Shaken Spirit

Horse & Rider - - We Hear You - BETSY BURTON, Delaware CRAIG MIRON, Virginia HANNI THURN, Utah

In “Set­backs & Come­backs” ( From the Ed­i­tor, Novem­ber 2016), Ed­i­tor Jen­nifer Paul­son de­tailed her son’s first buck­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and over­com­ing his shaken spirit. I found my­self in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion with a new horse.

Af­ter 4 months of bliss, I no­ticed some changes. Spook­ing at noth­ing, re­sis­tance. I couldn’t see any ob­vi­ous lame­ness or pain is­sues, and nei­ther did my trainer. On the day of the fate­ful ride, he didn’t want to move into a jog; I had to press. Then I asked for a lope and ended up on the ground. It hap­pened so fast, and it was such a fierce buck, that it left me con­fused—and out of breath. It had been 24 years since I had hit the dirt, and I just felt aw­ful.

It led to many vet vis­its to di­ag­nose what was wrong. My sweet geld­ing had Lyme dis­ease, which can cause swollen joints, neu­ro­log­i­cal is­sues, and hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity.

My horse has been suc­cess­fully treated, and I am happy to re­port is

very healthy. I, on the other hand, have not re­ally re­cov­ered men­tally. I find it hard to re­lax on my horses now. I sit too far for­ward, clench when I ask for the next gait, and overthink ev­ery move. It’s very frus­trat­ing, be­cause I’ve al­ways been a con­fi­dent rider, but it’s just not been as easy as telling my­self to “get over it.”

But I won’t give up. I keep rid­ing, and keep try­ing to build my con­fi­dence slowly. Be­fore ev­ery ride, I prom­ise my horses that if they try to tell me they’re not feel­ing well, I’ll lis­ten. E-mail your let­ters to Horse­andRider@ aim­me­dia.com. Or, send them to Horse&Rider, 5720 Flat­iron Pkwy., Boul­der, CO 80301. To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, your sub­mis­sion must in­clude your full name and your state. Pub­lished let­ters are sub­ject to edit­ing for brevity, clar­ity, and ac­cu­racy. know; I was one of them. Un­less rid­ing jumpers, I wore a cow­boy hat. Then my wife al­most died in a rid­ing ac­ci­dent (no hel­met), and I fig­ured she used up all her luck and mine, too, sur­viv­ing a ter­ri­ble head in­jury. Now I’m al­ways in a hel­met, whether rid­ing or driv­ing my guys.

If you want a kid to wear a hel­met, con­vince his fa­ther to. Want to grow old with your hus­band? Con­vince him to wear a hel­met.

Bro­ken Bones and Con­fi­dence

Three years ago I got bucked off by a horse. It broke my knee and my con­fi­dence in a big way. A book called Rid­ing Fear Free has helped me get back on the horse. A great horse is also a must to help in the con­fi­dence de­part­ment.

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