Its not always easy, is it? Getting back in the saddle?
Gone are the days when you could bounce back, leap back up and carry on with the ride! Maybe even have a laugh about how daft you were to.....(insert your own answer!)
These days a fall can leave you shaken, bruised and if you're really unlucky with some serious injuries. It doesn't even have to be a recent fall. My last 'serious fall' was over 10 years ago but I can still re-live it vividly!
It's so difficult not to! You have flash backs and get an adrenaline rush just going through the moments before you fell, playing it over & over! Your mind then 'sees' the pictures and you feel anxious every time you think about riding your horse. Why does my brain not play back all the fun, happy times I've had riding I ask myself. Sound familiar?
We know that it's our mind trying to 'protect us'. We are aware that the mind can't tell the difference between something real and an imagined/remembered event. We've all heard of NLP haven't we? Haven't we; Neuro Linguistic Programming? Have you ever tried it? I have.
And it does help. But you have to keep doing it; listening to the recording, or whatever method you use.
What else can we do to get back in the saddle?
Despite back protectors, hats and proper riding boots, what else can we do to help ourselves?
Here are my Top 5 Tips for Getting back in the saddle:
1. Take it slowly. Maybe just sitting on your horse is enough for the time being. Don't pressure yourself. If you feel like doing more, then great! But remember to stop whilst it's still enjoyable. Just like when we're training our horses!
2. Have a reliable person on the ground until you feel more confident. It needs to be someone who understands the situation and knows what you need in that moment. It's no good for your confidence if your 'helper' isn't aware that you might need her/him to grab the rein in a split-second because a big tractor is approaching! You don't want to have to ask, you need them to 'know' and act because when you panic, you freeze and you won't have time to articulate your needs.
3. If it's been awhile, have some lunge-lessons to build up your confidence, balance and core-strength. Remind your body that it know how to ride! Get familiar with the 'muscle-memory' of riding, without worrying about all the other stuff.
4. Carry a lead rope when you go out hacking (I like to take my 12' rope, looped up and attached to my saddle) Then you can get off at any point and a 12' rope is long enough to keep you out of danger.
5. Use a neck strap/rhythm beads; a neck strap really does help, having something to grab in those 'Oh Shoot!' moments. And rhythm beads because they have such a calming influence on both horse & rider.
I could keep going but I'm sticking with 5. May be you have some top tips to share? Feel free to add yours in the comments below.
We spend so much time, energy and not to mention money on our horses, we really have to get back in that saddle!