Nerves while jumping - Page 2

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Nerves while jumping

This is a discussion on Nerves while jumping within the Jumping forums, part of the English Riding category

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    04-12-2010, 10:16 PM
I don't know if this helps you or not, but when im nervous I just remind myself that my nerves make me ride poorly & I really don't want to do that to my horse. So I tell myself to suck it up & just ride the dang horse !!

I know that mentality does not work for everyone, but it helps me a lot =]
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    04-12-2010, 10:57 PM
I have a fear of Stadium Jumping which came about a while ago due to an accident I had over a 3+ oxer during a practice ride before an HT my horse and I were signed up in.

I was working on an oxer, riding it in a large 50 meter circle. Started at a 2'6" and it got bigger everytime I came to it. It was supposed to stop at 3'0" - but it didn't.

My Coach had risen it above the level I needed to be comfortable with, without me realizing it until I was approaching it. I kept staring at the fence saying to myself "Gosh, that looks bigger than 3'0"" "You know, that isn't 3'0", that's much bigger" "Why does that fence look bigger than what it did last?"

And I stopped riding, so due to that - my horse stopped and I flew over him smashing into the fence face first. While I got up, I realized there was alot of blood and I at first thought it was my nose, but it was my right arm - where a rusty metal jump cup was embedded into it.


I just cliniced with an amazing Eventer. She compeates 3star, and just short listed for the U.S. Olympic Team and was personally invited by David O'Connor himself to ride and train at his farm.

I was working on the Novice and Training Level Trak fences with her and on the first approach to the N Trak fence, I was getting a little intimidated, and she gave me a great piece of advice - which was to growl.

She explained that if fear overcomes me, and I allow those nerves and fear to take control - they've won. But by me growling and turning that fear into anger, I not only change my perspective, my posture and riding changes. So going from "oooh I don't know........oooooo" to "I AM!" it makes a HUGE difference.


A great article that Jane Savoie wrote in this months Practicle Horseman Magazine is about 5 easy ways to build confidence, and I had to pick it up because of my "fear" of stadium fences.

She makes some great points, that I highlighted.

- If you never do anything that makes you uncomfortable, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to succeed. In short, you fail to grow. Worse, you inadvertently feed your fear, allowing it to turn into an unmanageable monster that could paralyze you from attempting anything new.

- Rather than think of fear as a signal to retreat, consider it to a cue to go forward. Action, perhaps more than anything else, halps to overcome anxiety and build confidence.

- Whether you succeed or fail short, isn't as important as knowing you tried.

Change the way you think - my Coach has been helping me with this since she has a degree is phychology and is one of the "Heads" at a psch ward, she's been helping me over come my fear of stadium jumping.

Firstly, do not allow any negative thoughts enter your mind, if they do - shout a catch phrase like for me, that is "Stop in the name of sexy, stadium jumping is fun" and start saying something positive.

I do possitive affermations on a daily basis on recepie cards. Where I write 1 thing positive about stadium jumping on each and every indavidual card.

They've helped alot. Such as

" when approaching a stadium fence, I am confident, strong and powerful"
" I can deal with any callange that comes my way"
" I trust my horse"

Etc, etc, etc.
    04-12-2010, 11:10 PM
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When I rode on a certain event team, the coach had a sports psychologist work with us. He had us practice using "visualization". This is a great coping tool. You simply PRETEND you are totally relaxed and comfortable with what you are about to do. If you pretend to be relaxed enough, it starts to become a reality.

Try pretending you are the person you most admire as a rider. Approach the course the way you believe THAT person would approach it. Ride every jump the way you think they would.

This is a tool that really can make a difference. Try it!!
    04-12-2010, 11:20 PM
^^ your post reminded me of something else

It really will help you relax if you smile, just pretending you are happy can make you feel more happy. I know it sounds crazy !
    04-13-2010, 01:14 AM
First re-establish your confidence with the horse on the flat. Do some in hand work to assert yourself as the leader and be confident, followed by flat work. Then, try doing the course again with only ground poles. No jumps, just poles where the jump would be. Focus on slowing him down and play with the striding etc, and focus on your position and relaxing. That's what I would do if that happened to me.

Other members have posted advice on how to relax, so I won't repeat them.
    04-13-2010, 02:00 AM
Oh and remember to breathe! Breathing is very important and not to be under-estimated!

Let us know how you go.
    04-13-2010, 08:06 AM
Originally Posted by writer23    
Oh and remember to breathe! Breathing is very important and not to be under-estimated!

Let us know how you go.
I have to laugh at that. My trainer is always saying situp, shoulders back and down, now BREATHE!

I've done a lot of pole work in the two days since this happened on my youngster. Unfortunatley, I can't get back on that horse until I go back for a lesson. Right now my confidence is back and fine on the flat with Willow, which is one step in the right direction. (And I have to brag, she was doing the poles on a circle at the canter, and poles at the trot in a figure of eight yesterday with a nice easy rhythm, getting them in stride. Also figured out the walk to canter transition yesterday, so YEAH!! That's why I love babies, they are always learning something).
    04-13-2010, 08:11 AM
MIEventer - I will try some of those techniques. There are some good ideas there.
Allison Finch - I had forgotten about imagery, and will give it a try. Although in the past it has sometimes stressed me out for some reason. I think I sometimes get disappointed when things don't go as well as what I was imaging - maybe I'm doing something wrong here, I don't know. It's been a long time since I've tried it tough, maybe something will be different.

Gypsygirl - you have no idea how many times I have told myself to suck it up and just ride. That I know what I am doing so DO IT! Sometimes it works, mainly when I am frustrated with myself, but not quite as well when I'm nervous. I guess I'm just not as convincing then :)
    04-13-2010, 08:22 AM
I second writer23's post lol... not breathing is bad I know that for a fact :L
I stopped breathing at the first jump of my first ever course at a sports day. Bubbles smashed through the whole fence instead of jumping the dang thing and so I got a restart and it wasnt until the 6th jump that I realised "oh crap im gettin dizzy.. oh wait im not breathing and now I've stopped I can't start again" haha that happened at my second round at a gymkhana too.
    04-13-2010, 10:30 AM
I wish you all the best! Let us know how it works out for you! I suggest going and buying this months Practicle Horseman Magazine and read Jane's article.

Go buy recepie cards and write down positive affermations on them. Write down everything you want your experience to be.

"I can face any obsticle that arises"
"I am a strong, powerful, confident rider"
"Approaching a fence will be rhythmical, strait and steady"

Etc, etc

Read them every single day to teach your subconcious that there is nothing to be scared of. Retrain your subconcious!

As Jane said in her article, our sub consious believes everything we tell it, so by me telling myself time and time again that I am going to get hurt if I jump a stadium fence, and by allowing my fear to over come me - my sub concious now believes that, so whenever I am faced with a Stadium Fence, all that comes out.

So I have to stop and say my catch phrase and go over my positive affermations, and that helps alot.

It is about re-training your sub concious. Our minds are powerful tools! They can work with or against us - but we are the one's who train it.

I know it'll work out for you! **HUGS** Heck, if I can do it, so can you!

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