Getting Back In The Saddle

Getting Back in the SaddleHave you developed fear about getting back in the saddle again from an accident or because your horse acts up every time you ride?

I understand as I had a major fall which resulted in surgery. It put fear in me that I didn’t have before and it was several months before I was able to ride again.

Fear is not always a bad thing as it can keep us safe, but it can also limit us at times so you’ve got to be aware of that and know when to push forward or hold back.

I used to be one of those that would ride anything and it did not bother me when they acted up, but after my riding accident things changed as I became more aware of how the horse reacted on the ground.

You don’t have to give up riding as there are things you can do to get back in the saddle and feel comfortable again. Here are some things that will help you gain confidence and get back in the saddle.

  • Spend time with your horse getting to know and enjoy them on the ground.
  • Get good at ground work, this will help you find out where the holes are when riding. Horse Agility is a great way to build confidence in you and your horse.
  • Visualize yourself having a successful and fun ride. If you can’t do that because your mind goes to the negative then watch a video of someone else riding, but imagine yourself as the rider. Feel yourself riding the horse going through the motion and hold the reins as if you were riding. Play your favorite music when doing this.

When you get to the point where you feel you’re ready to get back in the saddle start in an enclosed area. If need be have a friend who is good with horses there to support you. The first day you may only be able to put your foot in the stirrup and step up then back down doing this a few times.

The second day you may feel confident enough to sit on your horse and maybe take a few steps. If need be have your friend walk along beside you. On the third day maybe take a lap around the pen at a walk and then build from there. When doing all of this make sure you remember to breathe as some people will hold their breath.

When you hold your breath it will create tension in the body and your horse will feel that. If you have to sing as this really helps relax you and you can’t hold your breath when you sing.

Another technique that can help you move past the fear is EFT (emotional freedom technique). EFT is an emotional of acupuncture. I’ve used it and it really does work.

Bottom line is don’t let anyone push you or make you feel bad trying to get you back into the saddle before you’re ready. Some may tell you just suck it up and get back on my suggestion is to ignore them because if you get back on before you’re ready that could spell disaster.

Like I said before have fun and get to know your horse on the ground you will be happy you did as it will make a difference for you and your horse!

Want help with your horse? Contact me today 325-261-3360 to setup your lesson or talk to me about Horse Agility.

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  1. i board a paint mare who some days just loves to ride and other days getting that saddle on is an absolute night mare. my farrier has been horsing for 30 plus yrs and gave me a little hint. put him in the paddock to brush if it takes an hour so be it enjoy your time. run around with him a little then try to tack up. if your horse has high anxiety they need to feel safe. you are coming off as a predator to him not his friend. also she was very high strung i was advised to cut out the alfalfa cubes. 30 days later shes a dream.

  2. Kim, you share great tips in this post. I particularly like the one about enjoying your horse from the ground. Too many people focus only on riding their horses and don’t realize how much fun they can have just hanging out with them – watching them in the paddock, grooming, hand grazing, taking them for walks. All those simple things go a long way to building trust, understanding, and – as you said – getting to KNOW your horse.

  3. Good tips, Kim. Chances are if you are concerned, your horse will be too. The right instructor can really help here too. Having encouragement from someone who knows you, your horse and how to keep you safe can ease a lot of angst.

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