So I can delusion myself all I want but in the end whether I realize it concisely or not, I am still a nervous rider.

Why am I nervous? The same irrational reason I was before,  something to do with heights and something to do with the animal. I can't figure out what it is with the animal but it's something that I was afraid of when I was little. I don't know what it is but it still effects me.

I know part of the reason now is my instructor, who is really strict. That's a good thing...when your not nervous. I do appreciate that she tries to get me to do everything properly but because I'm nervous I end up either "not listening" aka I can't concentrate properly so I don't remember to maybe change the direction till I'm passed it or fool up a pattern because my mind is going haywire. Or not doing something properly, and when she has to continuously correct me we both end up fustrated.  Her because I'm not listening, me because I try but can't seem to do it right because I get worse and worse, I try harder but still get worse. (This week was extremely bad because I also have some things going on in my personal life, and the lesson just broke me)

I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me till my mother picked me up, I had had a mental breakdown in the middle of my group lesson (of 3) and was just bad. I went to moms car after calming down a bit and basically ended up crying again, because I didn't know what was wrong. Mom, knowing me better then I know myself told me what she thought after I told her what was going on, and how I thought there was something wrong with me.

So I am going to talk to my instructor, and god knows I might be switched around lessons again(my first instructor went on maternity leave) but other then that I need help from someone else that has gone there something like this. What are somethings I can do to keep my nerves, that I don't even register most of the time in check?

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Hey Emily,

I DEFINITELY feel more insecure on a tall horse. I'll ride them, but, in my deepest heart I am happiest on 14 to 14.3 hands. You are taller than I am. So what. From a short horse the falling distance is a lot less, and I think your body might calm down more if you are further down. I always do. (And I do not ride quiet horses.) Try it for a while and see if your body calms down. You are definitely NOT too big for a large pony or small horse.

I went to a lesson at a school in MD and there the lady was using a microphone(?), anyway she amplified her voice some. I think that the students heard her better and clearer. It can be hard to try and hear your instructor AND get yourself together on horseback. Why don't you suggest that (a microphone) to your teacher? It will help her save her voice and vocal cords and you will be able to hear her a lot easier.

Bless all strict teachers. However if you are getting more nervous from her approach, is there someone else who can teach you? Believe me, there is no shame in going back to basics (a lower level class) until things improve in your life, I've done it with my riding around 6 times now (40 years.) Each time I've come out a more secure and better rider.

I hope some of this helps you. Hang in there, this can be worked through.

I hope your personal life gets better soon. Life can be a real drag sometimes, but most of us survive it.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, yes, I am often nervous when I get up on a horse. I have MS and many physical problems and you get me up on the 18.2 horse I ride sometimes, I'm nervous. Or on a really brisk day with the wind blowing, you know, when the Arabs are snorty, or for many other reasons. I've just learned to deal with it.
Hi Emily,

Are you on your own horse or a lesson horse? It is so NORMAL to be nervous! EVERYONE gets nervous sometimes.

What I think you need is a very comapssionate and patient instructor who can move you foward bit by bit. You need to have a serious talk with her and she needs to understand why you are not following her instructions.
Riding is supposed to be FUN and if you need to slow down a bit to get your confidence up, that's perfectly OK. You just need an instructor who can take you on that slow and steady confidence building path. One step at a time. :)
I have been bucked off twice in the past year, and both times it was not due to my mare being an intolerable mount, or even wanting to hurt me, it was due to a back problem that was then undiscovered. Although I know our bond is fantastic, and that she is a gentle and very loving horse it does not stop me from becomming a bit nervous sometimes when riding her or some other horses. You have to work out what it is that triggers this and tackle it. Maybe sub conciously in a group lesson you saw someone fall off, or a certain horse you have heard can be a right 'devil' sometimes, whatever it is you need to address it. Sometimes we need a more sensetive instructor, strict instructors are a wonderful thing but so is a friendly and understanding one who can help you tackle your problem. You need a bit of empathy, one to one and envcouragement to help you.

I have learned to switch off my heart sometimes as I become so insecure and believe I can't make a jump etc, and this makes your position and everything else go the same way, so sure enough I get a refusal or a run out. Bite your lip concentrate and don't let you dishearten yourself, believe in yourself and work at your own pace, if you don't feel safe tell your instructor. Get one to one lessons explain how you feel and how you need to work slowly for a while until you feel better.

Good luck!
Hey Emily, Good for you for acknowledging the problem ...that sometimes you feel nervous! I was in denial for years, and had an instructor who just didn't care if I was frustrated, scared, angry, nervous!!

Now that you've taken the first step, I'd suggest doing some emotional homework. See if you can figure out why you feel that way. I recently attended a clinic "Women, Horses and Fear" that really helped me alot. It was put on by a professional coach/trainer who had to overcome her own fear issues, after a fall. So you see, we're in good company! For me, it was some past memories of falls, and also a worry voice that I learned in my childhood, and also some negative self talk. Once I became aware of these things I have been able to deal with them better :)

I follow Jane Savoie's blog here on Barnmice and on Facebook. She has great tips on overcoming fear. I also like Laura Hunter's Facebook blog, Ride with Confidence.

You will also need to come to an understanding with your coach, or get a new one who will take you back to where you feel comfortable, then gradually present small challenges to build up your confidence. It may also mean changing the horse you ride.

Barbara's right, riding is supposed to be FUN! Make the changes you need to make yourself comfortable. You'll be so glad you did! Good luck ... and enjoy the journey :)
Lots of people are nervous riding, I certainly was since getting back into it, and sometimes I still am but not as much. Some things that help: if you can, use a horse which is very calm (mine isn't). Talk to your instructor, if they can't lighten up and be more encouraging, relaxing, maybe try to find another instructor. Do exercises at home that strengthen your core muscles, being stronger and having better balance really helped my confidence. Learn how to use slow deep breaths from your lower belly, to calm yourself and stabilize your core muscles. Focus on a few things at once, it's unnerving to try and work on too many things at the same time. Visualization: when not riding take some time to sit and relax, visualize yourself riding the way you'd like to, get the feel of the rhythm and feel the joy. Lighten up on yourself, we all goof, you can't be in "correction" mode continually and still have fun. I find it easier to ride better when I'm alone with the horse, not distracted by other people or even a trainer. I get really self conscious sometimes and then can't relax, so you need to feel good vibes from your teacher.Trainers have lots of good things to give, but sometimes we need time alone to actually concentrate on just the horse and what I'm doing.
Hope some of this helps, breathing may be one of the most helpful technique to work on. I used to hold my breath without knowing it when I was learning downhill skiing, and it much improved when my instructor pointed that out.
And it all takes lots of time, lots of repeat experiences. So it gradually gets better.
I'm far from "expert", but being you, I would look at riding lessons in another format, i.e., something you can read on line and get a little different viewpoint, so to speak. Not saying you should ditch what you're doing now and who you're doing it with. Only that I think you're kinda in "too deep". Take a breath - step back - look at the big picture. Another thing is that I would say you're not really relaxed during lessons. Most especially your horse knows this, the instructor knows it, but do you accept it?
One thing that may help is if you increase any up close and personal time with your horse, in the stall. Not necessarily cleaning up - just hangin' out. If nothing else this should build up your confidence. Of course, safety first! Best wishes.
I found, even on the horses I'm comfortable on, I'd hear her command, acknowledge it go over it in my head, then when it came time to do it forget it. I never had this problem with my last instructor who was patient(she was also a lot older, my current instructor is 18).

What happened this lesson was, I was riding a horse, first time I had ever rode him, and I am fine with him on the ground, no problems. But I had heard stories, so I was nervous when I got in the saddle. Then, mostly due to the fact my leg muscles aren't the strongest I couldn't keep him in a straight line. She got mad at me for that, every time, and it wasn't to bad, but that was the start. Then I kept not picking up the right posting diagonal or switching it/checking it right away, and she kept getting mad at me for that, and for the fact I kept letting this horse get away with murder apparently, and I wasn't "listening to her". I was trying but kept getting worked up without realizing it, and at one point she said to me that it's "useless for her to try to teach me anymore unless I start listening because I'm not learning anything and it's pointless for her to even try". After that I got worse, couldn't control the horse, and panicked.
It sounds like she over-mounted you and then blamed you for HER MISTAKE.
I strongly believe that for the first year of lessons at least the rider should be mounted on a decently trained and reasonably cooperative horse. This gives the rider a chance to concentrate on one problem at a time.
If a riding teacher treated me like that it would be the last lesson I'd take from her, and I've been riding for 40 years (and yes, it did happen to me once.) There is a BIG difference between a strict teacher who mounts you on an appropriate horse for your level of riding and then gets after you for your mistakes and a teacher who expects someone still learning to ride to retrain a difficult horse in a lesson situation and then rips her student apart for not fully retraining the horse right then and there. You are not an experienced enough rider (with less than a year of lessons) to train a difficult horse to behave properly in a lesson. OF COURSE you got nervous.
If necessary stop riding until your regular teacher gets off maternity leave. Your present instructor is not qualified to teach YOU. She may not be qualified enough yet to teach ANYONE who is riding a horse with difficulties.
I used to teach, not riding, but the principles are always the same. You should be started with a level at which you can feel successful, even if it means going back to basics, or using a horse that is more forgiving. If your instructor is taking you along too fast, then complaining that you are falling apart, she needs to adjust to that and not blame her student or get frustrated. If a teacher gets into this negative spiral the stress on the student makes it very difficult to use their head or get organized enough to learn. She may be right, it is pointless to try if she can't figure this out. In which case you need a teacher who can figure this out and act accordingly. As long as you are willing to try, and there is a teacher who is willing to work with you and listen to your concerns, there should be some learning somewhere. If the teacher is giving up, well I can't imagine how the student can learn. Personally I'd find another instructor and discuss these things ahead of time to judge if they are willing to be more patient.
Another principle of teaching, not everyone who is a great rider, is also a great teacher of riding.
Hmm at 18 I very much doubt she has got all the qualifications of the patience of an older teacher, I am not saying 18 year olds are incapable, but this one seems to be a little too hard on her students.

An instructor should NEVER lose patience, yell or shout, it is YOU paying for the lessons, and customers should be treated with respect and at their own pace!. A true instructor should be able to realise the limit of the student and adapt the lesson to suit. If you are not 'listening' or 'understanding' what she is saying, then it is up to her to clarify and do a better job of teaching. I would personally get a different instructor preferable someone out of their teens without an attitude. Someone older with more experience will help a lot more and you will find lessons will become more enjoyable rather than a chore.
I'd agree with Jackie on this. Emily, you must find an instructor, clearly this person you're having lessons with is not an instructors bootlace!! Fear is not a rational thing, you must find a sympathetic coach that has the skills to help you through it and not just give you such a bollocking.
The nervous rider is the most challenging problem faced by coaches and takes a lot of skill and patients . Nervous riders are often afraid of the size and height of their horse. This type of nervousness usually passes quickly if the person is taken gently and not in anyway over-pressed. I WOULDN'T waste any time talking to the person your having lessons from, just go strait to someone else. Someone with the experience and qualifications that can help you through this problem. Cheers Geoffrey


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