Struggling With Jumping Confidence. - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By Corporal
  • 1 Post By tlkng1
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post #1 of 6 Old 12-07-2011, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: I live in rainy England
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Struggling With Jumping Confidence.

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.

Eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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post #2 of 6 Old 12-10-2011, 03:05 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: New Zealand
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Ekkk to be honest - I think you need to find some nicer horses to ride especially if you arent 100% confident!!

are these riding school ponies or something - as honestly you shouldnt have to pay to ride that!
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post #3 of 6 Old 12-10-2011, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: I live in rainy England
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I'm a working student there so I don't pay to ride at all but it means we exercise the ponies now clients are dropping off because of the winter and because we as staff actually make them do proper work instead of plodding along with kids they act up for us to avoid having to work. They are school ponies but since very few of the clients especially the kids actually expect them to do a decent hour's work they get along quite nicely.

Our schoolmistress is back in action so I'm going to ask for her for a few lessons while I get my confidence back over jumps then I'll be fine to deal with buckers. It's just having such a big gap of nearly 5 months with a couple of odd jump lessons then suddenly riding buckers has knocked me. Once I'm back in action I'll be fine.

The other issue is I'm not too keen on riding ponies anyway because with a few exception I struggle to trust anything under 14hh, I've ridden so many little ponies with more attitude than height, bless their cotton socks. And I'm much more comfortable on something big and chunky. I'm far more secure on the 16.3hh Irish Draught mare that I rode than the 12.2hh show bred Welsh Section B that I rode recently (think tiny, tiny TB with no bone) even though I'm only 4ft11.

The first proper jump lesson I did here I was on a 15hh cob and we were jumping about 2ft6-2ft9 and we were flying round having a blast even doing a stile fence which I don't like doing when on a fat cob that's almost as wide as the jump! But I was more secure and more confident on him than on a pony.

Eagles may soar but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-13-2011, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Missouri
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And you've checked the equipment on the one that rears if you take contact and bucks when you lay the whip on him?

I think those horses need some form of groundwork before you even get on. Even lunging in side reins would help that rearing with contact horse. or lunging with the lungeline clipped on his bit directly. Don't tolerate that from him! And praise him once he gets it.

The best thing to do about a bucking horse, is to keep a "no you are NOT DOING THIS" attitude instead of "OMG I AM ON A BUCKING HORSE" attitude (not saying you are!)

I hope it gets better for you, you've been through a lot! Just keep calm and even sing when you're on the horse. Make sure you are breathing and get him through it.

Another thing I thought about.. when he goes to rear instead of shortening the rein (before he gets there) do a few half halts and gently move him on with your legs. If he starts bucking, strong half halts and kick him forward. He may not like you hanging on his face, per say.

It's a definite process, good luck :)
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-13-2011, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
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Okay--FIRST, the saying is,
"When you fall, like lose your balance and fall, you should get back on that horse."
"When the frightened or nasty horse BUCKS YOU OFF, you should get back on."
Now that you're clear you are under no obligation to remount a dangerous horse, and the horse you described IS dangerous!!!
Also, re: hunters and jumpers, some have the build and aptitude and others don't. The first kind will sail over obstacles and you tag along comfortably. I had one of these, an OTTB, who'd been shown as a hunter, and HE jumped like that. He may have had a few mental issues, but you point him towards a jump and he'd happily take you over it, often speeding up a little bc of his enthusiasm. (I jumped him as high as 4 1/2' and the obstacle was solid, not poles between a standard.)
The second kind might look like a good hunter/jumper, but they don't like it. THAT kind will buck to avoid jumping or turn right before the jump to say, "I don't like jumping!" That kind of horse needs to tell me this once, and I understand.
What really is happening here is just another example of a horse whose training wasn't finished. The stable is finishing his training by using inexperienced students.
As we all know: Green x Green = Black & Blue
Find a better place to ride. =D
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post #6 of 6 Old 12-17-2011, 07:18 PM
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Location: Maryland
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I agreed with corporal. I took a bad fall and broke my arm due to a bucking incident after a fence. I gave that same horse another year before I finally called uncle and sold him. It got to the point I was so nervous on him I couldn't even trot him off. The horse I got after him was a gentleman. Solid, loved to jump, was sane and took care of me..he was VERY forgiving of mistakes. He gave me back a certain level of jumping confidence though I doubt I will ever be at the level I was previously. Perhaps what was also so good about that horse was that he would react based on confidence. If I asked him to move up or forward, he would do so but would also stay true to a gentle pace if needed.

I am guessing you need a horse like this to get your confidence back.
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