Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Did It. But Not Without SERIOUS Trepidation...

We went on a trail ride today, and I have to say it wasn't really fun, per se. But it was something I needed to get out of the way.

I haven't been out on anything more than our immediate trail area since the entire "Do I Even Want to HAVE a Horse" episode. And when my friend and trainer arranged for us to ride the big ranch next door I wondered if I could or should.

I very nearly chickened out.

Smokey and I had several "conversations" on the trail. He was a bit up, but I knew I was significantly contributing to it with my anxiety and tried to get myself in a better frame of mind. I was only somewhat successful, but we did get some training done and made some progress.

Frankly I think *I* need some desensitization. I need some successful trail rides with him. I need to do some WTC rides in settings where I feel comfortable.

It's going to be a longer road back than I had hoped, but I did expect it.

So I plan on trying to mix in some travel to friend's places, to arenas, to just get out and about but not just trails.

I'm on the road back, but to be the leader I need to be on the trail, I need more wet saddle blankets too.

But at least today I got one. A tough one.

19 comments:

Gabriella Elise said...

At least you got out there, good job!

Allenspark Lodge said...

Good for you. And good for your horse.

Bill

Dan and Betty Cooksey said...

Breathe, I can only talk from Betty's experience after her accident on her first horse. It did take a long time, but the best thing was she didn't rush it. We rode a lot in our back. The way I think of it is she would ride up to her fear to face it, but didn't try to force herself through it. What happened is over time that fear was further away so she could ride more before coming up to it. Eventually she said let's go for a short trail ride. We took a lot of short trail rides, sometimes going back to our back lot. Eventually, the trail rides got longer.

The key is you're right. Smokey will sense your tension. You want to stay in situations that you're comfortable with until your body becomes more and more comfortable in the saddle. As you relax, you'll sense Smokey relax and you both can go a little further.

Again, way too long, but I want to encourage you in the best way I know.

Keep up the good work.

Dan

Shirley said...

Bravo. It will get better, because you want it, and have the determination to make it happen.

Mikey said...

Good for you for doing it! It's so hard, I know. The first time I got back on after my accident, I had to gather cattle. At one point I literally got off my horse and sobbed. I had to walk for a ways. It was just SO hard to ride. I sympathize with what you're going thru. It does get better, I promise.

Katharine Swan said...

I have to tell you, my personal experience is somewhat mirroring yours right now. My horse spooked and dumped me on a trail ride a few months ago, and Friday was my first trail ride since. Part of the delay was genuine (EHV-1 caused my barn to lock down shortly after my fall, and I've otherwise been quite busy), but part was procrastination, too. So I was worried on Friday, just like you... and Panama was a bit up at first too, just like Smokey. For some reason the park was busier than usual on a Friday morning, and between that and my anxiety, Panama was almost zinging under me! I hate that feeling! He did relax and settle in about halfway through the ride, though. We'll need some work to get ourselves up to where we were last year, when we were trail riding 3 times a week, but I'm glad we got the "first time back out" out of the way at last!

Leah Fry said...

You got out there! Yay!

I'm telling you: SING. If you can't think of what, do Christmas carols. It really, really helps.

Kate said...

Heh, you did it - that's what matters - just like with the horses you start with the rough cut and then refine until you get to where you want.

I think congratulations are in order!

Maia said...

I am so proud of you. Just keep taking one baby step at a time, and you'll get there.

Once Upon an Equine said...

That was a big step and I understand completely how you feel. Controlling our own minds is sometimes the biggest challenge. A couple suggestions given to me have been to sing and to suck on a Peppermint. Peppermint is supposed to be calming. (But I'm afraid I'd choke on the Peppermint if I had it in mouth while riding, ha!) Keep up the good work.

smazourek said...

The info here might be helpful to you: http://www.zenhorsemanship.com/ThePassengerLessonPart1.pdf.

It's from a clicker training site but you can still use the info if you aren't clicker training. It's more about finding a way to feel comfortable on your horse. I'll be using this when I get back on my mare.

Wolfie said...

Yay, you!!!! You did it. Big "Congratulations!" to both of you.

Fetlock said...

I was wondering how it went...it can only be uphill from here on out! I hope you gave yourself some pats on the back for starting to work through this, too.

Dom said...

Good for you! That's awesome :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think it's great you got out there and didn't chicken out. John Wayne once said something to the effect that "courage means being scared to death but saddling up anyway." Well it took a lot of courage to go out on the trail but you did it and I'm sure there will be many more times in your future where you just keep taking deep breaths and relax your way back to confidence.

Jan said...

Breathe, Good for you, good for you! Just keep going at whatever pace you are comfortable with. Congratulations!

aurora said...

Yeay, glad you had a good trail ride back!

Yep, it's tough...I'm still working through "it" too...

Funny on the singing. I've never heard that suggested for calming down a ride before, but I've done it plenty. Not only on horseback, but with my kids, by myself - music is a powerful thing. Congrats on being courageous, and successful!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hooray! Good for you!

~Lisa

Julie K said...

Congrats for getting out there!

I used to get anxious when I went out on the trail with Grayson but then I realized he takes pretty good care of me out there. I need to trust him more than I do.

It's all part of the journey and no one is setting a deadline (also something I have to tell myself).

I sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or hum "The Limbo" when I get nervous in the saddle. It forces me to breathe...so ya, I agree with that suggestion!