Friday, November 9, 2012

Do You Ride Alone?


A Blogger friend Julie over at My Friend Grayson reminded me of something I've been wanting to do a post on.  Riding alone.

I know some of you may be wondering why I haven't really been riding Chrome much after I was so excited that he'd finally turned three.  There's a lot of reasons actually.  Some of them are health related like his abscess, sweet itch and he had a cut on his back from playing for a while and I haven't been feeling well either because of a lot of stress at work.  Another reason is because I want to let him grow some more because he feels too small for me.  My plan is to wait until he's four before I start riding him a lot.  At the rate this year has gone by I'll probably blink and he'll be four tomorrow lol, so that excuse won't be around much longer.

The big reason is fear.  As much as it kills me to say that.  I trust Chrome, I really do, but I also realize horses are big, unpredictable animals and anything can happen at any time with them.  I'm afraid of going out to ride alone and something happening and having no one to help me.  Part of this fear of riding alone is because I've never really ridden alone!!!

For those who don't know I'm a twin.  My twin sister and I always rode together.  I ALWAYS had someone to ride with.  If she didn't want to ride we didn't ride.  If I didn't ride we didn't ride.  We always rode together. 

After I moved away from home I didn't have a horse to ride.  Then when I found a friend who had horses we always rode together.  Now my friend is working out of state for six months so I have no one to ride with once again.  My husband is always working or at school and we don't have a horse for him to ride so I'm stuck doing short ride around the house when he is home and doesn't have a ton of homework to do. 

I almost went out to ride Chrome last weekend while my husband was inside sleeping because I figured I could call him and wake him up with my cell phone.  When I got out there the bot flies were horrible and Chrome was agitated and doing these huge kicks, so I chickened out and didn't ride. 

So, I guess my question is... am I being paranoid or letting my fear dictate how often I ride?  Would you ride a three year old horse who has only had eleven rides in his entire life when you're home alone?  I don't have anyone I can call if something happens because all of my close friends have moved away.  I can't call my husband because he can't answer his phone in class.  So the only option I'd have is to drive myself to the doctor or call 911, if I'm even conscious to do either of those things.  Maybe I'm being a big chicken and thinking worst case scenario because a friend of mine was just thrown from her three year old horse and although nothing is broken she's in a lot of pain (she doesn't live near me).  So, what are you thoughts on this subject?

20 comments:

  1. You aren't being paranoid, you are being sensible. You should never ride alone and never ride if you haven't told folks you are going.

    Having said that, I ride alone a lot. If I didn't, I would never ride. I always let my husband know exactly where I am going, call him if I change route, and give him an estimated time for my return. I check in at various times. It isn't the smartest thing to do, but it gets me in the saddle.

    Sam

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  2. I also tend to ride alone a lot, though this winter is looking better as my riding buddy is wanting to ride again. Safety is important but (as I can attest) putting it off is simply making excuses and you just have to force yourself sometimes.

    The biggest thing to do is have a safety, tell someone, anyone, that you are riding and you will call or text back in X minutes when you are done. If you don't call or text back, have that person call someone else or call the police to check on you. That is how I handled any kind of jumping alone. Works well too because you can have your friends in another state and it still works.

    Try advertising to find a riding buddy. It may be harder since you don't have a second horse to ride yet but it is how I have managed. Maybe you would be okay with someone else walking him around and you could take turns? Or someone who is okay with playing with Faran while you ride? Good luck!

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  3. You are not being paranoid at all! Safety first. Chrome is new to all this and although you have laid an excellent foundation for him with all your groundwork, he is still a baby and things can happen.

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  4. I don't have a choice but to ride alone a lot of the time. What I do is call someone before I get on and say, "I am riding so and so at this address. I plan to ride until whatever time. If you don't hear from me by ten minutes later, please call to check on me." When I finish riding, I call the person back and let them know I'm safely off the horse. This way, even if I fall off and lose consciousness, someone will pick up on it in a timely fashion and know where to send help.

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  5. I almost never ride alone. In fact I can't honestly remember the last time I did. I'm lucky that my husband almost always comes to the barn with me (great time to let the dogs work off some of their insanity).

    That said, our barn does have a lot of solo riders, and tons of property for them to get lost, so there is a sign in/sign out policy. You need to write down what time you arrive and where you're planning to go so if you don't sign out by closing someone can go looking for you and know where to start looking. Cell phones aren't reliable in our area so I think it's a great idea.

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  6. A lot of good advise from others. Safety is always first.

    I have ridden alone, but only in the paddock or arena. I was very nervous, but I discovered something a couple of summers ago that really helped my anxiety and made me relax; I started listening to music. :-) I clip on my little Nano Shuffle, put in the earbuds and away we go. When I relaxed, so did Gem and our rides were pretty good. Music also helped keep me motivated to actually DO something. It's a nice way to pace a jog or posting trot. :-)

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  7. I ride alone all the time in the arena and on the trail--and that includes green horses. If I didn't, I wouldn't be able to ride very much at all. I don't even worry about it.

    When I was having my confidence crisis with Cole, I still rode him alone. Sometimes, my 911 crew would find a way to be there because they were worried about me, but seriously, if I hurt myself and had my phone, I could call for help. If they were there and I hurt myself real bad--they would have to call for help. There isn't much difference.

    The more you ride Chrome, the more confident you will become. If you put it off because there isn't anyone there, your riding will be sporadic and you will be less confident.

    Think of all the things you do alone where you can get hurt. Driving, walking the dogs, riding a bike. The worst accident I ever had and the only time I had to be hospitalized happened when I was gardening!

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  8. I have the same thoughts, so I enjoyed reading everyone's comments.

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  9. This is a perfectly legitimate fear that I share. I pretty much always ride alone, so riding alone on a horse that has a history of losing her mind when being alone causes a bit of trepidation. I try to always have my phone on my if I ride her, and even then if I have the slightest inkling that she's not 100% with me I hop right off. I'm also not at all comfortable pushing her boundaries, so progress has been really slow.

    It makes it harder but not impossible.

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  10. I think you have to go with your gut - if you are nervous, your body will tranmit those feelings to Chrome.

    I ride quite often alone now that I have more confidence in myself and Riva - last year, when she was 3, I only rode if someone was around the barn where I board.

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  11. I think you should ride when you feel safe. Otherwise your riding will reflect that you don't feel safe and Chrome will pick up on it.

    I do ride alone but am more conscious of it than in the past. I text my husband when I start and when I finish. When he's not around at all I do this with a friend. Otherwise, when Ed is away no one would know I was hurt until I didn't show up for work.

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  12. Your fears are rational. Young, green horses are unpredictable, even the sweet, kind ones like Chrome. It is very sensible of you to be concerned about riding alone.

    I think that you have received a lot of good advice. I liked the idea to advertise for a trail-riding buddy.

    I ride by myself a lot, but I rarely go on the trails alone. If I do, I always carry my phone in my jacket or on my boot. I would not have taken Harley out alone when I first bought him even though he was eight, because he associated the trail with speed. Now that he is fourteen, I am confident to take him out, because he has become very reliable. I am sure that once you and Chrome have a few more years together under saddle you will feel more confident about him riding alone.

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  13. Riding alone is never a great idea, but a lot of us end up doing it or we would rarely ride.

    That said, riding an extremely green horse by yourself is just not a smart thing. I would definitely not ride him if nobody is at home.

    I used to ride a really, really green horse at a nearby farm. If nobody was down at the barn but there WAS someone up in the house, I would ride, but like someone else mentioned, I would call or text the person up @ the house before I got on and then when I got off. If that person didn't hear from me for a while, she would come down and check on me to make sure I was alright.

    Buying an eventing safety vest and making sure you always have your cell with you would certainly help, but if you are unconscious or can't move the phone doesn't do you much good.

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  14. I think that you and Chrome need to get more used to each other before you ride alone. When you are ready, you should still leave info with somebody of where you are going and for how long. Maybe even get some sort of GPS you can take along that broadcasts your position to your husband.

    I always made sure my husband knew when and where I was walking Mango. No, he wasn't a horse, but if he fell down there would be no way to get him home.

    Chrome is a large animal who could get you both into trouble. I think that a time will come when you know you can trust him out alone.

    Mango Momma

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  15. I think that you and Chrome need to get more used to each other before you ride alone. When you are ready, you should still leave info with somebody of where you are going and for how long. Maybe even get some sort of GPS you can take along that broadcasts your position to your husband.

    I always made sure my husband knew when and where I was walking Mango. No, he wasn't a horse, but if he fell down there would be no way to get him home.

    Chrome is a large animal who could get you both into trouble. I think that a time will come when you know you can trust him out alone.

    Mango Momma

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  16. Of course I share your fear but I think you know that. But like many of the other ladies, I would never ever ride if I didn't ride alone. I will tell you this though...if he seems like a wacko, I wont ride. If something inside me is telling me not to ride, I'll listen. If I'm on him and I can start to feel spring legs and a horse that's not fully with me, I'll hop off. I used to be ashamed to "wuss out" but not anymore...I don't really care.

    I usually ride alone in our huge round pen...and just started walking the property alone...I'm definitely not confident to do trails by ourselves yet. But maybe if I had Cuna! :)

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  17. Great post BTW...I love to hear the responses!

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  18. Really interesting post. Whilst working full time with horses, I backed and rode a lot of youngsters ad green horses. These were busy yards and I always had a lot of people around and people I could trust on the ground working with me. Wolfie is kept at a quiet DIY yard where not many people ride. When it came to backing him, I suddenly felt very alone as I didn't have the support team on the ground or to ride with. To begin with I used to try and ride him when people were around at the yard, but I soon realised that this was a yard with well established, older, very quiet horses. The owners were not quite tuned into the working of a youngster and used to bang around, trot past just at the moments when I had one foot in the stirrup about to get on. I eventually (ironically) felt it was safer for me to ride when no-one was there. Safety must always come first though and although I backed Wolfie at 3, I turned him away until he was 4 and spent most of our time long reining and doing groundwork. I have to ride alone, but there are days when I will stay around the fields or at the yard as I just have that feeling. Wolfie is spooky at the best of times and I'm now considering a new hat and a point 2 air vest. There's nothing wrong with making the decision not to ride, there are many times I have thought 'should I just leave it' and in hindsight I probably should have. Your horses and donkey are beautiful as are your photographs.

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  19. personally I don't think your being paranoid I think that you are being really sensible because you never know what could happen when your on your own I think its better to be safe than sorry.

    So if it was me I don't think that I'd ride him on his own until hes more used to it.

    Hope this helps

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  20. I know it is dangerous to ride alone but I do it because if I didn't I would never ride. However, riding a three year old with only a few rides on him is a different story. You might be able to come up with a system for riding and having a person you text right when you start and when you are done. It would have to be someone who could come check on you though. Maybe if you ride when your hubby is doing something at the house but could come out if he didn't hear from you.

    I agree with the post about adverstising for a riding buddy!! The internet can be scary but currently my best riding friends are people I met on the net. I met the owner of Bre's stable through craigslist and we have so much fun together. I also met Josey's owner on the net. If I was in your position that is what I would do. Just be super choosey and ask lots of questions.

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