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My 6 year old daughter has been going to pony classes a

Customer Question
Hi my 6 year old...
Hi my 6 year old daughter has been going to pony classes a couple of months, she has been doing great until she took a tumble from her pony! She is now
Afraid to get back up on his back! Unfortunately the same happened her last year when she was in a swimming class and she had a little fright in the water which eventually made her fear getting into the water so we had to
Give up on the lessons until she is a little older, I just wonder should I try persist with the pony classes or try again next year? Any help on this issue would be much appreciated! Regards Grace
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Mental Health
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
12/1/2011
Mental Health Professional: Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist replied 6 years ago
Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4,627
Experience: PsyD, LPC, CHt
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Hi Grace,

Q: " should I try persist with the pony classes or try again next year?"

A: Her fear can be dealt with by gradually exposing her to what she is afraid of. At first it may be observing others ride, then petting the pony, feeding it an apple, getting on the pony but not riding it and eventually riding it. These of course will not be all done in the same day and one of the behaviors can be used during one day and then progress to the next.

You may also speak to her about the fact that such things happen and that as she learns more about riding she would notice her level of confidence change. Let her know that the pony is not intending to harm her. Ask her to think of a time when something happen that also was not volitional ex: she dropped a plate, she tripped and fell down, etc. and how these actions in themselves do not lead to never carrying a plate or walking ,etc (help her come up with her own examples that relate to her or use your own that she's witnessed)

Avoidance is a defense mechanism and her fear is based on her experience and how she's perceived it. As she develops healthier coping skills (over time) she would be able to discriminate b/w things that are causing her distress such as the swimming or riding lessons and manage her internal dialog and subsequent feeling of fright.

Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4,627
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Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thank you for the prompt reply, I just wonder should I be concerned about how she deals with difficulties in her life, or is this something she develops with age and experience? The reason we started pony club was because her confidence was down after we had to remove her from swimming class due to her ever increasing phobia/fear of the water, and now that she has had this accident in the pony club I fear that she will again become so afraid that she will eventually have to give this up too! I worry that everytime she has difficulties in the future she will just not try anymore. Thanks again Grace

Mental Health Professional: Dr. Rossi, Psychotherapist replied 6 years ago
She develops coping skills over time through her experiences and internal self dialog as well as by observing how others handle situations. You can be concerned if you believe that she is hindering herself by being more anxious. Everyone has some anxiety and when it becomes disabling is when it is concerning. Her self esteem also develops over time and through her self belief and by the feedback she receives from others. For the time being, try not to project your fears onto her because she can pick these up even subconsciously. Remain in good spirit and continue to encourage her.
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