Confident hacking..will it ever happen

Galaxysgirl

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May 2, 2017
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Wonder if anyone has any words of wisdom. Excuse the length of the post!

I am a fairly confident rider in the school. Might feel a little nervous before but once on feel great and don't particularly worry about anything but, out hacking, I can never get over that feeling of impending doom! It's mainly in the canter and it doesn't help that since I had a baby and had a 2 year break from riding that my canter seat doesn't feel secure and I bounce around a bit. I've been having lessons with an excellent teacher and it's really helping with this. I love getting out and about but feel as though when the nerves set in I lose the ability to be a confident rider and deal with issues that I would happily in the school. I think it all dates back years ago when I went on a Boxing Day hack at the RS I helped out with. Too many horses turned it into more of a Charge of the Light Brigade and people were getting bucked off left, right and centre. I've never lost that fear of how out of control it all felt in the canter and the chaos.

I'm trying to not let it stop me and recently rode on Exmoor (amazing) and am going again this weekend. The canter was fast but I didn't fall off and kind of think I need this to get more happy with going a bit faster. I would love to 'enjoy' the ride in a relaxed way. Anyone else had this sort of problem?

Thanks, if you're still awake :)
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
Apr 30, 2010
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Many, many people have had this problem! If you don't get lots of responses to this thread (though I suspect you will) you could try reposting in the "confidence club" section of the forum. But I am sure you will hear from loads of people.
 

SeeingSpots

Toffee - Spotted Hotshot
Feb 27, 2015
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I was involved in a bolt incident a fe years ago and it terrified me. I refused to hack for 4 years until I bought Toffee and then I would only hack with my husband leading him! All I can advise is time. Time, time, time. If it makes you feel better, I'm still not brave enough to canter on hacks. I just trot. I guess I doubt his brakes which is ridiculous since he has excellent brakes lol

But I'm confident I'll get there.
 
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CharliesAngel

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Jan 15, 2010
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i remember feeling like this years ago - can you try to book on quieter hacks with a small number of people? RS’s usually grade the hacks?

I remember saving up my money for a RS hack, aged about 14 and being stuck on a pony at the end of a single file ride of about 15 horses, who all took off at a fast canter and I came off on the first bend. Of course noone saw either so it took a while for them to come back for me and I got a telling off for booking onto a ‘fast hack’when clearly i wasnt up for it. Id like to think things have changed nowadays lol. I love hacking now ;)
 
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Galaxysgirl

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May 2, 2017
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I was involved in a bolt incident a fe years ago and it terrified me. I refused to hack for 4 years until I bought Toffee and then I would only hack with my husband leading him! All I can advise is time. Time, time, time. If it makes you feel better, I'm still not brave enough to canter on hacks. I just trot. I guess I doubt his brakes which is ridiculous since he has excellent brakes lol

But I'm confident I'll get there.

Ah thank you. Good to know I'm not alone on the journey! Toffee sounds lovely - I always hope one day when I hopefully have my own I will build a bit more confidence as at a riding school there is that element of just sitting on an unknown and off you go!
 
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Galaxysgirl

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May 2, 2017
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i remember feeling like this years ago - can you try to book on quieter hacks with a small cumber of people? RS’s usually grade the hacks?

I remember saving up my money for a RS hack, aged about 14 and being stuck on a pony at the end of a single file ride of about 15 horses, who all took off at a fast canter and I came off on the first bend. Of course noone saw either so it took a while for them to come back for me and I got a telling off for booking onto a ‘fast hack’when clearly i wasnt up for it. Id like to think things have changed nowadays lol. I love hacking now ;)

Hiya, yep it's definetely harder in a group, so the last two hack I booked was a private, which helps. I was happy beach hacking with a small group a few years ago and, although always wary, enjoyed a nice paced canter. My confidence seems to have been lost over the last few years but suppose it's like anything, if you don't use it you lose it and maybe I am expecting too much!
 
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Taffie

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May 29, 2017
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Hi, as a relatively new returner to riding myself, it took me a good 6 months to feel confident about hacking out on my own at a walk and sedate trot. My first jaunt up a mile bridleway and road was absolutely the scariest thing ever.
I the did a few club rides and the leader put herself between the gung-ho mad canterers and the newer riders and kept a sedate pace so our horses didn't go too fast. She is my RS and a para-dressage rider, so her horse is very controlled. I was also told that it is correct in a social hack to ask before cantering, to make sure that everyone is happy with the intended pace. Good as my cob cross is rather strong in a crowd.
I often ride with an older lady who is very experienced, but her horse bucks a lot if the canter is too fast, so she prefers to stay at a sedate pace with me!
One of the best things I did was to do an organised 8 mile ride over a common on my own (I had to trailer over there) and that gave me the chance to canter over open, even hillside without being in a group, although there were groups galloping, they slowed to a walk to pass me etc. The long stretch of open hill gave me a good chance to get a bit more settled in the pace and relax - no corners like in the school! It was a revelation.
Now I'm excited to find any tiny bit of soft going I can canter on lol, it's just a matter of time for you too :)
 
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Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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If you are bumping in sitting canter, you need to practise and use forward seat. Learn in walk and trot first with someone to teach you. Some horses have a very bumpy canter and out on a hack or going fast no one is able to sit to it. I dont go on group rides exactl because of the charge of the light brigade syndrome. But I do ride a mare whose canter in the school was pretty Ok, but out hacking and on long stretches is very bumpy. No one sits to it. In fact I was taught tht if my share horse ever ran away with me, it was safer not to sit lest one be bumped off.
 

Galaxysgirl

New Member
May 2, 2017
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If you are bumping in sitting canter, you need to practise and use forward seat. Learn in walk and trot first with someone to teach you. Some horses have a very bumpy canter and out on a hack or going fast no one is able to sit to it. I dont go on group rides exactl because of the charge of the light brigade syndrome. But I do ride a mare whose canter in the school was pretty Ok, but out hacking and on long stretches is very bumpy. No one sits to it. In fact I was taught tht if my share horse ever ran away with me, it was safer not to sit lest one be bumped off.

Thank you :) Since I posted I have been up on Exmoor and had two very successful rides. The difference has been taking a forward seat in the canter, just like you suggested. Also, all the lessons have been paying off and I felt very secure and bump free for the last few weeks! I don't think I will ever really enjoy group hacking, so the 1 to 1 really suits me and takes the pressure off :)
 
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Skib

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I am so glad Galaxy girl - sorry about all the typos in my post to you. I think I may be did it on the phone! Dont rule out group hacking altogether and for ever. Because on holiday e.g. in Scotland or USA there is often a chance to join a gentle group of tourists on a hack (or trail ride) and you can see wonderful landscapes from the back of a horse.My grand children just rode (2 hour hack) in Iceland and loved it.
 
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