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Ask Dale - Have You Ever Been Afraid to Get on Your Horse?


Hey Dale!

I just had a question for you. Have you ever been afraid of horses? I've never had this issue with client horses, but for some reason it has become a problem with personal horses. My first horse was a lease horse and he was a spooky one. He spooked and bolted a lot under saddle and I lost a lot of confidence then. I got over my fear then by working with other horses, but I was never able to ride that particular horse again without feeling nervous. Now I'm afraid to ride my current horse after he jumped sideways as I was getting on and I fell off. I've fallen off of him before but it didn't effect me the way it has after this particular fall. I haven't ridden him since as everytime I try, my heart starts pounding and it makes him nervous. We have lots of fun working from the ground, but this is starting to really bring me down. Luckily I don't have any client horses at the moment and probably won't be taking any til Spring, but I don't think it would be wise to work with clients if this is still an issue when the time comes. Do you have any suggestions?


Yes! Absolutely! I've been afraid a lot and still am. It's totally normal. Your brain is trying to protect you. My suggestion is to do everything you can to stack the odds in your favor. Make sure the horse is very confident and comfortable. Simulate mounting in various situations to make sure your horse is solid before getting on yourself. If he's showing any stress signals, don't do it. If you're stressed out, don't do it. It's ok to not get on. Coming off a horse multiple times means there's an issue. I think it also means it's more likely to happen again. Your horse is having a lousy experience during mounting and learning it's scary too. That needs to be resolved first or maybe it's unresolvable.


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