February 5, 2014

Turning Tables

I haven't always been a timid rider. In fact, when I first got Ypke the possibility of falling off or getting injured had never even occurred to me. Weren't falls, spooks, and what not only in dramatic Saddle Club episodes? Weren't horses supposed to magically bond with you? You know what they say, ignorance is bliss.

After two major spooks (she is a "teleport 20 feet to the side" spooker) that involved me falling off, I was left as a timid rider. Suddenly, things that I used to do with no fear left me as stiff as a board. I no longer had a desire to canter, I no longer wanted to try anything new, and I preferred to ride Western for a false sense of security. Ypke quickly found that she could easily take advantage of me... which of course made me even more timid around her.

Eventually, I discovered the clicker training method and gradually built up my confidence with her again. Ypke is obsessed with food, so this method worked well for us considering how she couldn't get treats unless she was good. My confidence had been repaired, and I was ready to branch off and do new things with her.

My confidence was tested when I tried to ride her out in the pasture again. We were riding through some trees when she bolted/leaped several steps. I wanted to get off, but I refused to let myself quit.  Soon enough, we were both calmed down and trotting around the field.

My confidence is always rising and falling. I am still scared to canter, I am still scared to ride her in that corner of the arena, and I am hesitant to do a lot of other things. Of course, confidence is not something that grow to 100% in one day. I'm sure it will take many good rides, bad rides, and a lot of time until I am consistently confident with horses.

Throughout my time with Ypke, I have come to love her HUGE personality. Despite our differences, she has been teaching me a lot.


  1. I totally feel you! I've been going through similar issues with Shy. We love doing clicker training, too!

    1. Thank you! I'm glad I am not alone with these issues

  2. I'm glad you're a bit more confident than early. Confidence must be built gradually through success in different aspects of riding.

  3. Confidence is a fragile thing. It takes a lot to build it (unless you are a kid) but sometimes not much to tear it down. But, the trick is to just keep going and work through it. Sounds like you are doing just that. Good luck!


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