As a horseback rider we all have fears; whether it’s from a past experience or simply the fear of the unknown. And while it’s important to work past your fears to improve as a rider, It’s healthy to have a certain level of caution while working with horses. This keeps you from becoming arrogant and cocky around them, which will cause as accident.
The one thing you can always trust a horse to do is keep you humble.
Recently I had a pretty bad fall off my horse Vinni. It wasn’t anyones fault and there was no way to have prevented it or seen it coming. Myself and a few others were out for a trail ride to get some ice cream after work (Because my works awesome like that) when we cut through a park to have a little canter. When I put my leg on him he took off like a bat outta hell and had me flailing around on top of him. I think I sat 3 bucks before I was catapulted onto the ground – and promptly landed straight on my left knee. My first thought was that it must be broken as I could only lay there in the fetal position while a friend came over to make sure I wasn’t dying, and two more went to grab Vinni.
Vinni the big goof
It’s been a few weeks since and while my knee is healing nicely (I have a pretty gross looking bruise but nothing else thankfully!), my confidence definitely took the worst of it. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a fall that hard, and it’s made it difficult to get back in the saddle. I finally psyched myself up enough to get on and do a little walk a week ago, and I’ve been taking it slow ever since. Starting by walking, then doing some little trail rides and eventually building myself back up to where I was. It’s more frustrating than anything else because I know it was a fluke and I’m a decent enough rider to handle most situations, but after a fall like that all I can think about is it happening again. It’s made me very aware just how much control this fear has over me. I’m not afraid of falling off –I’ve done that more times than I can count– but rather I’m afraid of hurting myself pretty seriously.
I’ve noticed this isn’t a huge topic in the horse world. Most people live by the rule of just ‘getting back in the saddle’, which is important to do. But I think we should open up the discussion to talk about the things that scare us about riding, so that we can better cope with them when they do happen. Acknowledging my fear of being serious injured has made me take a few more safety precautions than I normal would, and I’m trying to make peace with the fact that I can’t control everything that happens in life (especially with horses!)
What scares you about riding, and how do you over come it? I would love to hear some feed back from some fellow riders.