Just returning to riding

Chris55

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Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all, I'm just returning to riding after 3 years. I'm 64 and started riding when I was 40. Had a bad fall 3 years ago and sustained a fracture in my back. Was very lucky the fracture stayed stable and healed after 6 months. Problem is that I'm now petrified when I ride . Got back in saddle last week for 1st time and had to go on a lead rein. I felt like I was a complete beginner. Has anyone been in a similar situation and overcome the nerves ? And anyone out there my age overcome difficulties ?
Thanks in advance x
 

fourlegs

Horse addict
I started riding when I was 35, now 71, I had a fall early last year which tore the cartilage in the front of my pelvis - in hospital for eight days and laid up for 30 days before I could even walk properly. But I climbed back on a horse as soon as I could. Yes I was nervous to start with but soon felt at home walking, it was a while later before I felt I was ready for trot and only after a year wanted to and managed to canter.

Nothing wrong with being a beginner! My advice is to stick with the simple stuff, concentrate on getting used to your position on the horse, work on getting a good active walk, nice bends on corners, etc. Leave it till you get frustrated with not going faster and WANT to trot, the nerves will have been overtaken then, same with canter.
 

Chris55

New Member
Aug 10, 2019
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I started riding when I was 35, now 71, I had a fall early last year which tore the cartilage in the front of my pelvis - in hospital for eight days and laid up for 30 days before I could even walk properly. But I climbed back on a horse as soon as I could. Yes I was nervous to start with but soon felt at home walking, it was a while later before I felt I was ready for trot and only after a year wanted to and managed to canter.

Nothing wrong with being a beginner! My advice is to stick with the simple stuff, concentrate on getting used to your position on the horse, work on getting a good active walk, nice bends on corners, etc. Leave it till you get frustrated with not going faster and WANT to trot, the nerves will have been overtaken then, same with canter.
I'm riding a friends horse . Older mare and rock steady. My friend says I'll think she is too slow eventually but that's fine with me at the moment . Sound advice, thank you x
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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Lovely to meet someone else who started when older. I started age 62. My worst experience long ago now, was after a friend was killed riding. The teacher said to me the important decision was whether to get on a horse again?

Do you really want to ride still?

Once on a horse, I took it very slowly. I havent had a bad accident like you but I did crack my head and took 13 months off. Your three years not riding is much longer than that. I reported before how weird and unstable it felt to be back on a horse. And I had a lunge lesson. The reason we have lunge lessons and especially useful in old age is to improve our balance on the horse

I go to a yard where lunge lessons are the norm even for advanced riders. So there is no loss of status having a lunge lesson, nor even in spending a whole lesson in walk. Tho I have mentioned elsewhere that in old age I tend to stiffen dreadfully if i spend the whole lesson in walk. They know me on the yard where I ride and if I want to can just be left by myself to potter about in the school on a horse. And I always wear a heavy duty hat and a body protector.

I took it very slowly and then went off to another RS where I am better able to canter and prepare for a W T C proficiency test. It seems one does not forget how to rise in trot nor how to canter.

There was never any guarantee that I would return to riding in the open. I didnt have any plan nor stress myself. There are quite a number of elderly ladies at our RS now and I was nudged away by the YO - I wasnt forced out of the nest but she knows me and she was right.

To be honest, it isnt much use making plans for riding in one's 70s. Nothing is that predictable. I always knew riding was high risk, and hacking higher risk than lessons in a school. Being nervous is self -preservation. So I suppose my not being frightened means I have done everything I can for myself and for the horse to stay safe.

I always remind people that dressage is preparation of a safe riding horse. When I hack a horse I need to be sure it will stop when asked. And will transition up and down when asked. I expect it to answer minuscule steering aids to avoid over hanging branches. This preliminary work is best done in the school - walking and trotting round and over poles laid out on the ground and placing the feet of the horse.You took the first sensible step so dont belittle it.

After being led round in walk my next suggestion to you would be to take charge of the walk yourself. It isnt compulsory to trot or canter till you feel ready but it is important for me as an adult to feel that I am in charge of the horse and to communicated to the horse what it is that I would like them to do.
Taking responsibility means that when things go wrong, one is able to think them out and try adjustments without feeling that one has failed. Riding isnt a mechanical art so it will never be perfect. But an advantage of doing it as an older adult is that one banks the experiences and continuously adds new ones.
 
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Mary Poppins

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Nerves are a normal part of riding for me, they always have been. It’s a battle against myself most of the time but I keep going because despite feeling quite terrified most of the time, I love riding and I love my horse. Horse riding gives me something that nothing else in the world does. It’s about connection, trust and true passion. Some days are harder than others, but on a bad day I have learnt to be kind to myself and try again tomorrow.
 
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Huggy

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Nov 11, 2018
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Agree with the consensus that you just take it at the rate you feel up to. I particularly agree with Mary Poppins. I think many riders are nervous to varying degrees, but just love it so much, that it supersedes the nerves. I'm a bit nervous when I take mine out (after a long break from riding), but I have a feeling like no other once I'm out there - I couldnt imagine not having it in my life. If you're happy on your friends bombproof slowcoach, enjoy - you'll know when you're ready for more.
 
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diplomaticandtactful

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Apr 25, 2003
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I am 63 I had an 8 year gap not riding as none of my horses were sound. Six years ago one was pts and I went out and bought a horse who I felt was ready to go. When I went to try him I was a bag of nerves, as it was at a riding centre, and I hate riding in public. But he was fine. And I bought him, and he has given me endless fun. I was a sack of spuds, all my muscles gone to mush, so all I can say is persevere, don't be pressured into doing things you are not comfortable with and you'll get there.
 

Toz

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Jul 14, 2019
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How’s it going Chris55? Well i hope!
I know this is a slightly older thread but my daughter used to take a few drops of rescue remedy before competitions. I was never sure if it were a placebo effect but it definitely helped her.
 
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Chris55

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Aug 10, 2019
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How’s it going Chris55? Well i hope!
I know this is a slightly older thread but my daughter used to take a few drops of rescue remedy before competitions. I was never sure if it were a placebo effect but it definitely helped her.
Hi, it's going ok. I've got a way to go to feel confident and comfortable on a horse again.im having lessons on a riding school horse which is pretty much bomb proof so this is helping . I'll give rescue remedy a try , cant do any harm and it may just take the edge off. Thank you for the advice xx
 
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Native Lover

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I lost my confidence after a fall....I have over come it from sitting crying on a lead rein Ona super safe Highland to hacking out, showing, soon to be learning Le Trec.... you can do it?..I am 53 years old and doing much better these days...... it takes baby steps and setting goals and targets then re setting them lol and you will get there believe me you will


Hi and nice to meet you here.