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Re: [RC] Using TTOUCH/TEAM methods to improve relationship with horse (long) - Stephanie E Caldwell

Karen,

I've not used TTOUCH/TEAM in coming back from a severe fall, but I went
through this eight years and two weeks ago after falling in a Dressage
lesson and ending up with a severe concussion. It took three months to make
myself go back to the barn, and I started off in group lessons with my old
hunter trainer. After the first lesson I was so terrified I was sick, so the
next week she assigned me the same little ArabX that was very spirited.
After about five minutes I rode into the center of the arena, handed her my
reins and told her I was quitting. She told me that I couldn't quit, it
wasn't allowed. I ended up riding one of the beginner lesson horses to get
my confidence back, and it took me six months to canter again, 9 months to
jump. I still have flashbacks and lose my confidence, not often, and not
usually over a fall. The worst thing is seeing someone else fall, or I'll
remember some detail from my fall that I'd never remembered before while out
riding.

My fall was just a simple thing of getting off balanced at the canter, horse
ran away. I was in a large arena, and when Dixie got the the fence she
pivoted one way and I went the other. I missed the wood fence by about an
inch and landed on my back. Not knowing anything was wrong they made me get
back on and finish the lesson, I ended up in ER overnight with my
concussion. When I started over I couldn't even handle the trot, muchless
canter. Before this fall I was the kid who rode anythign and everything,
didn't think before my tail hit the saddle. I never got my fearlessness
back, and it's probably a good thing! I did go on to jump 4', ride up to
Prix St George, run rodeo, work cows, but I think more before I do it now.
And, even though my current mare is a nutcase, knowing my horse and being
able to read her gave me a huge confidence booster.

When I first started trail riding I was the worlds worst about clutching
onto the horses mouths at the canter, so I started riding with a lead rope
attached to either a halter or breastcollar ring, then I could clutch as
hard as I wanted to and not bother my horse. I still resort to this when I
have insecure days, it's like a little security blanket for me.

When I first came back my confidence horse was an older QH/Percheron, one of
the largest horses on the farm. But, I could feel very confident he wouldn't
hurt me since he was the handicapped horse. He's the reason I got my
confidence back. Nova regularly carried kids with Autism, MS, MD, all sorts
of physical and mental problems. For a good month we just walked around the
arena with the otehr girls trotting, canter, and jumping in lessons, having
a horse like that under me was what I had to have. If I lost my confidence
now, even though I love my Star I'd go lease me a horse like Nova. When I
eventually started trotting and cantering he was right there, solid as
always. It never failed that if I got even slightly off balanced he'd
gradually slow down to a halt so I could readjust, once I was ready he'd
pick his gait back up. I went on to succesfully show Nova in local hunter
shows, both flat and jumping classes.

Visualization worked for me once I graduated to catch riding, again. I'd
mount up, and sit in the middle of the arena for two or three minute
visualizing my plan for the day and how the horse would probably react.
Seeing in my minds eye me dealing with spooks, refusals, bolts, etc... and
succesfully staying on really helped me regain confidence in my riding.

Another major hurdle for me was my first fall after The Fall. I didn't come
off again for over 5 years, but falling was always my greatest fear. My
riding buddies had several nicknames for me because I was so talented for
staying on top of the horse, my favorite was Velcro Butt. My best acrobatic
feat for staying on was when the horse I was riding refused a jump, I
cartwheeled off onto the standard, went over the standard, and landed on the
horse, still cantering on the other side. What I would give for a video of
that! But, I never hit the dirt. My second fall happend not long after I
bought Star, and I fell apart after it, but regained my confidence very
quickly. It was a green horse runaway, but my stirrup slid off my saddle and
I ended up coming off. When I realized that I didn't get injured, other than
bruised from landing on gravel and that I could live through a fall and not
be hurt like I was in my first one, that was a turning point for me. Last
summer I fell off daily while learning to run poles and barrels, bareback
like a kid! And, I didn't have a bit off problems with my confidence, my
knees are another story, though.

When I first started trail riding I was the worlds worst about clutching
onto the horses mouths at the canter, so I started riding with a lead rope
attached to either a halter or breastcollar ring, then I could clutch as
hard as I wanted to and not bother my horse. I still resort to this when I
have insecure days, it's like a little security blanket for me.

Good luck coming back, I know how devestating it can be!
Steph



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Replies
[RC] Using TTOUCH/TEAM methods to improve relationship with horse (long), Karen Casemier