I have been going to a monthly Jumping Academy lesson at my riding school. I also get a lesson once every weekend with my Mum, which is usually flat work, pole work and some small jumping; it is something different every week anyway.
Before I go into a lot of detail, I'd like to say I've been riding for two years straight, but at my first riding school I only done hacking basically and learned very little - I formed lots and lots of bad habits. After a year of riding there I moved to a different riding school and it was one of the best decisions ever. I have came such a long way and have now been riding for a year at this riding school and I must say I'm a pretty good rider - when it comes to FLAT WORK. But the truth is I want to exceed in jumping and at some points I am improving, but my fear has been getting the better of me lately.
So basically, I have been jumping properly since last June (before that I was getting my riding together and improving on the flat). In November, I joined this 'Jump Academy' lesson that goes on once every month. Why not? I was going to improve my jumping. But, every lesson I have had has been either very bad or 'decent.' I first rode a chubby gypsy cob, who would hardly ever refuse but plop right over the jump and demolish the course or set of jumps. I rode him in two of these monthly lessons and I fell off in both lessons. As you can imagine this is very confidence knocking and I had already fell off a few months before these lessons too and just recovered from that knock. The thing is the riding school doesn't have a huge range of horses that are capable of teaching people to jump properly, and the good ones were already taken (no offence to the cob, he is lovely; he just needs someone more experienced to help him over the jumps). My instructor saw how nervous I was after this and asked me if I wanted to change and we agree'd that I'd move onto this Thoroughbred who is around 16hh, very tall and skinny as you can imagine. He is also in his mid 20's but is pretty good at jumping for his age (just to let you know he is very healthy and was a show jumping horse in his younger age. We were only jumping 55/60cm straights but even at that it was still quite high for me, I felt it was a push). So basically this was my 3rd lesson (Which was in January but it was my 1st on Max - I had previously jumped him in my weekly lesson a few times to get the gust to him). This boy is great and all but it was a huge step going from a chubby, easy-jump cob to an even lazier, skinny-nothing-to-hold-onto horse. He has a 'stretchy' jump which was quite unbalancing for me. Anyway, the first lesson I had on him went well, much better than previous lessons. The next, I fell off after he over-jumped and took off early with a plank. It took me another 15 minutes to jump again after being so upset, but ended up jumping a small 55 and 60cm course, which frankly I was chuffed and proud of... But the horror of my latest lesson which was yesterday just upset me so much. I hadn't rode him since the last lesson and I didn't have the courage to jump. My confidence just came to a stop and my mental blocks came back and it was 10 x stronger. I had to get off after saying constantly 'I am not jumping, I can't do it, I just can't' which I know is no good but I couldn't stop myself. The TB was reassuring and gave me lots of licks and cuddles after getting off him to make me feel better but I was so p*ssed off at myself for not getting on with it but I just couldn't do it! This isn't the first time I've cried over not doing something in front of everyone so I must seem like a pain but I can't help it.
Can you give me some motivational advice for jumping? I know I'm probably not the only person who has experienced faulty confidence with jumping... Help would be appreciated. I'm so angry at myself and can't bare to go to my weekly lesson now, I feel like an utter idiot.
*** IF YOU WANT TO SHORTEN THIS, JUST GIVE ME ADVICE FOR GETTING OVER MENTAL BLOCKS AND LACK OF CONFIDENCE WITH JUMPING ***
Here's a picture of both the cob and TB I was riding just to make the topic a bit cheerier.
8 year old Gypsy Cob... Safest guy out there, most loveable personality!
23-25 year old Thoroughbred... Grumpy old man but still so loveable and great once you get to know him better. So lazy... haha.