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Help! I've lost my confidence. How can I get it back?

(37 Posts)
frenchfancy Wed 16-Jan-13 19:02:50

I was riding DPony in my group lesson on Sunday. She is normally not very forward going and needs to be convinced into a trot or a canter (she is fine once she is going though). I'm only a novice really (well 3 years but advancing slowly).

The trouble is on Sunday the instructor decded we would do some jumping. I got over the bar on the floor alright, but could tell DPony was starting to get agitated. Once the bar went up proper and it was my turn she just went for it at full throttle. I lost all control and bottled it. I didn't fall, but I cracked and ended up getting off in tears and spent the last 5 minutes just walking her round whilst the others jumped. Instructor was NOT impressed.

DD has been jumping with DPony today, and she was flying over the jumps. Basically she just loves jumping and gets over exited when she sees the jumps. DD hasn't jumped with her since the summer due to a broken arm.

I was hoping I could ride another pony next Sunday but I've just found out that I have to ride DPony. I am bricking it. I've never been so scared on a horse. How do I get over this?

I can ride tomorrow and Saturday for a bit on my own, that doesn't scare me, but jumping again does. Help!

Plomino Sun 20-Jan-13 23:30:23

If it makes you feel any better, I gave up jumping my first pony after having had her for about 15 years , because although I was used to her speed and bravery (lunacy), riding XC courses on a pony that used to travel at warp speed no matter what bit she was in, or what method of control we tried , was ok when I was 18 , and had no one to worry about but myself , but a very different matter after having had kids .

I took up long distance instead, which she then did at warp speed as well .

You don't have to jump if you don't want to . I know plenty of people who don't , and I don't consider them as novices in any way . It's supposed to be enjoyable and a relaxation , which I think in our never ending quest for improvement , it's easy to lose sight of . It doesn't make you a failure .

Mitchy1nge Sun 20-Jan-13 23:38:56

It's supposed to be FUN! Don't jump if you don't enjoy it (unless you want to but are a bit jittery and resent your nerves getting in the way?) life is too short to allow a pleasurable hobby to become all stressy.

Mitchy1nge Sun 20-Jan-13 23:39:39

Or, exactly what plomino just said!

frenchfancy Mon 21-Jan-13 06:50:17

It is so good to hear other people say they don't want to jump. I feel a bit of a fraud sometimes because I don't adore riding as much as some of my friends. I enjoy it, but I don't think about horses for every waking moment. And if the weather is really cold I'd rather be in front of the fire.

It is like I have to prove to everyone, look I can ride really.

DH spoke to the instructor yesterday (they were having a drink not specifically talking about me) and he is obviously concerned that I'm going to give up so he has given some ideas for pole work to do and has told DD that DPony is only allowed to rush the bigger jumps with her, and we have to teach her to slow down over the poles and the lower jumps.

Zazzles007 Mon 21-Jan-13 23:18:07

Just another thought french, the instructor you have may not be a specialist jumping instructor (although she/he may advertise that they are), as no jump instructor worth their salt would recommend that a child 'allow their pony to rush at a jump'. If this is the case, you may need someone more specialised in jump training of the horse and rider to reschool pony. That's not to say that she may be quite good at other types of riding lessons.

I and my former instructor (both eventers) have dealt with horses that rush before and after fences, and what your instructor is saying is not the preferred method of dealing with horses that rush to jumps.

Pixel Mon 21-Jan-13 23:58:32

I was thinking that it was dodgy advice but didn't feel qualified to comment but now I will anyway. Just I thought rushing led to jumping flat, which you can get away with over smaller jumps but not as they get bigger.

mrslaughan Sat 26-Jan-13 18:17:05

Did you ride in a lesson today French fancy ? How did it go....?

MoonlightandRoses Sat 26-Jan-13 23:29:27

I'm with Zazzles - irrespective of speed, any horse/pony should come into any size jump with a regular rhythm in their pace. I also agree that maybe getting used to a faster pace on the flat would help.

Have you ever tried with either using cavaletti at trot or, putting up v.small (around 50/60 cms) uprights as part of a series of flatwork poles (can be either trot or canter paced) when you're working on your own? Both of those would help with pace (keeping her steady and getting you used to a bit faster).

Also, if you do decide to jump (and only do it if you want to, not because you feel you 'should') a few other things that might help are:
Come in shorter on your approach
If there are jumps up in the arena, weave around these with your leg yields, but don't go over them, just get her (and you) used to being around jumps in general
Get her back into trot as soon as possible after the jump and do not take on the next jump until she's settled
Keep her moving between jumps (i.e. if you're waiting your turn in a lesson keep her in working trot/walk, focused on listening to you rather than thinking about the jump

Oops - sorry for essay. Can you tell I may have overcome a few 'rushing' issues in the past? grin

Good luck and hope it stays an enjoyable pastime for you.

frenchfancy Tue 29-Jan-13 16:08:42

Thanks again. I've been ill with flu so haven't been able to ride for a week. TBH I think it has done me good to have a bit of time off to calm down and stop stressing. Hopefully I'll be well enough to ride in a couple of days.

frenchfancy Sun 10-Feb-13 13:00:18

Hi Again. Just thought I'd give you kind folks an update.

I rode in last weeks lesson, but it was nice and calm as we had a new comer. It really helped me to see how she was and how much I had progressed. I did some pole work with DPony during the week and some cantering, which I hadn't done since I got scared.

Today's lesson was very much focussed on me. The instructor decided it was time for me to face my fears. DPony bucked when we were trotting, but I stayed on no problem. So he pointed out that if I can stay on when the pony is doing that I should be fine with jumping.

We went over the poles at walk and trot no problem, but when he put the (very low) pole up I could feel DPony getting excited. Anyway I did as I was told, kept her calm for as long as possible before the jump, then clung on for dear life jumped at a gentle canter. I did it! I wouldn't say I enjoyed it but I wasn't terrified to the point of tears. And I jumped 3 times.

I don't suppose it will ever be my favourite thing, but at least I've got some of my confidence back.

Thanks again for all your advice.

50BalesOfHay Sun 10-Feb-13 18:43:30

You are very brave frenchfancy. Well done. Overcoming a fear and doing the thing that scares you takes a lot of courage. You deserve to be very proud of yourself.

frenchfancy Sun 10-Feb-13 18:58:17

Thank you 50. You saying it makes me realise how proud I am smile

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