Originally Posted by sabine
My next lesson is tomorrow and instead of looking forward to ride, I'm thinking of canceling. I'm scared!!
Can anybody tell my how to get over my fear?
Only you will be able to conquer your fear, but rest assured, there ARE some tricks to help you overcome it:
First, your instructor needs to be someone you TRUST and who is CARING and UNDERSTANDING of your fear. It doesn't matter if the fear is rational or irrational, the fact that the fear is *there* is enough to make it very real for you and it will affect how you are able to conduct yourself and progress in your riding skills.
Second, you need to speak truthfully with your instructor about your fears. How both the fall and injury have affected you with pain and the fear you feel now. You need to let your instructor know how reluctant you were to attend your lesson because of that fear. In addition, you need to understand the horse did not buck you off deliberately, it was probably frightened because of the noise, too, and reacted instinctively to its' flight/fight adrenaline rush.
Something else I would like to point out...horses are VERY sensitive. This is an animal that can feel a tiny fly land on it's hide. My current horse Tigre is VERY sensitive. I cannot put any leg on her at all and she rides with seat-cues. I remember this past fall when she and I walked through a cobweb. I am DEATHLY afraid of spiders and I flinched backwards when I felt the cobweb on my face. Tigre ALSO flinched and jumped. She did this because I jumped so she reacted to my fear expecting whatever had frightened me was also going to be bad for her so she jumped, too.
Third, you and your instructor need to progress with baby steps, the lessons also need to be "fun" with a goal of distracting you from your fear so you CAN have fun and gain confidence over controlling your mount. The instructor will also need to push you just a little beyond your comfort-zone at the end of each lesson.
*It is in this regard that your instructor will need to become more of a counselor to help you beyond your fears. If your instructor cannot be the encouraging person you need them to be at this time, then I would urge you to find an instructor who will be able to do this and make you feel good about your small achievements and not belittle you for being reluctant. I hate to bring this up, but if you don't attend lessons and decide to drop out completely, they will lose that income from you.
Finally, you need to ease up on yourself. If your next lesson only involves grooming, tacking-up the horse, leading it around the arena on foot, mounting it at the mounting block to sit still and breathe for one minute, then dismounting and untacking the horse...
Then you need to be proud of being able to do that!
Yes, your heart will pound and it may require several sessions of doing only that before you can dismount without your heart pounding...but when your fear begins to ease up and/or you are able to master your fear, then you are ready to proceed to more forward baby steps. The importance is having an instructor who sees, understands and will allow you to progress at whatever pace is comfortable for you and knowing just what tiny bit to push forward with, without making you feel bad. Let it take as long as it takes.
Yes, it can be done, and I am sure you can do it! Wishing you the best of luck,