BY JENNA SANTOS
What is it that’s makes us feel safer on a horse with limited get up and go? As a self-confessed nervous nelly, I certainly do not enjoy a horse than rushes around, as I feel less in control than I do when I must continually push them on. And I know I am not alone. You have all seen those wanted ads from people searching for more whoa than go. Why is this so common? Why do we feel safer?
By Jenna Santos
I am not a confident rider. If a dog barks, if a mouse sneezes, if a horse in the back paddock farts… I assume my completely sensible horse is going to suddenly turn into a fire breathing dragon, expand his great wings, throw me fiercely to the ground and fly away, burning villages as he goes. It’s never happened… but it could.
My fear began before I even owned a horse. After waiting my entire childhood, working my way through uni and squireling away every cent so I could finally realise my dream of owning my own horse, the very first one I trialled bolted while I clung on helplessly. I fell most ungracefully into a solid wooden fence which resulted in a broken arm, severed nerves, an 8-day vacation in hospital, three operations and a 12-month recovery. Suffice to say… things had not gone to plan.
A few years later, still adamant I was going to ride, I finally brought my first horse. But I was so utterly petrified I would shake uncontrollably just tacking her up. Slowly but surely, I built my confidence, but those fears still come creeping in from time to time… and this is how I deal with them.
Dr Victoria Hamilton is an icon in the Australian Equestrian Community, with a wealth of experience as a veterinarian, coach, breeder and international dressage competitor. As one of Australia’s top dressage riders, her love of horses is contagious and apparent in everything she does.