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[RC] fear/riding trails - Mary Krauss

A friend of mine has been riding dressage in an arena for years. She rides pent-up, HUGE horses that I would be terrified of: when they buck or leap, which seems to happen at the outset of every ride, they seem to be trying to go over the moon. She is an excellent rider and their antics don't turn a hair on her head. This same rider is terrified of going outside the arena. She has not, in fact, ever ridden outside the arena. I need a rider for my second horse so have great interest in luring her out of her comfort zone. Our first effort is going to be to take a "hike" at Lords' Hill, a local riding park, while leading my gentlest horse. We're both hoping that she will casually climb on for a minute or two once we're out there in the quiet of the trees. I've promised not to worry if we wind up returning without her having climbed aboard.

I can imagine it's really scary to go outside where it feels as though anything can happen, but, the other side of this story is that I, myself, truly fear riding in an arena. I've done it many times for dressage lessons, would like to do it more, but am truly uncomfortable/ill-at-ease/nervous riding in a rectangle, enclosed or not. What's with that? I can't figure out what I'm afraid of. In keeping with what others have been saying about taking it slow, I'm going to decide that it's ok not to canter at all for a while. Mind you, I don't mind cantering through trees, around rocks, over muddly areas--but those corners in an arena give me the willies. Anyone out there have anything else to add in the way of advice?

Mary K.
Relieved to have discovered the limitless arena of endurance riding....


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