Recommend books/DVDs for a nervous rider?

Jessey

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My friend is relatively novice and has been unlucky enough to have a few bad falls a couple of years ago, In June we got attacked by horse flys, her horse bucked, she landed on his neck, bailed out but tried to hold on to the reins and hit the ground hard though walked away with just a few bruises, since then she gets nervous about any change, even if the poles in the school move she has a wobble but her horse picks up on her wobbles and it's stopping them getting back to their pre fall confidence, she will hack him and school him in walk and trot but canter has become a massive issue unless it is done in a very controlled way and then she is totally fine with it.

We (her RI and I) have been taking it slowly and setting her up to succeed on every ride but her nerves kick in out of the blue and it sets her back again, last weekend I was going to canter ahead of her as I often do and she got nervous and rushed to canter behind (tight hands and booted him into it) resulting in her horse bucking and her nerves shot again, I turned her round and had her canter back and forth 4 times without issue but I know next time we ride she'll be a bag of nerves again which in turn makes the horse antsy and the cycle continues. This horse isn't being nasty, he is just a sensitive tb trying to tell her it's not ok.

Any suggestions on reading or DVDs that might help her?
 

ponylover88

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How often is she riding? And doing the anxiety triggering events? I'm a nervous rider who can talk herself out of pretty much anything, and wouldn't even go over a pole on the floor for fear of falling, but now I'll jump up to about 75cm happily on Gem, and C. Haven't jumped another horse recently to tell you how I'd feel, however C isn't mine and I've only jumped her 3 times, all 3 times at a show doing 60 and 70.

Try and get her focus off the problem, however do not keep asking if she's ok etc, just get her to tell you what the problem is in her mind, and then how that could go wrong. Ask what are the chances of it going wrong, and then ask her whether it's more likely to go ok and to plan etc. get her to really vocalise her thoughts and fears and I think she may realise that her fears are mostly avoidable (unwarranted to a degree, however fears are true and very real).

I can't recommend any DVDs etc however if she's going to YHL this year I'm sure I've read there's a demo on confidence issues (iirc but I stand corrected if not!)
 

Jessey

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She rides 4 times a week, up to 3 hours out at the weekends with me, she did the massive ride with me in July, we did almost 30 miles a day. The wobbles happen sometimes on the 3rd or 4th canter into a single ride, generally when there isn't much conversation and she thinks too much about things!

We've been working on her confidence for 2 years as she used to go foetal which resulted in coming off all too often, she's now good at sitting up and on her bum and has only come off this horse that once and she's had him almost a year. I always ask if she's ready to trot/canter but IMO that's just polite when hacking with anyone and she knows she can always say no, other than that we don't dwell on her fears too much and she is fine once in the canter.

The horse will buck if she gets rigid in her hands and/or boots him into the canter, the bucks aren't small (are more of an objection than a 'I'm gonna put you in the dirt' type thing) but she's sat them well and even the once she came off it was because she was pulling and as he bucked she pulled herself out of the saddle not really a direct result of the buck and she knows that but the bucks unnerve her even none the less. But if we decide to do a walk trot only hack she then worries if she doesn't canter for just one ride she will totally loose her nerve to try next time or finds something else to fixate on, she even managed to get him to buck in walk on one ride just by tensing up so much.

We are going to YHL, will check for the confidence demo, thanks
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Perhaps you could look for something like an NLP practitioner near you who could help her reprogramme her head. There was an interesting thread about this started by Mary Poppins not long ago and I think MP got a good result from the work she did.
 

Jessey

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Perhaps you could look for something like an NLP practitioner near you who could help her reprogramme her head. There was an interesting thread about this started by Mary Poppins not long ago and I think MP got a good result from the work she did.
There is one who's very good (another friend uses her) but I think it's £80 a pop and this friend isn't rolling in it having just got on the property ladder this year.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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That's a shame. She might try an NLP tape or publication: there are loads on Amazon but I can't make any personal recommendations. There is this one by Ian McDermott: he taught me NLP and I know he is good, but I don't know if it will hit the spot for her. It's tricky because there are so many and people respond to different instructors.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boost-Your-...id=1413737997&sr=8-14&keywords=NLP+confidence

If she has a Kindle this one looks like value for money!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/little-effe...3738154&sr=8-1&keywords=confidence+for+riders
 

squidsin

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If she can afford it (it's £240), the Rider Confidence Course at the Horseback Combat Centre is fantastic and has made a huge difference to my confidence. You learn how to fall safely, which is obviously a big deal if your main fear is coming off. I still have blips but am generally OK and can get on and do everything now. It helps that I have a brilliant, calm horse. It sounds like your friend is doing OK though - she is cantering on hacks! If she has the odd step back, so long as she's still basically going forward, that's fine, and it sounds as if she's getting brilliant support from you and her RI. TBH I feel that will help her more than any DVD or book.
 

Jessey

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I thought about that squidsin, so having done some trick riding myself I'm going to get her hanging off and dismounting at all speeds, my logic being if she feels she can control a 'separation' perhaps she will feel better about it, guess I will play crash test dummy to make sure her horse will tolerate it first though. And there is an RS near by that does vaulting lesson at a reasonable fee so I might get her one for Xmas.

We have also come up with another plan this evening, the use of a nursery rhyme to make sure she takes her time preparing for the transition before the actual ask :p Singing helped/s her relax in canter so it might work for her
 
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Mary Poppins

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I have been very up and down with my hacking confidence over the years. I have tried many different approaches to try and combat them, but at the end of the day it's all down to the trust between horse and rider and the confidence that the rider has to deal with difficult situations. The rider has to have trust in the horse and vice versa, and if that trust has been broken (like your friends has), it simply takes time and repetition with lots of positive experiences to get it back. There are no quick fixes and while the confidence courses can help to an extent, they are no magic cure.

I attended an excellent NLP course which has completely wiped out the memory of a nasty bolting incident which I felt was holding me back. I was hopeful that this would mean that I could start to hack out happily, but the very next day after my course I attempted to go for a hack and Ben spooked, spun 180% and I fell off on the tarmac (it was a private road, but still a road!). It was an unlucky accident and in hindsight it was because Ben lacked confidence hacking after not really doing it for over 2 years. But it made me realise that I was pushing myself to do something that neither Ben or I really wanted to do, I was doing it because I felt like we should go hacking as everyone else seems to enjoy it. He has a very varied working life - we have access to several huge (20 acre plus) fields that I happily ride over and do fast work on. We showjump, do cross county, attempt dressage, go showing and take a trip out every weekend. Yet, I used to beat myself up over the fact that I found it hard to walk him down a road.

So (in my longwinded way) my advice for your friend is to really ask herself what she wants to achieve from her riding and why? Does she really want to go cantering on hacks, or does she feel that she has to do this because you enjoy it? If she really does want to do it, she needs to build her confidence up slowly and gradually by making sure each outing is as positive as it can be. If she doesn't want to do, she shouldn't do it. Life is too short.x
 

Jessey

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After lots of talking about what the root of the problem was we concluded it was her rushing rather than asking and giving him the to respond that was causing the buck, which was making her nervous about coming off. So ive been drumming it into her to slow it down and ride her own ride, and today I said I would go with her down to the logs as she really does want to canter and jump etc, and with a few practises from trot which weren't great she stopped over thinking it and just did it, she cantered him over it, I know she wont mind me sharing
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squidsin

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Good for her! I don't canter on hacks yet - well, sometimes Roxy does a bit when we trot, but as yet I haven't let her power up a hill at full speed although I know she wants to. I will once I'm more relaxed about taking her out. All things in good time!
 

Cremola Foam

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Brilliant!

I had a big confidence block at the beginning of the year. I'd not been riding much due to weather and dark nights and he was getting really spooky and was knocking my confidence every time I rode. I decided in the new year I was going to do something about it and downloaded this book to my kindle (can't paste the link, it's calles ride with confidence ) it has excersises to do in it and you need to keep a journal. After a couple weeks I was feeling so much more confident about riding. And now although I still worry, I just use some of the techniques from the book. I've never read a self help book before but this one really changed how I was feeling about riding and my riding self.

Wish her all the best, confidence is such a fluid thing and I think I'll always struggle with mine.
 
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sjp1

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I think there are two kinds of confidence issues. Those that are unfounded where the horse is absolutely safe, and the rider has the issue, or those where actually the rider has the right to be worried. My Tobes is very unpredictable. Everyone at my yard says he is tricky and no-one else will ride him. He is quirky, but on a good day he is the best horse in the world, on a bad day, he is a nightmare!!!!

I would say that if your friend has an unpredictable horse, lessons are the way forward. No amount of DVD's or confidence courses are going to help because she knows her horse is unpredictable and she needs help to learn how to deal with how to handle those tricky situations. That will help her 100% more than all sorts of silly DVD's or CD's.
 

Jessey

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We had another set back yesterday, their first organised pleasure ride and he was generally very, very good (no sillyness, no eyes on stalks, no jogging or anything like that) but he got a little bit strong in trot, then she got irritated and jabbed him in the mouth and he bucked to show his objection. Then later on the way home we went to have a canter (we only walked and trotted with all the other horses around just in case as it was their first one) and he threw two huge bucks and it has totally scared her again although she sat them fine and didn't even nearly come off (I totally get being scared by this BTW), but she has now said she won't be riding with me anymore (or generally in company unless walking only) because of it as she just hasn't got the nerve to ride him through it (although she has already done it with him in the school and hacking alone and he now doesn't buck in these situations).

I am totally gutted, feel very much like its my fault although I know its not, I have done everything I possibly can to make every ride is successful for them and never do anything without checking with her that its okay before we do it. I'm also sad for myself too as I no longer have a hacking buddy and will now also be doing the last 50 miles of our Big Ride on my own later this month :( I just don't know what I can suggest to help her and she keeps asking me for help fixing the problem :( but honestly I think the problem is a) her riding on occasion (she is having lessons and has even been jumping since I first wrote this) and b) because he has learnt when he does it she just stops and will at best just walk him home after that...all of which I politely told her and she accepts is fair but she just can't find the nerve to push through it.
 

Chrisnscully

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If she really wants to get through this and rebuild her trust in the horse and increase her confidence then she needs professional help from someone who is skilled in dealing with this sort of situation - I would strongly recommend she at least talks to someone like Becky Chapman who offers confident rider courses to explore the options open to her. Becky is on the Essex / Suffolk border so not too far away - www.ashenec.co.uk

She may have to just accept that either the horse is not suited to her or the use she makes of it is limited to things that she feels safe doing. Confidence does not come easily but is easily shattered - definitely not your fault though!
 
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Jessey

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She is having lessons (I am not 100% confident this RI has her best interests at heart though, more just getting her jumping as thats what she said she wants to do rather than helping her basic skills before moving on to jumping) but the lessons have helped her confidence lots, I think half the reason she isn't going to ride out is because she feels much safer having lessons that going out now. I know she won't part with the horse, he is such a little super star 99% of the time, he is very genuine and really does look after her, even this bucking is more of a warning than a "get off my back" thing, its more of a cow kick for the most part, none the less its enough to unnerve her. Sigh, perhpas a winter of lessons will have her back on track for the spring.
 

Chrisnscully

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I doubt the lessons are going to be a complete solution, though they may help - my reading of this is that she has linked the bucks outside the school situation with a fear of injury to herself and/or the horse and it is that link that needs to be addressed. Most confidence courses use NLP (neuro linguistic programming) as a way of putting that link into perspective and thus allowing the individual to move forward to develop skills in their riding.
 
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Jessey

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She immediatly links anything that puts the willies up her to something she was happening at that moment (but not nec. the thing that caused it), he bucked in the school last december because she put her bridle back together with the french link on backwards and it wasn't until august she could go back in there when she started the lessons as she linked the bucking to being in the school, he still bucks in the school but it doesn't unnerve her in there now. He bucked when she was on her own a few times so for months she wouldn't hack alone and still won't canter in the places he bucked previously, now he's done it a few times out with me she won't ride with me, but I didn't make her horse buck. I think NLP would be well worth a try for her, I will mention it but honestly I think thats one of those things you have to decide to do yourself.
 

Chrisnscully

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Absolutely, but what it is called is totally irrelevant - it would probably be more acceptable just to persuade her to chat with Becky!
 
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