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LoveStory10 02-11-2010 12:42 PM

Ive lost my confidence... please help me
Yesterday I was having a jumping lesson on Love Story, and we had an oxer and an upright that were 80cm, which for Love is nothing. Any way, we jumped the upright a few times perfectly, good stridingand speed, but the oxer... agh!

Our first attept she misjudged and knocked the whole thing down... the second she rapped it hard and tripped, but Im pretty sure they were my fault. So my instructer told me to push her just a bit, to get her to watch herself, so I did.

But she wouldnt do it. I made sure I took her in straight, and we were going at a good speed, not to fast, but not to slow. But about 4 strides away she balked, and spun out, and the next time, the same thing. So I drove her abit more, and she cat leaped about three strides away, I got totally left behind and she came down hard, almost bouncing me off.

I am really afraid of jumping now... But I have a show next weekend that I really want to compete in. Does anyone have any tips for how I can get my confidence back? Cookies if you read all that.

And btw, I dont blame Love, Im pretty sure it was all my fault, which is why I need help

eventerwannabe 02-11-2010 02:08 PM

Go back to basics. Do a LOT of dressage! Get your flat work as close to perfect as you can. When you do start jumping her again, do little stuff and work your way up. Do 1' oxers, and then slowly move them up 3" every three times you jump it or something. Maybe school over some bigger oxers with a horse that you KNOW will go over them.

Im glad you arent blaming your horse! Good luck.

MyBoyPuck 02-11-2010 02:26 PM

If she just stopped and didn't want to jump, I would say she's just testing you, but since she went the trouble of ejecting you in place of jumping the oxer, I'm wondering if maybe you are catching her in the mouth a little over the verticals and she just doesn't feel that she'll be able to stretch her neck out to get over the oxer? I've noticed with oxers, because of the spread, most horses who object to them just feel restrained over them.

Whatever the reason, how most of us get confidence back is to go back to cross rails or even ground poles and do them until you're bored and want to move back up. Mares are smart. I'm sure she had a reason for what she did. Just take a step back and maybe do some more flat work until your mind settles down.

Maire995 02-11-2010 03:44 PM

i had the same problem a couple of weeks ago my confidence just dissapered! you need to trust her abit more when jumping sit back before the jump and before you ride walk the strides so you know when to take off and she does to mayby walk her up to the jump first let her look at it and estimate how she needs to take off for it what disstance she needs ect! it also would be no harm to carry a whip just to be on the safe side use plenty of leg before and after the jump getting a could take off and run away! and finallay go with her over the jump but her hands up her neck so you dont pull her in the mouth when your jumping! they then assosiate pain with jumping thats when you have a problem! Goodluck and remeber trust yourself and LoveStory and you should be fine:)

LoveStory10 02-11-2010 11:26 PM

Thank you all for your advice. Im a nervous jumper anyway, so this has just shattered my confidence. Over the upright I was releasing, and using leg, which is why she jumped it so beautifully. Over the oxer though, Im not sure if I was releasing, so maybe that was the problem. I also think that she didnt want to jump it the third time, because the first and second time she knocked it and got hurt, and didnt want to get hurt again... Could that have been a possible reason?

gogirl46 02-11-2010 11:47 PM

It could be a number of things, ranging from rider error to her not feeling so well. Have a friend look at her and make sure that there is nothing physically wrong. Try lunging her over the oxer a few times so she learns to judge them. Get another rider you trust and ask them to try her over the oxer a few times and then hop on her and do the same thing. Also try starting at a low vertical, to a higher vertical then lowering to an oxer and back up to the height you were at while circling and a friend can adjust heights for you as you circle.

It doesn't sound like rider error to me. It sounds more like she misjudged and didn't want to risk it so she did everything other than trust her feet.

Alwaysbehind 02-12-2010 07:10 AM

You need to talk to your instructor/trainer about this. Let them know you are worried so they can modify your program to help you get your confidence back.

ChingazMyBoy 02-12-2010 07:36 AM

Talk to your trainer about how you felt, but remember she obviously thinks you are good enough to be doing the stuff you are doing.

MyBoyPuck 02-14-2010 07:42 PM


Originally Posted by LoveStory10 (Post 550205)
Thank Over the oxer though, Im not sure if I was releasing, so maybe that was the problem. I also think that she didnt want to jump it the third time, because the first and second time she knocked it and got hurt, and didnt want to get hurt again... Could that have been a possible reason?

That would explain it. Most horses aren't about to attempt a more challenging jump if their only reward is getting hit in the mouth. Many horses will choose to stop at a fence if they feel their rider is not secure or gets them to a bad distance. Once you start jumping again, just keep it very small until you get absolutely bored senseless. Try not to worry too much about it. Just do what you're comfortable with. When you're ready to turn things up another notch, you'll know.

MIEventer 02-14-2010 08:13 PM

99.9% of errors that occur while riding *This goes for all disciplines* is rider fault. I learnt this from a phenominal GP Jumper back in my Pony Club Days - Ian Millar when I was priveledged enough to clinic with him.

I also learnt from "Captain Canada" that a good rider blames themselves, and a poor rider blames their horse.

Lets talk facts here. Spruce Meadows put on a studdy on what horses really see when they are jumping. Their results were that horses jump blindly. They cannot see the fence at all when they are 1 - 2 strides out from the fence. When they are about approaching a fence, about 5ish strides away, they see the fence in two's. Then when they get even closer, the fence becomes 1 in their line of vision - then it completely dissapears.

Another studdy shows this result:

Regardless, that is why it is very, very important to remain solid through your form in tack, and body language to remain confident so that your horse can follow suit and get their job done.

Now, alot of horses know their job and do it, regardless of their riders errors - but when we are on horses who say "no way, if you aren't in the game, neither am I", that is when we learn. So be thankful that the horse you are riding, is making you aware of your faults, so that you can learn from them, and become a stronger, more solid/confident rider for in the future.


I had a nasty spill a couple of summers ago. Shook my confidence drastically. I was preparing for an Event that was approaching and my Coach had me jumping an oxer.

She set it up low, about 2'6" and then gradually increased it over time, to Novice's max at 2'11". My horse and I were doing wonderfully and I was confident about our compeating.

Until my last time around - my Coach raised it even higher than expected. Over 3'0". I was approaching the fence, in 2 point, tall upper body, legs around my horses girth, hands carried - looking at the fence. I forgot about riding my horse, and started to ride the fence.

I was thinking to myself "gee, that looks much bigger than 2'11" and kept thinking "That's bigger" as we got closer and closer and closer. I was more worried about the height of the fence, than I was getting over it.

Well, I dropped my horse. My shoulders dropped, hands dropped, head looking down at the fence. My horse stopped. He said no way. I kept going. Flipped over him and smashed through the fence face first and ended up on the other side.

I lay there for a moment and my coach ran up to me asking if I were ok. I got up and said "yeah". Then I saw blood. I assumed I broke my nose because I went face first into the jump - and after closer examination, we discovered a rusty metal jump cup, that was embedded in my right arm.

My coach pulled it out, we headed up to the barn, washed it off with bedadine scrub and iodine. Wrapped it with horse bandages and secured it with hot pink vet wrap.

I got back on my horse and finished my lesson. I compeating with a hot pink arm band too - it was oober hot - lol.

What happened at the event? My horse and I won 1st place for our devision against 15ish other competators. Today, I have the scar to remind me - to remain solid and confident over fences.....does it help? Not aways - I have confidence issues over stadium fences now.

My Coach gave me a great bit of advice yesterday at our lesson. It is mind over matter - if we think of all the wrong that could happen, we react physically to it, and so do our horses because they feed off of our energy. If we worry about what could go wrong, we lose the fun, the enjoyment of the sport we love - and then what's the point?

Don't let it beat you. Change your mindset. Easier said than done, yes I know this because when I am approaching a 2'6" oxer I start sweating and replaying my accident in my head, but that is when I fail - because I allowed it to over come me.

When I think about how much fun this is, and how much I trust my horse and how I know how to get this bloomin' job done correctly, I do better.

It is a mental fight, but if I let my mind get the best of me, I fail.

I have pictures and videos of my horse and I doing Training Level Eventing Fences with ease and fluidity - and I realize how silly I am being when I freeze going over an xrail.

I have to keep reminding myself that I can do this, and I have nothing to fear but fear itself.

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