Nervous on a forward going RS pony when hacking - lots of issues -can anyone help?

Nicnac

New Member
Jan 2, 2008
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Devon
Hi everyone

I've not posted on here for ages, and have just checked through lots of hacking threads, so please bear with me if you've read through all of this before and sorry for rambling!

I have just progressed onto loaning a RS pony who is much more forward going than the last one I had, in the school and when hacking. In the school, I'm fine, I'm up to jumping small fences and although nervous, it doesnt stop me enjoying it.

Today, we went on a long group hack - about 8 horses. The RI's told me that this week he has been squealing every time he is about to canter - and has then literally gone for it. I'm not normally so nervous hacking, but today I got on him and wanted to stop straightaway (I didn't). He was like a different pony - I felt I was constantly fighting against him tanking off - a couple of times he tried, but I managed to calm him down. He's very sensitive to me tensing up and as I was nervous, this didnt help. Before we went for some canters, I tried to sit back, relax etc...which was OK, but when we cantered, I just held onto his mane and hoped for the best (still trying to sit back in my seat which didnt seem to have much of an effect!). The second time, he actually decided to tank off and went into a very fast canter/gallop on a narrow woodland track and overtook the lead horse, he did stop as he doesnt like being too far from his friends, but I was shaking.

After a long ramble, my questions are these:

How can I build my confidence up? Is it just doing lots of hacks on him?

I get nervous in open spaces on him as I feel out of control sometimes and I end up holding the reins in all sorts of strange ways as well as holding the mane. I really want to get out of these bad habits but I dont know how to, any tips?

My aim is to gallop up a big field on the farm and I just get so frustrated with my nerves. I know I can stay on but its that feeling of being out of control I don't like. I know there are lots of you who feel nervous too, is there anything you've done which helps? I'm wondering if he's too much for me, but I'm determined to overcome my nerves, just wondering how to!

Many thanks!:)
 

schneeko

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Apr 10, 2009
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If you can, see if you can go out on some nice slow hacks and stick to canter in the school. If you get used to hacking him then you won't be as nervous when you go back to faster hacks and he'll know that you have control.

That is possibly rubbish advice but good luck :)
 

Method_Acting

New Member
Aug 12, 2005
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Is he better in front?

I'd try and relax.. my horse is sometimes a bit mad in company, but he doesn't buck/rear, just goes fast! think about it, you're unlikely to fall off, and doesn't he slow down when he reaches the front? :)

Carry on hacking him, you'll get used to it :)
 

Nicnac

New Member
Jan 2, 2008
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Devon
Is he better in front?

I'd try and relax.. my horse is sometimes a bit mad in company, but he doesn't buck/rear, just goes fast! think about it, you're unlikely to fall off, and doesn't he slow down when he reaches the front? :)

Carry on hacking him, you'll get used to it :)

He does like to be in front or at least second yes, I think that was why he decided to overtake the lead horse - we were third at that point, he does buck if you hold him back apparently, so I have him on a loose rein and let him go - again why I possibly feel out of control I guess? I'm not sure about him slowing down though! :eek:

Thanks for your posts guys...I wish I could get myself to relax, that's possibly one of the main problems, I keep telling myself to and then forget everything once he goes into 'tank off' mode! :eek:
 

Nicnac

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Jan 2, 2008
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Devon
If you can, see if you can go out on some nice slow hacks and stick to canter in the school. If you get used to hacking him then you won't be as nervous when you go back to faster hacks and he'll know that you have control.

That is possibly rubbish advice but good luck :)

No I dont think its rubbish, it could be a way forward. I do feel that he needs to know whose in control - although I just felt that he would tank off as soon as I put him in trot - we follow some specific canter tracks which doesnt help really and even in the school he will go off into canter automatically on a second circuit once we've had one circuit doing a trot to a canter transition (does that make sense?). He does that with everyone apparently. I can control him in the school by doing half halts and sitting back, but today just felt that would have been no good whatsoever!
 

un1corn

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Jan 6, 2008
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Chester le Street
Hi hun.. I dont really have much advice as such cause I'm not a wonderful rider myself but... There is nothing wrong IMO with holding his mane when cantering outside!! Whatever makes you feel more secure is a good thing.

When you *first* started to learn canter did you hold on then? And once your confidence started to rise did you start letting go?

If like me youve got short arms and holding the mane pulls you too far forward get a balance strap to clip on the front of the saddle, you can keep your seat and still hold on!

Good luck and let us know how you get on

Donna x
 

cloudandmatrix

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May 6, 2009
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a land full of ponies
how about a couple of canter hacks on a super steady horse to build up confidence, after being dumped twivce in 1 hack on a 2 big horse who tanked, i went back to a schoolmaster and built up confidence again to hack cloud(although it wasnt her!)
 

Nicnac

New Member
Jan 2, 2008
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Devon
Hi everyone

Just wanted to put an update on here. After that episode, I booked myself a private hack on my loan pony, and had a fantastic time - we did some wonderful canters and even went up some cross country steps - and my confidence returned! The only problem is control, when we're on specific canter tracks, he just will not listen, although I'm learning to sit right back in the saddle. We were out with someone else this week and he decided to overtake (the other horse bucks so not good) then decided he just would not go second - bucked and made a fuss, so we carried on till we got to the final field - where they all love a canter. Well, I held him for so long as the other rider was leading hers, and then I dont know whether he got spooked by a butterfly round his head or what, but he literally launched into a gallop. Apparently they never walk up these tracks so of course he just wanted to go. I was worried about the other rider though, so I guess I just need to get him to listen to me a bit more. But the weird thing is, I wasnt phased, I would have been quite happy to gallop him, it is such a wierd feeling! I'm sure I will have lots of wobbles, but I'm determined to persevere with him and I'm feeling so much more relaxed in the saddle. Its like an internal switch! I just hope it carries on!:D

Thanks for all the comments guys...:)
 

Lucy J

Weaver's Tale aka Ciara!!
Dec 5, 2001
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havent read all the responses(sorry) however RS ponies tend to know where and when the canter spots are and are ready before you are. Can you take this pony out alone? If so then make a point of walking over all the canter spots, circle, trot, rein back, canter - keep it varied - when my horse was young at the end of the canter stretch home I would make her stop, rein back and walk round a pylon and sometimes kept her in walk the whole way so she never anticipated things. (I am a nervous rider) if you can only go out in the group and are nervous then i would suggest not trying to fight the pony as if they know where to canter they generally also know when the end of the canter is and reduce their speed accordingly!
 
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