Now normally I'm very confident rider but today I realised I'd lost all my confidence in jumping. I've taken two fairly nasty falls in the last two weeks, both from bucking, and though only one was while jumping the other I jumped the next day. I know the root cause which is I was bucked off by a serious bucker during a jump lesson four years ago which broke my shoulder.
The first fall happened at the end of the lesson after the pony had been perfect all the way though. Out of nowhere he bolted then did threw a massive buck that apparently made him vertical. Landed hard on my back and wrenched forward as well to protect my shoulder. I remember thinking "not wearing a body protector again," just before I made impact. It happened in front of an FBHS instructor as well who said there was no way anyone could have sat the buck he threw. So spent the rest of the week in pain from my back and then jumped the next day. Nothing big but I knew the jumping pony had a bit of a reputation when in the school but he was perfect again and won me a free lunch but during the lesson I was shaking I was so nervous and sore.
The next fall I was on the same pony I jumped the week before and this time he showed me why he had the reputation he has. He was doing small rears, bucking and napping. I couldn't keep a proper contact because if I pulled his head up to stop him bucking he reared. He could go from rearing to bucking to rearing again. Couldn't touch him with the whip because he bucked hard if I did. First time round the course over the second fence he slowed right down to stop after it and since he wasn't responding to the leg I tapped him with the stick and he threw a buck that sent me soaring over his head and jarred my back again. Got back on and finished the course screaming at him because it was the only way to keep him moving. I can't repeat the names I called him. Now these horses and ponies get good care, there is nothing wrong with him painwise. His saddle fit was checked that day after the lesson and as far as I know nothing was done to it as it fitted him. I swapped ponies right at the end to just jump the schoolmistress round the course so I finished on a good note but the lesson rattled me badly.
Today I was on a different pony to jump and the first few were good. Another I couldn't touch with the stick because she bucked and she almost had me off right at the start. Then she started taking these small fence huge and I backed off because it unsettled me so she switched off and began refusing. Couldn't get her moving because she is usually a beginners pony so is completely dead to the leg and tapping her had no effect because she stopped to buck. It didn't help that the instructor was in a bad mood with us, yes we weren't perfect but it was no call for the way she spoke to us. It crossed the line into bullying at certain points. I've just been really rattled by the falls and the bucking. I know it's because now it's winter less people are riding, the ponies are clipped so they're a lot fresher and sharper but I have lost all confidence in jumping which is so completely at odds with the lesson I did a week before the first fall where we were jumping height and I was flying round. I was so confident and happy about it but now...I'm scared which I hate because I love to jump. I did speak to the yard manager, told her about the bucking and told her I had lost confidence. I'm very tempted to ring up my old yard and book a lesson on the schoolmistress there or the youngster I rode a lot before I left because I know them and especially the youngster, we clicked and went fantastically together but it's money issues.
It's not falling off that scares me, it's the bucking because of the fall I had four years ago. That's the sticking point for me and because I'm small I'm on the kid's ponies who don't normally get asked to work properly so they try to avoid it. The youngster I mentioned got me off the first time I rode him, had concussion but I took him in a competition the following Monday and went round a course of 2ft9 with no issues but he has never ever threatened to buck so I feel confident on him. Same with the schoolmistress I rode her once before the competition they had and it was months before then took her in the Chase Me Charlie round and went to 3ft3 before being knocked out. I can't ride the schoolmistress here because she's out of comission at the moment and I want to book my Stage Two exam for Febuary but at the moment I'm holding off because I don't think I can pass the jumping section. We're not even jumping at that height and I'm so nervous. I just don't really know what to do.
Today was a disaster because it was a mix of wrong rider, wrong horse and wrong instructor. I was constantly hearing "don't get close to her because she runs backwards to kick," which wasn't terribly relaxing and her whole attitude was wrong for me on that day. I need someone who would build me up rather critise me. Fair enough at the end she did praise me for the way I tried to get over it but I needed it during the lesson rather than at the end. I did tell her I'd lost confidence with jumping.
I know eventually I will get it back but I know I won't get it back until I have a good lesson and because I'm not confident I'm not having good lessons and it's just getting worse.