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Franklin Levinson's

Horse Help Center

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Rider fears galloping

Hi Franklin,

I am in need of some help with my horse, or actually me as a rider. I have had my horse, a 10 yr old Appaloosa, for a little over a year. I became a new horse owner and rider at the age of 36 after being a horse lover all my life. He is very stubborn and some rides are good ones and some are not so good. I know many of the problems are because of my confidence levels and inexperience. What I need to overcome currently is my fear of loping, or galloping. I cannot find my seat, or feel secure enough at a lope. I went on our second trail ride last weekend and Rascal bucked me off while I was holding him back to a trot. The kids that were on the ride with us run ahead of the adults and my horse didn't want to be left behind. What made the ride worse, was that they would get ahead of everyone and I'd have to hold Rascal back, then they would stop and let us catch up to them, then off again. It was the first time I had fallen off a horse and luckily I didn't get hurt too bad. I have read many of your posts and will start intensive ground work to bond more with him, but do you have any ideas on how I can get over my fear of doing anything more than walk or trot? I love him and I know he loves me too on the ground. I have got to find a way to get in sync with him as a rider.

Thank you for your time,
Missy and Rascal

Hi Missy,

First off you need to set rules for riding with other people, especially the kids who put you in serious jeapordy with extremely unacceptable, immature, dangerous and rude equestrain behavior. There is to be absolutely no running off ahead of other riders! They should not be allowed to ride if they cannot be thoughtful and mature riders. This is your responsibility to make those rules and stick to them. This is normal accepted and correct behavior when multiple riders are out on the trail. Also, if another rider is off their horse adjusting tack or at a gate, or whatever, all riders stay together. THIS IS A MUST AND THE ONLY WAY TO SAFELY HAVE MULTIPLE RIDERS OUT TOGETHER.

Here are a few simple suggestions to improve your riding confidence and abilities: take a few lessons on a reliable, easy going school horse. Have the riding instructor lunge the horse while you are on its back. Your hands will be free of reins and this will quickly help you develop your balance, 'seat' and ability to stay centered on the horse without needing to control the horse at the same time. This will vastly improve your confidence level. Once you get comfortable on the 'school' horse, take some lessons on your own horse. Get even more comfortable at the walk and trot and gradually you will begin to lope (slow canter) off and develop confidence at the canter and even faster canters and gallops. This way you will "get in sync" with your own horse as a rider. You can do this, but absolutely set safe rules for riding out on the trails. That is a MUST DO!

Good Luck and most sincerely yours, Franklin

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