Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Gift of Confidence

One of the greatest gifts Benny has given to me is the gift of confidence. I've owned several horses throughout the years and one in particular damaged my confidence. Roxy was a gorgeous thoroughbred mare that I owned for a few years. She had so much talent and was really fun to ride when she was going well. Unfortunately she was also explosive at times. You can see examples of the talent and the explosiveness in the two videos below (the training level test 2 is just 5-10 seconds at 1:40).

Can you spot Rozzy Ridge? 
She was freshly off the track when I got her and things started out very easily. As time went on and the work became harder that's when she started becoming more difficult. I kept on longer than I should have because she would give me just enough progress to make it seem worth continuing...and I really did love her.

The two videos above are both from the last 6 months that I rode her. The explosive response was escalating despite a saddle change, lessons, vet examination etc. It all came to a head when I get stepped on resulting in a broken foot. I needed 2-4 weeks to heal and would not be able to ride. At that point I knew I was done with her.

I've ridden and owned various horses since that time but without trying to be funny I've felt "scarred for life" from riding her. Reinforce that by purchasing another OTTB who had a penchant for bucking and I was definitely not nearly as bold and brave as I used to be.

Benny has been the perfect cure for my failing confidence. He's not at all explosive. If he does anything he will tighten up but not respond in any other manner. At first his tight response made me tighten thinking we were heading off on a bucking spree. When I first got him I'd be walking around on a loose rein and when he'd tense I'd tense right along with him and choke up on my reins. After about the hundredth time of that I realized that I wasn't being fair to him when he hadn't ever responded in that explosive way.

As the time has continued to pass I feel more and more confident and relaxed, rediscovering the fun of riding and (mentally) the rider I used to be. What a great gift that is and a lovely thing to take in to my time on Emi. I'm a rider that's firmly in the camp of moving on from a horse when they are not a good fit for you. It's not worth ruining your confidence and taking the fun out of riding. There are so many other horses out there who are fun...find one of those and continue on your riding journey.  


  1. She was a doozie, wow. :-) Glad you've got a solid guy like Benny.

  2. Agreed 110%. We've had two that we've rehomed, not because we don't love them, but there's no way they were the right fit. Good for you for taking the right path for yourself and finding a horse that fits!

  3. It is SO wonderful that you have been given your confidence back! I would be scared after having to ride a horse like Roxy, too! What a gift that you found Benny!

  4. Roxy may have shaken your confidence but not your seat! You rode her well, and did well in passing her on and ultimately finding Benny, too. Of course, we know Who had a hand in all that.... ;-)

    1. Thank you. It was the right choice for sure and I know God had his hands in all of it. :)

  5. Right on! I hate watching people ride horses that aren't enjoyable because they feel like they have to. Just sell the horse and find one you actually like riding.

  6. yikes those are some serious bucks!! it can be so so so hard to recover from that kind of anxiety, tho i feel similarly in how my mare has been able to help me relax and enjoy it more :)

  7. Roxy was such a lovely looking girl..but that bucking fit, holy crap.... you have to give yourself huge props for staying on! I'm still recovering from my first horse in high school, a very athletic bucker too.

  8. Dealing with dangerous issues sucks! So happy for you that you found your Benny! I've learned my lesson too and now I only ride horses that I can honestly say I look forward to riding.

  9. Wow that second video made me sick to my stomach watching it... I worked with a horse (that wasn't even mine) that scarred me for life (and is the reason I stopped working other horses for people) so I completely get where you are coming from. It sucks! I'm so happy you found Benny. He has been the perfect horse to get your confidence back and prep you for starting Emi. It's very difficult to start a horse after not riding for years and with bruised confidence... ask me how I know lol. The funny thing is I noticed I'm more confident on Chrome now than I am on unfamiliar broke horses (I'm still more confident on familiar broke horses though), which was a surprise and eye opening for me. It means I must finally be gaining confidence in him. It makes me happy, but sad that it all went the way it did. Here's to hoping I can push through and keep improving. Rocky was supposed to be Benny for me, but after seeing him buck with my husband I'm now too chicken to ride him at more than a walk so there went that plan. Maybe the universe is just trying to tell me what I already know... Chrome is the horse for me and I just need to ride him and forget trying to find my confidence on another horse lol. Keep up the great work!! I'm proud of everything you've done with Benny and Emi.


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