Horse Life

Discussion Board: Biggest Fears

When I came back to riding as an adult (at age 25), my immediate fear was falling off. My days of youthful invincibility were long behind me and I would find myself holding back on things that, as a kid/teen, wouldn’t have made me think twice, like cantering a fresh horse or raising a jump past itty bitty. As an adult/wife/mom, getting hurt means doctor’s bills, missing work, and making my family’s life quite a bit harder. And death would suck. So I’d let myself “go there,” and envision the consequences of taking a risk. And it limited me for a LONG time.

“Whoa, this trotting is out of control,” – Me, probably (circa 2010)

Enjoy this absolute blast from the past at my expense. This is EIGHT YEARS ago, on the first horse I owned, Jester. I think this was his second time jumping ever, but seriously…WTF am I doing?!

So anyway. Clearly Jester was a saint, right? But if he so much as looked at me sideways, I was all, “Better be safe and not ride.” Because clearly he was out for blood.

Like that time he toted my 3 year old around in his first leadline class. Total maniac.

Yep, my self-preservation instincts were incredibly high, to say the least. As long as I stuck to only doing safe stuff on safe horses, I’d be totally fine.

Then I broke my ankle JOGGING IN A GYM.

Clearly we’re meant to be. We even sync up our injuries

Really, though. My fears have definitely changed over the years, as I got comfortable with riding again. I no longer think about falling off or get freaked that my horse could spook. I don’t look at fences (ok, except tables) and think, “What if we crash and get hurt?”

Like when I FREAKED over this “table” at our first BN, then after it was all over, Amanda pointed out that it was an option #AdultAmmyProblems

Oooohhh no. That’d be way too rational of a fear. Instead, I make sure to keep things as mentally disabling as possible and instead have this nagging knot of doom in my stomach that I’ll never be any good.

No idea why I have this fear. Oh right. Because this was supposed to be a ONE STRIDE
I also specialize in getting left behind
But only if I’m not trying to make out with P’s neck. Because THAT’S a good look.

It took me two years of bopping P over things like this these…


…before I was comfortable with anything else. A lot happened in those 2 years that set us back and while logically I realize those were valuable lessons I learned (albeit, the hard way), I’m a bit resentful that I essentially wasted “so much” time.

Like when I finished this XC course with a huge smile on my face, and was then made fun of by my trainer at the time that it was “just starter.” Ya, totes helpful.

I remember the day the still-new-to-me-trainer-who-is-terrifyingly-better-than-I-will-ever-be set the below exercise and I almost fainted at the height:

And once I realized that this guy wasn’t going to spend lessons making fun of me or insinuating that the horse was so much better than I was, I starting filling that role on my own and continuously put myself down. I’d do it to take the sting out of messing something up, but I’m starting to see that while yes, it’s ok to make fun of yourself, moderation is key. I have the tendency to take things way too seriously, so I swung the exact opposite way, which, turns out, is just as unhelpful.

Me, always

Because (takes deep breath)… while riding is and always will be just a hobby for me, I do want to move onwards and upwards. Do bigger and more technical things. So I stopped looking at jumps and telling myself how large they were. Sometimes that meant not looking at the jump altogether (#survivaltactics), but it mostly meant making a conscious effort to be less self-deprecating. When I’d get directed to ride a certain exercise that looked daunting, instead of saying something like, “Ok, watch this me screw this up royally,” I’d swallow any sarcastic response and just say, “Ok.”

Props to me: I DO have excellent eq while riding blind in a T-Rex suit.

And for while, P & I were definitely headed in an upward trajectory.

I got braver about pushing myself out of my comfort zone while riding on my own:

Like when I set jumps to 3′ without thinking

Buckled down in lessons, including switching to working solely with Trainer B to help fill in some foundational/dressage holes we had:


FINALLY started riding more forward:


Dragged P to jumper shows so I could get some additional course time over larger fences:


And when P got injured, I tried to stay in riding shape with BO’s awesome guy, S.


Which worked for a couple months. I even took him to his first ever HT at BN, which alone was a huge mental win for me, considering it had taken me 2 years to get there with my own horse.


But S found himself on stall rest along with P after a series-of-unfortunate events involving a joint injection gone wrong and a confrontation with a copper head.

Because gray horses suck

And I found myself despairing again.

So I’m back in my hole of I’ll-Never-Be-Any-Good, as irrational as it may be, and will probably remain here until I can get back to doing anything besides w/t around an arena for 35 minutes.

So in the meantime, since misery loves company, I’ve GOT to know:

What’s YOUR biggest fear?


42 thoughts on “Discussion Board: Biggest Fears”

  1. falling off is mine….or having a horse take off with me. But since i never ride lately i have no fears 🙂 HA HA HA

    OMG i would kill to have Jester (mostly because he is cute as bejesus and has my name for a name hahaha)…

    laughing at the gray horse sucks and the photo hilarious.

    I think you are right to be positive and not self deprecating all the time (I do this too). And you and P will get there sooner rather than later I know it!!


    1. Falling off totally sucks! So does being taken off with. Jester was the absolute cutest and he was a serious angel. I look back at all the flopping around I did on him and I have no idea why he never threw me off 😂😂

      Sooner or later we’ll be doing the things! And you too, once your mud farm dries up 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My biggest fear is that explosion spook where all hell breaks loose and you’re on a run-away bucking horse. Every single ride I think that is going to happen and only in lessons does my coach get me past that point and into a comfortable groove and thinking about jumps and equitation rather than survival.


    1. The mental state when riding alone vs riding with a trainer is so weirdly different. I’m the same way in that I can imagine all these terrible things happening at home but when someone is with me it’s like I have no fear 😂 But yeah…running away on a bucking horse is seriously no bueno!


  3. I like this discussion! I can be extremely self-depreciating as well, and it took a good few years for me to break through that mental wall of being that way. Now though, my biggest fear is not being the rider a horse needs, or making a decision to correct something that didn’t need to be corrected and causing the horse to get extremely upset. I always feel that I’ll cause them the baggage they’ll carry with them forever and ever, and I won’t be able to fix my mistake. I know I’m an ammy, and I won’t get everything right all the time but I still worry that’ll happen. It’s not as bad as it used to be that’s for sure, but the worry can still be there if I don’t make sure I remind myself to give me a break since I’m only human lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg I feel you! Like you’re going to ruin every horse you touch- I totally get it! Adult Ammy’s Unite! 😂😂 We’re not as bad as we could be, I guess??

      Although judging from that video you posted of your last lesson, I seriously doubt you need to be worried about any of that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve worked really, REALLY hard to not talk down about myself. I’m realistic, but if I say something negative, I also have to say something positive. It’s really hard, but the more you do it, the easier it gets.


    1. I like that- evening out the negative with a positive! Definitely going to remember that.

      Sometimes it’s fun to laugh at yourself- and I think it’s healthy also. Just not in the extreme!


  5. I think my biggest riding fear is my horse falling with me. It started with Stampede falling with me in 2007. Stampede then developed his back issue which often led to tripping and we had several close calls over the years. It got better when he was fit but worse when he had time off. It was part of the reason he retired when he did, I was trying to bring him back to work and his tripping was the worst it had ever been. The husband and I had a discussion and decided it wasn’t worth it or safe when we already had Stampede’s retirement planned in a couple months.
    I still have a tendency to analyze the ground I’m riding on (ie look down) and already had a fear of riding in a muddy ring (I’ve noticed many other bloggers actually are at barns that don’t seem to allow riding in mucky conditions which is interesting) before Maestro tripped/slipped and fell with me last year in a slightly muddy ring. I definitely avoided riding some days or in certain places for a while after that!


    1. Holy crap, that’s definitely something to be afraid of. My barn owner had the same sort of thing with her old horse- horse would trip over any sort of pole/tiny jump so she just completely stopped with any of it. Better safe than push it!

      It’s so hard to break out of those habits also!


      1. The first time he actually stepped in a sinkhole (in an arena no less) and fell so not his fault. Almost all of his tripping for his back was at the trot and not jumping sadly. Would have loved to have been able to keep him as a flat only horse for longer. Definitely better to be safe than sorry, no matter how hard the decision was!

        Ugh habits die hard!


  6. “Like when I finished this XC course with a huge smile on my face, and was then made fun of by my trainer at the time that it was “just starter.” ” This sentence makes me so incredibly sad. Victories come in different shapes and sizes, and a trainer of all people should know that.

    But anyway, my biggest fear is making a mistake that gets my horse hurt. Or making so many that I ruin his golden heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, one of those hard lessons learned (that took longer for me to learn than I care to admit 😂): just because you’ve ridden at the top levels does NOT mean you’re a good instructor.

      It’s so easy to think you’re ruining a horse (oh boy, do I know) but H and you are a match made in heaven. And he’s so athletic it’s insane. Presto has some big shoes to fi!


  7. Fear sucks and I live there on the daily. First, I’d love to punch your trainer in the face for making fun of your joy at finishing starter. Dude, I’ll be excited to finish amoeba level and that is 18″. Shame on people for not celebrating with others.

    But I get this entire post way way too much. I was fearless as a kid, but coming back its harder. I run a business, have a family. I need a fully functional body and not coming home from a horse adventure and missing out on seeing my kiddo grow up just plain isn’t an option. But….I want to improve. I want to be able to do 2’3″ courses and run BN some day. It means finding the right horse (which I really believe I have if he can stop injuring himself) and sucking it up a little. Trusting myself that I actually do know how to ride. I may not know the finer points of lead changes, shoulder ins and the what not, but I can get over 18″ jumps without it being cataclysmic.

    Anyway…I feel you. You are amazing out there dong what you do and conquering all your fears. With all the hard work you have put in, I’m sure once you get back to it and P is all cleared it won’t take long before you are even better than when you left off.


    1. Bahaha, yeah, lesson learned (even though it took way longer than it should): just because you’ve been a top level rider does NOT mean you can teach. At least teach me.

      If H would just cooperate body wise, I totally think you guys could easily do BN. Or whatever level you WANT to do. I can’t wait for your first HT- I will have champagne waiting for you through the finish flags!

      And you DO know how to ride. It’s so easy to look at videos/pictures and cringe but that’s because we’re so self-critical. I’ve seen you ride in person- you definitely don’t give yourself enough credit!


  8. ugh i so feel you on this. every single bit of it. i’m the same way about my riding, and those unexpected interruptions really really really mess with my head space and mental game. the mind can be such a cruel place sometimes 😦

    it’s all peaks and valleys for me with my confidence in riding. tho i try not to think of the valleys as “wasted time” bc that’s just more negative talk that doesn’t help me keep climbing. rather, things just take the amount of time they need, and everything always feels infinitely better when i start feeling my strength coming back in the saddle after a long time off.


    1. The mind is the worst! I’m like, “I’m a grownup, I have it all together,” and my brain is like, NOPE.

      It makes much more sense to not think of those interrupted times as wasted, and I totally agree it’s not helpful in the slightest. That’s why I’ve tried to manipulate my budget a million different ways to accommodate a second horse but each time I tried, my financial spreadsheet literally laughed at me 😓


  9. Everything. Since I broke my back in a fall when mounting to go for a trail ride in a western saddle, everything is terrifying. Jumping XC is more terrifying, but just mounting, walking, being on a horse is a fear. Thanks for sharing yours. I make a point of sharing my fears in my blogging – probably too much really- but a lot of blogs I read are only positive and I think seeing both sides is really helpful.


    1. Goodness, I’d sure say you have a legit reason to be terrified. So many major props to you for continuing to get back on (and rock it with that cheeky little devil, Levi!). I love your blog also, as it’s one of the more “real” ones!


  10. I really really really would like to avoid falling with horse. It’s part of my obsession with super neat front ends (no leg hangers for me) and anything that doesn’t care where it’s feets go. I know it’s part of riding to trip and such, but every time my heart is in my throat!

    Someday when I grow up/or some balls I want to do baby starter eventing 🙂


    1. Definitely- always a huge NO to leg hangers! Tripping can definitely be terrifying- you need a TB!

      And you can totally do baby starter eventing! If Cambrie doesn’t beat you to it! 😂😂


  11. So many feels about this post! Like many who have already commented- I agree that trainer was a loser and I am glad you ditched them. We should always be smiling when riding, regardless of what level we’re going.
    I try not to think about what I am scared of. I ride so much better if I don’t know something might be tough or dangerous. I am scared of rotational falls. And of ruining my horse. I am really really scared that I am going to ruin June.


    1. Oh ya, one of those hard lessons I had to learn about the horse industry (and one that took way longer than it should’ve): just because you’re an UL rider does NOT mean you’re good at teaching!

      You are NOT going to ruin June. You’re too good of a rider (ummm I’ve SEEN the videos of you on Macy!) and too smart of a horsewoman to ruin her.

      That being said, I’m totally afraid I ruined my OWN horse so I completely understand the feeling!


  12. I’m afraid of injuring myself and being majorly hurt, especially when it comes to my left knee (I hyperextended it when i was 14 and it will still randomly pop out of joint). Sometimes even getting on my horse freaks me out b/c I see myself accidentally twisting to much and my knee popping out leaving me crippled forever. Not being able to 100% rely on my knee definitely keeps me super cautious b/c just 1 wrong step can leave me sidelined for a month or more. One thing I have found that has really helped my bravery overall is my fitness level. The fitter I am the braver I feel b/c I feel like if something happens I have a better chance of staying on my horse. It just isn’t an easy road to get fit fast!!! But I do think once you and P are back in the swing of things you’ll quickly get back to where you were bc you have such a great trainer and left off near a super high note (yeah Novice speed demon!)


    1. Oh yeah- you and your knee! Definitely something that would make me hesitate as well. When I first started riding after breaking my ankle it felt SO FRAGILE, so always having it in the back of your mind sucks.

      Hopefully the speed demon will return to Novice soon so we can gather a few more speed faults for his resume 😂😂


  13. I have had a string of bad luck with horses since 2014.

    My horse was kicked in the leg and had it broken, the next one I did a full PPE on and they failed to pick up chronic laminitic changes, the third one was a lease horse but she had chronic too and I decided to cut my losses and send her home before I lost even more money at the vet and then Bumper.

    For the first 6 months it felt like all the bad luck had been worth it. I was jumping again and I had a horse I trusted with my whole heart and then we even competed for my first time in 4 years (in eventing).

    And then the ulcers hit, and the leg swelling, and then more ulcers and this muscle tear, which is apparently one of the worst ones my vet has ever seen (not to mention some underlying chronic issues stemming from racing he just tried his best to work through).

    Now I feel like everything I touch turns to crap. My genuine, honest, special baby horse isn’t keen to do work anymore because rehab is both boring and sometimes really really hard work. We don’t go anywhere or do exciting things like jump and he is bored, and restless and wants to PLAY but I say NO and he gets frustrated and tells me to get F***D.

    I wonder if I can get us both through this and to the other side without feeling completely wrecked, and if our relationship will survive it. My mind swings wildly day to day between “I’ll never give up” and “I can’t do this”. Throw in every man and their dog having an opinion on how long this should be taking (but my horse was rideable again after 3 months of a tendon injury type talk) and I’m like yep, you know what you’re absolutely right. I am just getting the vet specialist out every 2 weeks (every 4 now thank heavens cos that was pricey) but because YOUR horse had a completely different injury that is totally unrelated you MUST be right about our plan of action.

    But it seems all I do is break horses.


    1. Omg 😓😓😓 Yeah what a streak of bad luck! I totally feel ya. Jester (the horse in the beginning of the post) tore his deep digital flexor tendon 2 years into me owning him and had 9 months off. He finally came back to riding and then Husband and I decided to have a 2nd kid so I sent Jester to a trainer. One month into him being there he broke his leg (no clue how) and I had to put him down.

      Then I bought a 3 yr old TB mare who went lame 2 weeks into owning her. Vet finally did x rays and said navicular changes and she’s unrideable, so she went back to her breeder.

      Then P. Who has been sound for 4 years then suddenly wasn’t. And I have no idea how to prevent that from ever happening again.

      Then I tried to ride S and all was well until he went lame.

      So ya. If you break horses…so do I 😭😭😭😭

      Let’s just blame the horses, shall we? I love them (clearly we all do) but it appears they are just out to find the most expensive and inconvenient ways to die 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I self-identify as a “what if I ruin this horse” individual, haha. It’s been a long hard road bringing up a greenie and it made me push myself past a lot of my comfort zones. I’m still afraid of falling off or the “what ifs”, but the horse has been so damn good and I need to remember that she has never ever offered to pitch me willingly.


  15. I think I’m always afraid of falling off, I didn’t use to be but something, somewhere went wrong and now it’s sometimes all I can think of. It comes out most when I jump, and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with me overthinking on the way to the jumps. But I am learning to deal with it and how to ride so that my horse doesn’t react badly (baby horses for the win). It’s definitely getting better though, so that’s a huge relief. I also have the same issue with self-deprecation…. not fun, do not recommend. But that’s also getting better, mostly because of my amazing trainer!


    1. Ah yes- the sure sign of the Adult Ammy: overthinking!

      Having a horse with a good brain is a definite must- so glad you have one of those! And the supportive trainer…priceless!


  16. ugh that coach sounds awful, so glad you found a good match, it is so important.

    I fear falling and getting really hurt. I fear getting bucked off, or that feeling where the horse is not in my control and unpredictable. Ugh even thinking about it makes me nervous. it’s hard to overcome that and not dwell on past experiences, especially with bringing H on.

    The wasted time comment is really relevant to me too, I have felt the same with Coolie being so slow to move up the grades, feeling a lot of fear on the way. It’s tough to work through but working through it was worth it, and something that was part of the journey.


    1. Yeah- UL rider does not necessarily mean a good instructor! Lesson learned.

      It’s really hard as an adult to NOT be worried about falling off. We just don’t bounce like we used to!

      And I can totally relate to feeling like you went too slow. It took me actual years (and 5 failed attempts) to just get to BN. The bio clock is ticking!

      BUT- you and Henry look amazing and I think you’re doing a fantastic job with him. He looks so happy in his job and you guys are going to go far!


  17. It’s been said countless times already, but I’m so glad you’ve moved past that trainer. UGH. What a jerk.

    As for my fears? I’m scared of hurting and ruining my horses. I also have a irrational fear of them tripping and falling head over heels while I’m riding and me getting crushed and breaking my back/neck/brain in some catastrophic way.


    1. Ah yes. Totally took me longer than it should’ve to learn my lesson, but it’s definitely ingrained in there! Just because someone has ridden at the top levels doesn’t guarantee that they’re a good instructor.

      That’s a terrifying fear! I guess that’s why it’s a fear, right? Adult ammys = irrational at times. It’s why the wine business does so well!


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