Confessions of a Timid Rider,  Equestrian Life

Getting Back in the Saddle


Confession of a Timid Rider: It’s not easy coming back from a bad fall. 

Who could blame me for being rigid in the saddle after three weeks bed rest due to severely bruised ribs? I don’t. Delight is a large horse after all, and I landed ribs first on the packed earth coming around a corner. WHAM! That will teach me to be too far forward coming uphill at the canter. I’m still cleaning the dirt out of my field boots.

Big horses mean big falls


After endless weeks of anti-inflammatory medication, ice packs, and sleeping upright I finally made it back to the barn! I experienced zero anxiety, which for me was a miracle. This was the first time I’d ever really been injured in a fall. And let’s be honest, I’m almost 40. I don’t bounce back like I used to do.


But I was extremely proud of myself because coming back to the barn I experienced only excitement! Lifting my saddle was a bit interesting, especially onto the handsomely tall thoroughbred of my heart. If I thought he would miss me and show me some nice manners while being saddled, well I hoped for too much. Still, he was his best possible self. Stomping feet, ears pinned, and a tail swishing me in the face in case I didn’t get the point.

When your horse gives you major side eye.


I missed this OTTB and his attitude. What can I say? I’m a glutton for a sassy horse.


What I did not expect was the serious lack of grace on my part. It’s only been three weeks out of the saddle! But it feels like a lifetime. I’m seriously out of shape. Even mounting up was interesting with my right side still healing.


I underestimated how much I actually do on a daily basis between riding and providing sports massage to my horse and dog clients. During my time out of the saddle it’s like my body forgot how to sit properly. I felt completely unbalanced. 


All in all, the first ride back wasn’t too bad. Simple walk/ trot transitions and figure 8’s. Delight can be a bit pokey and trying to get him to move off my leg was a lot of work for me. I was sweating after only a few moments. I know I need to give myself a break and give myself some time. After all, I’m still sore and do not have the capacity to canter as yet with Delight. He’s on his forehand a lot as it is and needs lifting, especially in the corners. All things considered we did pretty good the first ride back.


I missed giving Delight an after workout bath and hand graze, so it was lovely to catch up in the sunset.


Sadly, I’m about 5 pounds heavier. Tighter through my hips and thighs and very tense. Perhaps I could do with a good lunging myself. 


Treadmill, here I come!

Have you taken time away from riding? What was it like for you getting back in the saddle?


  • Alexi Mast

    I’m coming back from a long break this summer out of the saddle due to a battle with seizures. Fortunately my mare, as sassy as she can be, knows exactly how much I can take and does everything in her power to keep herself between me and the ground. Moose is a 14.3hh QH, so I don’t have very far to go if I do take a tumble. I’ve had more than my fair share of injuries including a shattered spine and a broken arm that left me with nerve damage on my left side. Coming back from injuries isn’t fun. I had just gotten Moose’s topline all built up and gorgeous, then she lost a bunch of it this summer. I think I actually stayed more in shape then she did. 🙁

    • Heather Wallace

      I do really love that name Moose, especially for a mare. How sassy! I’m sorry to hear that you have battled seizures. I have a lot of experience with these as I have a friend with epilepsy and my daughter has Cerebral Palsy. She luckily does not have seizures but many of her friends do. Luckily the neuro is fine with her riding as long as they are careful. I love that your horse takes care of you. A shattered spine, though. Ouch. Hope you are all better!

  • Amy Brooks

    I am glad you are feeling better, and good for you for getting back in the saddle again. I was able to go riding a few weeks ago for the first time in 5 years and 2 kids later (via c-section), so I was really curious how my body would do. Surprisingly, everything felt fine. I was not uncomfortable, a little tight mostly in my hamstrings, but my body remembered how to move with the horse and keep a decent form. I was also riding Western, but if I was riding English, I am sure I would have had a difficult time posting and keeping my balance because my thighs and hip muscles are so weak right now after not really exercising them too much since I had kids. I am hoping once my youngest starts taking consistent naps in the afternoon at the same time as his older brother, I can start doing a Pilates exercise routine to strengthen my core and also do some yoga to start stretching out my hamstrings.

    • Heather Wallace

      5 years is a long time off, but for the best reason! I started riding again after my oldest was born, but coming back from twins was harder just because of the changes to my body. I should take a page out of your book and do yoga and pilates at home to increase my flexibility. But mostly I need a diet!

  • Confessions of an Average Amateur Eventer

    Good on you, it is not easy to get back on board after a bad fall. But like they say, you’ve got to get back in the saddle!

    • Heather Wallace

      So very true! I actually got right back in the saddle after I got my breathe back, bruised ribs and all. I was like a sack of potatoes but just walked Delight around a bit. Still bathed and untacked him, albeit with a bit of help. Still have to take care of our horses, right?

  • Roosa

    When I fell off last year, hit the fencing and got the inch long cut in the corner of my eye I REALLY struggled to get back on again. It took about 3 weeks of riding before I could get on without some sort of panic creeping in!

  • TheScottishRider

    I took about 4 months off at one point just after I bought my mare as we had a lot host of stuff going on and I decided to give her time to just be a horse while I delt with other stuff in my life. Getting back was daunting as I hadnt ridden at all in those months so it took me a while to get back into the swing of it.

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