Rounding my back - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Rounding my back

Ok, so I am wondering if anyone can offer me some advice. Most of my issue is fear related, which I think I will get over eventually. But I was wondering if anyone had any strategies to help me through 1) the fear, and 2) my position

I purchased my gelding about 8 months ago and have managed to avoid the indoor arena up until recently, but it’s getting to be that time, that it is no longer avoidable. He is 17.3hh, has a very large stride, can be a little strong some days, and the arena is only 120’ x 60’. I am fine with riding on the flat in the arena, but when it comes to jumping I have been rounding my upper back over the fences and around the ends. My fear kicks in, and my brain goes into irrational overdrive…”what if he slips, falls and lands on me” “what if he takes off and I land on the wall” “what if, what if, what if…” Rationally, I know I am just being a lunatic and these things won’t actually happen, but I can’t seem to help it when I am riding a course in there. By the time I get to the jump, I am already thinking about the tight end and corner so essentially I just collapse – which I know is also counter-productive to keeping him balanced. I have jumped in the indoor arena on three different occasions now, and with help of my coach, I think I am starting to gradually overcome my fear, but I still feel myself majorly rounding in the upper back over the fence. I have never had an issue with this while riding outdoors, I think my equitation over fences has always been pretty decent…but this has just gotten me discouraged and feeling like I am falling backwards in my progress. How can I stop rounding?

Any suggestions?

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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...sorry, I have a lesson tonight and am curious as to suggestions. Do you guys think a "Shoulders Back" may help?


"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #3 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 11:53 AM
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this is easy but hard, instead of worrying so much about the horse, and falling off or getting hurt, which is going to happen, not if but when, it just is, try to focus on your shoulder and back position in your ride, everything you work on, consciously think, where are my shoulders? what is my back doing?
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post #4 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 12:09 PM
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I gotta agree with Allie on this one, instead of thinking about the "what if" concentrate on what has to be done a that moment to get to the jump, get over the jump, and on the landing. Like for example, coming to the jump, I have to think to myself "OK, I got to half halt him at point x to slow him down a bit", and I'm thinking that, I'm thinking about my position, over the jump I'm thinking something like "release now" or "keep the head up", etc.
Over time as long as you don't let the fear rule you, you'll be OK,
I hope that made sense!

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post #5 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 12:19 PM Thread Starter
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True enough, thanks guys. I will try my best to focus on the appropriate aspects and think about the "task" at hand. Hopefully everythiing will fall into place once the "fear factor" is gone too. My coach is really good about making me do things instead of giving into me when I am afraid of something, so that helps alot.

I guess it's true, "if your not prepared to fall off, then your not prepared to ride" :)

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle ~ Winston Churchill"
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-10-2010, 10:09 PM
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It's all about your thoughts ruling your actions. YOu know what you are thinking, which is the first step. Now, you have to stop the "what if"thoughts before they go anywhere. If you catch yourself what ifing, say to yourself "stop!"and then focus on your head or back or shoulders position. Try to be in the moment and repeat a positive thought "nice and steady, nice and steady, nice and steady."

I also had good luck (and this is before I'm doing anything but trotting) checking out where I'm "carrying"the fear. for me, it was a knotted up tummy. so I thought about the knot, and reminded myself that I enjoy riding and that I was there for fun, and specifically thought about relaxing where that knotty feeling was. I had a much better ride after that.

Hope your lesson went well!
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-11-2010, 01:04 AM
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man i'm terrified of falling off. haha! the older i get, the less i want to hit the dirt. i think it's good to have a healthy respectful fear of going over a fence (it keeps us humble!) anyway... do you take group lessons or private? if you're taking private, then i would suggest you just do some fun, easy, gird work. i only ride full courses on Saturdays. so during the week i canter teeny grids to keep my boy in shape and to take the pressure off of coursing. keeping it fun and stress free is a huge component of remaining positive about the sport.
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-11-2010, 01:13 AM
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All I can say is that fear is part and parcel with riding. Never waste a moment of time belittling yourself for being afraid. Wast of time . But saying it out loud for a start is ok. Then on to the other things that folks recommended. I really like the idea that someone suggested about taking a second to feel WHERE inyour body your are carrying the fear and working on relaxing that part of the body. I shall try to put that one to use when I feel fear (and I would be terreified to do what you do; ride a huge horse indoors over jumps, so it's all relative, isn't it?
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