The day after my accident I went out to the barn with my aunt and uncle so they could pick up my car (I wasn’t alowed to drive yet) and I got to see Patrick. Since no one saw me fall and I still don’t really know what happened, I had been worried about him but he was unharmed. I went out the next week and watched my group lesson and despite still being on painkillers and still stiff and sore it was killing me not to ride.
My first time riding again I did a private lesson. Patrick and I started of slow, just flat work in the arena working on transitions and running through a dressage test. It felt good to be riding again but I definitely still felt the stiffness and I got a bit panicked the first time I cantered again.
I took another week off and the week after I did a group lesson. We went out the back to the competition dressage arena and cross country course. I just walked around on Patrick, trying to relax. I was frustrated that I was so tense and nervous but my friend and trainer reminded me that what I went through was no small thing and the fact I was even riding at a walk out there was a major step.
I’ve been taking private lessons to build up my confidence working on dressage skills. I’m not going to lie cantering still causes me anxiety it’s going to take awhile to get back to the level of confidence I had before the fall.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
Tips for getting back on the horse:
- Go slow, don’t push yourself to ride again before your ready either physically or mentally.
- I found it helpful go go to the barn and just be around the horses patting, grooming and watching my lesson.
- Start small, don’t expect to go strait back to jumping huge heights or whizzing around a cross country course (unless you feel ready to do that).
- Don’t be hard on yourself, any progress is good progress.
- Try something different, play around with your horse in a lake or dam, take a trail ride with a group of friends or play some of the games you used to play as a kid: around the world, egg and spoon race, just something silly and fun to stop you from overthinking things.
- Don’t give up, no matter how frustrated you get or how badly you think you rode or how tense and nervous you feel, remember it will get better. Remind your self of why you ride, your love of horses, the feeling you get after you land the perfect jump, master a tricky dressage move or just when your riding around for no specific purpose and you feel the freedom horse riding gives you.
“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” – Karim Seddiki