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elrohwen 08-28-2009 04:53 PM

Help Me Get My Confidence Back
My question: How do you get your confidence over fences back when you haven't ridden in a while?

I haven't had consistent jumping lessons for about 7 years, and I'm finding that my confidence is a bit depleted from when I was a kid. I never jumped very high growing up, but I think I was pretty decent and I was able to get around challenging courses. I felt like a rider, not a passenger. Now I'm starting over with simple lines (I haven't done more than a line or single jump at a time, no courses) and I find myself getting nervous as soon as the jump is higher than a little crossrail :-( My trainer knows this and is keeping the jumps low for me and making things simple, so I feel like it's my challenge to get over my mental block now.

I guess before I knew that even if my distance wasn't perfect, the horse I was riding would help me out and things would be ok. Now, even over a 2'3" vertical I feel like I have to get the distance perfect or bad things will happen (I don't even know what I think will happen ... these horses are very sweet and logically I know they can pack me out of it if I hit a bad distance every once in a while)

So help me out mentally here. I'm not totally terrified or anything, and I'm trying really hard not to transfer any nervousness to the horses I'm riding, but what can I do to improve my confidence? Heck, I'm only trotting in and cantering out! This is not grand prix! I need to get past my mental thing and just start riding again. All suggestions are appreciated, especially from any other adult riders who feel this annoying self-preservation thing kicking in :wink:

Ahsisi 08-29-2009 12:14 PM

You just need to ride =) Seriously, ride as often as you can and just take it one day at a time. One jump at a time. Do you ride the same horse (or horses) all the time? Ones that you know and can be comfortable on? When you haven't done it in awhile it is normal to get nervous at each jump. Try just to focus on one jump at a time. Good luck!

horsechick139 08-30-2009 08:10 PM

If you love riding do it from your heart, and you could jump 5 feet trust yourself and keep on saying I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!

elrohwen 08-31-2009 01:55 PM

Thanks for the responses! It's frustrating that I can only ride once a week (this sport is expensive and saving for a house is the priority) but I hope I will get there slowly.

Either that or switch to dressage ;-) I find myself enjoying flat work far more than I used to.

drafteventer 08-31-2009 02:02 PM

I have that problem also...and I find the only way to get over it, is to just do it. I have the issue of always assuming the worst is going to happen, but as i've found usually the worst doesn't happen.

jadeewood 09-01-2009 05:23 PM

my mum had a bad accident about 6 years ago now. and she really wanted to get back into riding but she was too affraid. i encurriaged her to get back on and do wht she feels safe, anyways she just wanted top walk/trot but i siad look have a canter and taht honstly she will not run offf, so she did and she was really happy of her self, she did that a cople of times but wanted to jump so i didnt push her to much i just outa tiny, 1'9ft cross pole up and she was fine when she came round again without telling her i put it up to a staraigfh, she got confident and confidednt and then i took her out on 3-4 hour hacks and beach rides. ect. now she is really confident she is doing xc and sj on my colored at just small 2ft competitions but its still improving. and then she turned round to me and said i want to do 2'3ft class i waslike good for you...

i hope you get syour confidence back.

IrishRider 09-01-2009 06:18 PM

I agree. Ride as much as you can and don't push yourself into things you aren't comfortable with. Go at your own pace. You'll get it back it just takes time.

ChevyPrincess 09-01-2009 10:12 PM

I am 19. I had a bad accident a year ago. Just keep going. Somedays will be easy, others hard. Sometimes, its okay to push yourself. It helps. My best friend has been doing an excellent job helping me gain back confidence in riding. One day, my nerves got the best of me. I didn't want to ride, too many things were going on. What if the horse I rode, did what that gelding did to me?

My freind made me get on the mare anyway. But I had to think, horses just don't throw themselves over every 5 minutes! Horses don't always have that on their brain " oh, it's been 5 minutes. Its now time to throw myself over!" No. That thought never crosses the minds of the horses I have been riding since. And I do get scared at first, but after while, I calm down and I am confident in the saddle.

But since I was in an accident with a gelding, I tend to be more fearful of them. I have only ridden one a few times (my moms paint) and one time, i got so scared, i started to cry. Earlier today however, I got on a appy gelding i am looking into buying. I was scared at first, but the man who trained him showed me all these things to do in case of emergency. So, I got on him. I was a little nervous at first, but the trainer kept talking to me, and before long, both me and the horse were relaxed.

Remember: Courage is doing something you love, even when you are terrified. It makes you stronger. There are people out there who love horses and aren't afraid of them. But people like us, we love them, we are scared of them sometimes, but still have the strength and courage to get back in the saddle again. I hope this helps. And time does go by fast, before you know it, you will have confidence =]

Gidji 09-02-2009 01:16 AM

I know how you feel. Its tough when you lose your confidence. Especially when its on a horse you love.
Last year, I had a few bad falls off this mare. It wasn't her fault, I think it was just that she was a bit spooky. I was really nervous around her the whole time, and even leading her would get me really scared.
But eventually, my friend offered to lunge Nessie and me.
It took a lot of hard work, a little bit of courage and a whole lotta commitment, but now I'm riding Nessie again.
I still get nervous when we're riding on the road though, because we had a very close call with a car last year.
Just ride, ride, ride. Work with a variety of horses. There's no point just jumping one. It'll teach you how to deal with different horses and make you more confident. Good luck.

ChingazMyBoy 09-02-2009 05:07 AM

I had a fall off Chinga when jumping. The smallest of jumps made me shudder. But today, I set up a cross jump and I guess I just hoped Chinga would help me threw it and keep going without me pushing, and he jumped it being so careful of little me. So I guess I am saying trust your horse to guide you.

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