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Re: RC: cliffhangers

> i dont feel safe riding along narrow trails that drop off. anyone out
> there get over this fear? And how?

In theory, you may get used to it (unless you're like 
Barbara <grin>).

When I first started trail riding around here, my friend 
took me out on the Wendell Robie trail - across the canyon 
from the Foresthill-California Trail Barbara mentioned. My 
friend was saying things like "oh look, pretty view... oh 
look at the rafters down there on the river..." [seemingly 
several thousand feet down]. My horse wasn't used to trails, 
I wasn't used to trails, and I was sure that day that I was
going to die.

Funnily enough, I didn't die, and now those same drop-offs
don't bother me much at all - I didn't have much choice, 
there aren't many trails around here that *don't* have drop-

What worked for me, was to practise the "Square your shoulders, 
chin up, look ahead and SMILE" stance (used for all alarming 
sections of trail, especially scarey downhill things). That 
helped a lot. I think about how the horse has four legs and 
can actually stand on two without falling over, so if one 
foot goes over the edge, it doesn't mean he will. And I think 
about how clever he is with his feet (admittedly I think this 
less with my greenie mare, who isn't quite so clever, but 
she'll get there <g>).

The more trails like this you ride, the less you fixate on
the scariness of the drop-off, so the more relaxed you are, 
so the more relaxed your horse is, etc... etc... 

Look straight down the trail ahead. Remember to breathe. 

Don't look down at the drop-off and don't look down at 
the ground next to the horse's neck.

One problem with riding drop-offs is that, no matter how 
hard you try, you tend to subconsciously lean away from 
the drop-off, resulting in you telling the horse to move 
over closer to the edge (making you lean away further, etc). 

And if all else fails, like everyone said, get off and walk. 
Your legs could probably use the stretching anyway, eh?

(Funny thing - once I got comfy riding drop-offs on the
horse, I tried it on my mtn bike and was scared to death
and back to square one. Evidently I trust my horse's
capabilities far more than I do my own <grin> (no 
surprises there). I got off the bike and walked.)

Lucy Chaplin Trumbull
Repotted english person in the Sierra Foothills, CA

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