Danielle Olding (Sporthorse NLP) whom I have heard some really good things about. Someone told me she works a lot with the world class squads and also does a lot of work with jockeys who have had bad falls.

Will keep you posted on how I get on! :)
 

OskyWoskyPonio

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 January 2009
Messages
547
Location
Cloud nine
I had a riding accident in 2007 when my horse flipped over and landed on me whilst cantering out on a hack :( I was air-lifted to hospital and put in intensive care before being moved to a ward and kept in for a further 3 days under observation.
It took me 6 weeks to get back in the saddle (confidence and because I physically didn't feel up to it) :(
It's taken me almost 3 years to get back to virtually how I was before I had the fall. It was a very long road and it got to the point jumping where I wouldn't go over a pole on the floor I was so scared! :( I now happily pop over 1m10 - 1m20 at home but I suppose it's always in the back of my mind what could happen whereas I didn't have that before :(
Recently ended up in hospital again having hit a tree trunk jump head first on a XC course and I have to say that this time I haven't lost nearly as much confidence as i think what you go through makes you stronger.
It's really important to surround yourself with people who are 100% supportive of you and what you want to do.
It's a long road but definatley worth it in the end :)
 

zandp

Well-Known Member
Joined
23 September 2009
Messages
645
Location
Somerset
What worked for me was

a) not concentrating on what might happen, and therefore building up the dread / panic / fear feelings but visualising / imagining a happy ride, where I felt confident and had fun.
b) riding another horse/pony - almost reminding myself I could ride
c) having a very sympathetic friend who pushed me just enough each time and wouldn't let me chicken out, she was also great at putting up with my babbling
d) copious amounts of Rescue Remedy, it may have been a placebo but it worked !
e) not beating myself up about what I hadn't done but concentrating on what I had done each ride.

The age of the horse isn't the issue, if you trust your horse and know it's not them but you that's a great incentive to work it out.

I do still have moments of OMG but they're much fewer and I feel more confident that when i chose not to do something now it's not an excuse to get out of riding but there's a valid reason - for eg, not riding my youngster the other week when I wasn't sure about her saddle fit - turns out it was pinching her shoulder and I was right not to ride. Not riding my elder mare outside the school this week as she's overdue shoeing - farrier hasn't turned up - walking her out in hand down the road it was like she was on ice.
 

silverstar

Well-Known Member
Joined
7 July 2007
Messages
1,527
Im a nervous rider and have problems with my confidence. Can you ever be a more confident rider on anything other than a plod?
 

Cavallo

Active Member
Joined
13 September 2009
Messages
37
Location
South East
Hi,
I've had 2 major riding accidents, on involving my back and the other involving my pelvis. I thought I would have to give up, because after the 2nd accident I became almost hysterical with fear sitting on a horse (once I'd recovered enough to start again). I had so much fear that a horse I sat on (flipped out, bronced, threw me off and I ended up in hospital again). It took some time before I got the nerve to try again, and I found the most wonderful instructor, who was incredibly patient and kind, she had done a lot of work with RDA and kids. She brought me a huge way forward on her schoolmasters. It took time though, there is no easy fix, you really need to be easy on yourself. I had lessons with her from April 2009 until about April 2010, at that point I felt brave enough to get back on my youngster, who then promptly bucked me off (I was totally relaxed while riding him, no nerves, no one knows why he reacted so violently). All the fear came back again, I was back to square one. Through all these experiences, one person who has been a huge help is an equestrian confidence lady called Jo Cooper. She was recommended to me by someone I know (she had also had a major accident and had been in hospital for 6 months a few years ago after a jumping accident). This girl said that she'd tried everything, and that Jo's method was the only thing that had worked for her.

So, I gave Jo a ring. I found her lovely and understanding, she wants to learn everything about the times you've had accidents, and what led up to etc, and she helps you with TFT/NLP to decrease your panic response to the event. She'll whittle right down to the detail of the accident, which is also nice, because as you're telling the emotional story of your accident, you'll feel like you've got a best friend who cares about you. She is so nice, caring, but will also take action against your subconscious, and help you get through it and move on. I've had huge benefits from using Jo's techniques. She even desensitised me to a traumatic event in my past, when I had to sell my beloved first horse for financial reasons, I never got over the heartbreak - until Jo helped me.

Here is Jo's website:
http://www.equestrianconfidence.com/
Good luck, take your time with your recovery, and be good to yourself when you make a small step forwards - all those small steps add up, and before you know it, you'll be doing really well, and wondering "why was I so nervous before?"

Cavallo
 

TarrSteps

Well-Known Member
Joined
9 January 2007
Messages
10,891
Location
Surrey
Just on the subject of professionals and how they cope with situations like this. . .

Obviously, it does depend on the individual and some people just seem to have thicker skin/better support systems/less imagination. ;)

That said, if you read between the lines you'll see people who ride for a living DO suffer these sorts of set backs. There are plenty of people who have "disappeared" after an accident (even if they've had similar ones before) and gone primarily into judging/coaching/course design or some other facet of the industry. They often continue riding, maybe even showing, just not at the same level. I suspect there are usually many factors are involved but for some people, an accident is the traffic light that says to go another way. Pros fairly regularly "come out" as having suffered performance anxiety and while fear/confidence is certainly not as openly talked about, it's hardly an unheard of reason for people to make a change.

That said, the biggest impetus for professionals to "get over it" is the need to put food on the table. ;) Many simply don't have the option of not continuing, as they have people depending on them and, often, not too many other marketable skills. I'm not saying it's easy but it does weigh the balance a bit in favour of gritting ones teeth regardless of the cost. People in these situations do often go to sports psychologists/therapists, although they may not publicise the fact.

One could also argue that anyone who has chosen to make his/her life in horses is not, perhaps, the most sensible. :D It's such a tough industry to succeed in, anyone who gets up the ladder has quite a bit of experience overcoming obstacles. Again, I'm not saying they don't feel fear but they may have some experience that bad times/feelings pass if you keep plugging away.

Pros also - hopefully - have a good system to fall back on, one in which they have confidence. The will likely have a mentor/trainer or two, from whom they have learned this system and while this person may not actually encourage the rider and/or support them psychologically, having someone you trust and admire have confidence in you and expect things from you can be very encouraging. (Even if it sometimes looks a bit brutal from the outside. :) )

The other advantage they have is sheer time in the saddle, both before the accident and after. If it takes, say, 100 rides to start to restore confidence (white marbles and black marbles, withdrawls from the confidence bank - whatever metaphor you prefer) a single horse rider might be plugging away for months whereas someone with half a dozen or more to ride gets there a lot quicker. Sometimes it is just a numbers game.

None of which is to undermine the situation or to imply that pros are "better". Not at all. Just that they may have more experience in the "fake it until you make it" department and fewer options to not get things back on track.
 
Joined
6 August 2010
Messages
2
Location
Nottingham
I had an absolutely brilliant session with Danielle Olding!

I have been very nervous about jumping (especially xc) since having a fall many years ago. We did some stuff on my riding values which was quite insightful for me as to why I keep bothering despite feeling so nervous! We then did an exercise on how I remembered the accident and changed how I thought about it in my head i.e from a colour to a black and white memory and changing some of the key features of how I recall the incident....quite weird but very effective. We finished by 'modelling' other good riders and put this into a mental rehearsal so that I could see it how I wanted it to be.

It was quite an intense session but I can't believe the difference! I have since done two cross country rounds at 2'9 which were absolutely brilliant and I felt really confident.....I have never had such a good ride and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I will definately be going back for some more sessions!
 

Chermar

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 November 2008
Messages
400
Location
Northern Ireland
My falls are nothing to what you have been through, but I'll tell you my story.

I was one of those kids that would ride anything, jump anything and when hunting was at the front of the field, I got my first horse who was ecellent a TB that suited me but unfortunately he ended up with nivicular, so heartbreak no1. On advice of others to my parents I was bought a 4YRO mare a SJ who would take me far with my gutsy attitude, I did 2 shows and I compeletely lost it, she was nappy, dangerous, reared constantly right over, I gave up kept her for a few years and managed to get rid of her to someone that just wanted something to look at. That was me finished with horses..............then a family friend asked me to hack out a few horses for him, i gradually got back into it but I did start back off with a happy hacker, then I got Molly (RIP - lost to colic) She was the Key, she was fun yet safe and affectionate, she gave me back what I lost. I'm now back jumping a decent height with my younger mare and hoping to move on, but it has taken time, even at the start of the year I was still having problems with my nerves for no reason but I have overcome that now.

Everyone here seems to be saying the same thing start back slowly gain a little bit of confidence at a time, ebnjoy it and be more choosey about what you buy or ride (I certainly am) Never be afraid to say no "I don't feel comfortable with that!!" Good Luck!!
 

_MizElz_

Well-Known Member
Joined
16 March 2010
Messages
1,069
Location
In front of my laptop...
I lost all confidence in jumping - although not in riding in general - and have just managed after six years to finally regain my nerve.

I realise that my situation is nothing like as serious as what was described in the OP, but I still got to the point where I never wanted to jump, ever again. Ellie and I BSJAed up to Newcomers level for four years, and had a great time. I had a couple of spills during that period, but nothing serious - pretty much always when I cocked up the striding or if she put in a big baby spook. I've never been a brave rider, but Ellie gave me such confidence that I just wanted to do more and more. By the end of 2003 we were getting DCs at 1.10 and were jumping 1.25 at home - which I never dreamed we'd be doing. Then it all went wrong :(

We were having a lesson and doing some gridwork, and Ellie, being forward and very keen, misjudged a bounce and took both elements on at the same time. She landed on the back bar and somersaulted over on top of me. I was knocked out for a short time (and later discovered I had broken my hand!) but I felt ok to get back on and jump a tiny cross pole, allbeit one handed. I had to have 3 months off for my hand to heal properly as I had displaced the fracture, and for a while afterwards we carried on as if nothing had happened. But I had lost a lot of confidence and developed a real fear of getting hurt; as a result, I started to 'drop' Ellie at the bottom of her fences, causing her to either stop or crash through them. I also developed a phobia of doubles and combinations, and would be going perfectly well in a round only to pull out in the middle of a double because of an imagined problem. And then one day, we were getting ready to go to a show and I just broke down, crying my eyes out because I just didnt want to do it any more. So that was it - we gave up showjumping - and jumping altogether.

Ellie and I were happy hackers for the best part of 6 years. I popped the odd tiny fence on sponsored rides, but other than that, we did nothing. I posted on here about missing competitions and having no goals anymore, and some people mentioned hypnotism or therapy, but tbh I just dont feel it's for me. We had a summer-long attempt at turning Ellie into a dressage horse, but it was pretty disastrous, so that idea died pretty quickly! Then at the end of last year, we moved to a new yard which happened to have a XC course, and everything began to change. We made friends with lots of lovely people who then gave us the courage to pop the odd fence out on a hack, and from there, my confidence grew and grew. I was brave enough to book into a clinic at a local XC course in May, which went so well that we then did a hunter trial there a couple of weeks later. All the time I was getting braver, and Ellie just loved it! We came 2nd in our second ever attempt at ODEing back in June, and although I initially said we'd not do anything more than 2'6, we've been jumping 3ft+ in the past couple of weeks. And we've also had a couple of attempts at SJing again too - I've got a target again, which I'm very pleased about :D

Sorry if I've rambled :eek: Just wanted to show that you can get through it - I just think you need to take some time out, learn to enjoy it again, and maybe wait for your competitive instincts to kick in again :)
 

honeybee123

Well-Known Member
Joined
1 April 2009
Messages
149
Sure you'll be able to come through this if you want to ride badly enough. I've luckily never hurt myself as badly as you have, but got to the point where I didn't like to leave the ground (although my heart said I still wanted to!). It's a lot to do with patience - dont' rush yourself, or beat yourself up when you feel like you are not acheiving enough - there's an awful lot of pressure to continually be improving/ jumping higher/ winning more etc etc - try to be happy with whatever you do acheive, and look for the positives - you were ok, the horse behaved, nothing bad happened. Someone once said to me that I should stick a picture of me and my horse doing something I was scared of, but had acheived and look at it everytime before I got on, to remind myself that it was all possible. Sounds silly, but it really does work.

May be worth getting a good instructor to give you a hand too - sometimes it can really help to put the responsibility of having a problem or not in the hands of someone else! Just make sure they are sympathetic :)

Good luck - you will be fine again, just give it time.
 
Top