A couple of weeks ago I was riding a horse I've ridden maybe 50 times. He's lovely, good paces, tries really hard and is so sweet I have a real soft spot for him.
He can be nervy sometimes, and when he frightens himself he finds it hard to calm down again. A lot of people have fallen off him. My first fall from him was a good few months ago when the string on the end of my whip had unravelled. I got on and he felt it tickle his side and freaked out.
I was down to ride him the other day, put my foot in the stirrup, sat down and he bolted, at speed. I came off backwards and was unhurt apart from a sore side and sore pride.
But actually, that fall has bothered the shit out of me, because it was frightening, and because I don't know exactly why it happened. Theories are:
a) he may have caught something out of the corner of his eye that spooked him.
b) girth might have been too tight.
c) he was full of good grass, having escaped into the giant field and gorged himself.
It also bothered me because I felt like a crap rider for letting it happen, and because I wasn't able to get back on without help. Which sort of puts your ego firmly back in its box.
Which is where it belongs really. There's no place for ego with horses, it always ends in tears and humiliation.
After a mild existential meltdown I've decided that there is every likelihood that my confidence will return to its normal level if:
a) I keep riding.
b) I keep the fall in perspective (everyone falls off, and the more you ride the more likely it is that you will)
c) I take extra care when mounting to do so carefully, with my reins nice and short, and with my brain in gear in case anything does happen.
Riding horses can go wrong. And when it does you realise what a miracle it is that it doesn't happen more. When you get binned, you get a reality check. And it doesn't feel nice, but it does give you a chance to pause for thought and ask: "Is this worth it?"
The answer, for me, is always: "Yes."
Be happy x
Be happy x