Friday, August 15, 2014

rides on reba

Remember when I had a panic attack on Shyloh?
The solution to help me get over my anxiety is to ride Reba. I mean, if I can ride a Shire, I can surely ride a Haflinger.

There are a few steps to riding a Shire. . .
1. Find a saddle with a flat tree. Because the back of a Shire is wiiiide.
2. Find a girth that is taller than you. Because the Shire is rooouuuund.
3. Find a ladder to get on the Shire. Because the Shire is taaaall.

Once all those steps have been completed, you can ride the Shire. 
Me and Reba!
Terry gave me lessons on her horse, which was super nice. Even though Reba is way out of my comfort zone height wise, I knew she was not going to do anything overly stupid. After I got used to the English saddle, her larger strides and her slight clumsiness, oh and then her bullheadedness, we were all good.

My main focus was to be able to ride a steady horse and work on my balance. So we did lots of exercises like walking around with my eyes closed and my arms out to the side, reaching up to Reba's super far away poll, leaning back in the saddle as far as I could, walking without reins and doing crazy arms, and putting my legs over on the same side of her in the saddle. I worked a lot on trying to not lean forward and I feel I was semi successful with this.

I also worked on adjusting to rein and leg pressure. I am not sure of anyone knows just how difficult is it to move a Shire when she doesn't want to move. Let my legs tell you, it is hard! And I am always a bit timid with my leg pressure because Shy is so sensitive. So I had to learn to use more pressure. Reba also responds differently than Shy, so I had to adjust my cues as well. 

Steering was also addressed, since Reba had a need to be on top of Terry at all times. Trying to steer her away was a chore, but I did it. We put out cones and boxes and used what we had to make a course for me and Reba to go through. 

Most of the lessons were in the round pen, one lesson was in the pasture (we put the other horses in the round pen). I felt that lesson was the worst, but Terry said it was the best. I think because after the balance exercises, I felt I had no goal, except to walk around the must larger space. And Reba did not want to walk. And, I believe Reba kept trying to knock me off on the tree branches. 

The longer I rode, the more relaxed I became. If we had a week's break between lessons (fair week), it was like starting back at square one. But even so, the initial couple minutes up on that horse sends me into a high anxiety mode. I think that is just the way it is going to be. It calms down after those first few minutes though, usually. I'd like to continue my lessons on Reba and also get Shy going. I think it will be good for all of us. 


  1. Anxiety can be very hard to deal with and I'm glad you found something to help you out.

  2. Wow! I've never ridden a draft before, I can't imagine how that feels. How cool!

  3. You look great on her! I often found riding a horse that belonged to someone else was far easier than worrying about riding my own. Yeah… stupid, but it worked! I took the other horses for granted and just assumed they would behave.

  4. Reba is TALL! I'd be anxious too feeling so far from the ground. It's great that you're working on building your confidence while riding another horse; it's the kind of thing that can do wonders for our minds!

    I love Terry's

  5. Anxiety is tough - sounds like you are coping very well. Good for you for working through it and finding solutions! Love the three steps to riding a Shire, lol! So true!

    1. I am trying. . .I really want to ride my own horse, but the anxiety is too much at the moment.

  6. So very awesome! Time and diligence will help you push through that wall of anxiety, I'm convinced.

    I do many of the same exercises you did with my lesson student when she actually wants a lesson. However, as you noted, taking time off makes it harder to get back in the saddle and be comfortable - something my student has issues with, too! I may not be a professional in most aspects of riding/teaching, but the mental part of it I totally have a grasp on because it's just the way I'm wired. I told my lesson student that if she really wanted to be more comfortable in the saddle, she'd have to do two things: ride all the time & do one uncomfortable-to-her thing each lesson (something as simple as riding bareback, riding without stirrups, riding with one hand on the reins, or asking for a few strides of trot - start with tiny things!). If you're always doing things you're comfortable with, you'll never get better at anything. Things that are hard or uncomfortable make us grow and learn; repeating uncomfortable things with more frequency leads to greater comfort with things over time!

    Maybe the same challenge would work for you? I told her to try to ride for a minimum 20 minutes every day and to do 1 uncomfortable thing each ride. Keeping a journal would also be a fun way to keep track of how small uncomfortable things become comfortable over time.

    You're right about riding a Shire, WAAAYYY up there - should make riding Shy a breeze! ;-) And OMG the leg aids to move a big horse, totally and completely empathize with that! My neighbor's Friesian X Perch are SO LAZY and wow do I hurt after riding them!

  7. That's a great thing to do! Good for you!!
    (i paid to take a lesson when I got JoJo, on a stranger's horse, just to see if it was JoJo, or all horses that gave me anxiety...)
    ( its' ME it seems)
    I still get anxious when we are getting ready to take them out for a ride, and he can sometimes a bit bouncy the first 15 minutes of every ride, but after that we settle into a groove a bit... and we just keep at it.... it's isn't always pretty ~ but we do it anyway!
    You go girl! Baby steps! (on big horses! ~ ha ha)

  8. I would love to ride a draft! Riding lazy horses is hard...riding a big and lazy horse must be VERY hard! :)


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