Guest Author - Kim Wende
Have you had a riding accident and now you're afraid to get back on? I can relate to this as I had a riding accident in 2000 which put a lot of fear in me for riding again. It took me awhile to regain my confidence and get back on. Here are some things to help you regain your confidence.
First off don't let anyone push you to get back on a horse as that would be a mistake. Horses can sense that you are nervous. Don't be ashamed or hard on yourself either as this can happen to the best riders. Don't hold on to any resentment as this can hold you back too. Make sure you go at your own pace, but at the same time make sure you are making progress.
If possible don't go it alone. Either hire a professional, get a friend or family member to help you during the first few sessions. This will help you gain some confidence. When hiring a professional find one that will understand your fear and will focus on helping you to regain your confidence. Don't go with a trainer that is only focused only on competition and wants to get you in the saddle quickly.
Here are some steps to help you regain your confidence.....
Don't play the accident over and over again in your head and wonder what you could have done to stop the accident instead visualize how you want your ride to be. The solution is not a simple or quick fix as it takes time to regain your confidence.
If the horse you were hurt on is not suitable for your skill level, then consider leasing or buying another one. For me I sold the horse I got hurt on because I knew he would feel my nervousness. It is important to have a confidence building horse during your journey.
Start building your confidence from the ground before you get back on. You can do this by spending time grooming and walking the horse around. Put in place a solid foundation through groundwork. Groundwork helps gain your horse's trust and respect which transfers to when you are in the saddle.
When it's time to get back on take it one step at a time. At first you may only be able to put your foot in the stirrup step up and then step down. If you feel confident, then get on all the way, sit there and pet the horse then get off. Do either of these steps as many times as you need to feel confident. If this is all you can do for a few days know that it is OK and celebrate your victory.
When your ready start in a secured area and walk the horse a few steps then stop and relax. Continue to build on the steps making your way around the secured area. If needed have someone walk beside the horse. Walking in a secured area is something you may have to do for several days or possibly a few months.
When riding make sure you breathe as so many people when scared tend to hold their breath. You can also sing as this will help you relax and it keeps you breathing. Another technique that helped me was EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
Being hurt in a riding accident is something that can be very traumatic and can take awhile to work through. I've found that you never get over the fear as it will always be there you just learn to manage the fear by regaining your confidence. Make sure you celebrate the smallest of victories.