I Have Lost It, I Think
Long story short, after MANY years of riding horse that were either A) a dirty stopper, B) GREEN GREEN GREEN, or C) WAY too much horse, I finally have a good one that will forgive my mistakes and allow me to learn. So why is it that I seem to have completely fortgotten how to jump? I either jump ahead or behind, can't find a distance, and basically land in a heap of mess on my angelic horse's back. We schooled XC and were fine, but I can't get it together in an arena. I find myself not being able to just be still. So frustrating. And yes, I am taking lessons. WTH? Any ideas?
I am in the same boat. I used to show hunters and did pretty well on the local level but now forget it :no:. I am back to doing ground poles and small xrails to try to get it together. My trainers tells me to just let the horse be and stop interfereing lol. I will be interested in some helpful ideas that people will comment with :D.
Are you worrying too much about the fence?
My instructor always tell me to focus on the quality of the gait, keep it consistent, in a rhythym and the horse will take care of the jump.
Maybe practice adjusting your horse's stride away from a fence, with transitions within the gaits, so you feel more comfortable with it while jumping.
Good luck, I'm sure it will come back to you even better now with a good horse!
LOL! I could have written this thread 6 months ago!
The answer is: because crap and a nice horse are two different kinds of rides ;)
In all seriousness, when you ride crappy horses, you are making the adjustments for the horse to the fence, whether its that you are backing the horse off the jump, or holding up their shoulders or whatever.
Nice horses back themselves off the fence. You just ride quietly forward, supporting with calf and soft hands, and the nice horse will take care of the jump.
For me, I have always had the issue of not a lot of money, so I end up with green or difficult. It had been over 5 years since I had ridden a nice, soft, broke horse, and when my current youngster started jumping I was like - OMG, I don't know how to ride this!!!!
What helped me was remembering that I used to be able to ride nice horses, and listen to my trainer. Young horse has been jumping for about 8 months now, and I'd say it took me about 6 months to not revert back to my bad over riding habits created from riding crap.
Good luck!!! It will get better! Persevere!!
Edited to add : just wanted to clarify- not sayin that the/ your past horses were crappy- just using the term as a euphamisim for a not nice to ride horse :)
Thank you for this lovely information!! I, too could have been the OP here. I used to jump BIG fences back in the day, but now 2' looks intimidating. And I too, tense up in the arena and am much more comfortable jumping bigger cross country fences. I have a "new", older, been there, done that 17 hand TB gelding who is still very comfortable (with someone else!) over 4-5 foot fences. EEEEK!! I'm beginning to be more trusting of him...What the heck, he thinks we're just jumping ground poles compared to where he came from...and he is an EZ, flat jumper who just glides over the jumps. I'm thinking I may get my confidence back with this horse and hopefully carry on over to other horses I have.
Originally Posted by Judysmom
Thank you Judysmom for the encouragement!!
I had an experience not too long ago where I was riding in my first jumper show. In the warm-up my horse was a real handful. Her extra adrenaline from not enough turnout, plus the amped up atmosphere, plus my nervousness created some theatrics that made me not want to go beyond the warmup. In fact, I felt like going back to the trailer. I wouldn't have done that in reality, but it did cross my mind.
I was terrified when I entered the ring and I think the horse knew it. I dropped her at the first fence ( I wasn't paying attention), but managed to get over it the second time. The rest of the course went just fine. Round 2 was even better and round 3 was amazing. We were out of the ribbons, but the goal there was to get around with a smooth trip and not worry about time.
I think what helped me was having a course to focus on so that I didn't get hung up on any one particular jump.
What I find interesting with folks that have ridden a bunch of horses, have alot of experience, is forgetting the little thing called time. Especially in this sport, I feel it takes time to build the connection between horse and rider, to make the two parts of the engine work as one.
When I got Sterling I was told he was a good jumper, could jump 3' easy. Sure could, but not with me. I thought since I had been jumping BN with my Big old mare Mercedes I could just jump on, kick and go with Sterling. I forgot time and I forgot what my trainer always tries to pound into me which is you sometimes have to go back to basics to learn something new...even a new horse.
It took over a year of slow steady work to start getting the right rhythm, the connection of mind and body between Sterling and I (sure, new rider, new horse). You know at one level that each an every horse is different, but you may also overlook that because each and every horse is different, it takes time to establish a good relationship. We (generally) don't go from first date to marriage in one step, why do so with horses and eventing.
Start back with the basics, establish good flat work, pace control that comes from the core, not the hands, work with ground poles, then cross rails, even if it seems easy; this way you don't focus on the jump so much as how your position feels. My trainer has me riding around in two point one handed, no hands to work on balance...Do you use a neck strap, our rule is three strides out I better be grabbing something other then air (mane or strap).
Experience can shorten the time with the basics, but it does not negate them. When I sailed and would take out an unfamiliar boat to race, I would spend time on basic moves, sail settings till I felt I understood how the boat responded before I expected results (even after sailing 30 years) I've found with a horse it takes way more time to get to "know" them for they have a mind.
I wish you the best in getting to learn/know your new horse. I bet it will all come together one day and you'll start having a blast. Till then, be patient with you, with your horse, and let time work its magic.
Sometimes, to go fast, at first you have to go slow .
Thank you all so much for your replies. I feel so much better! My new horse is such a good trooper and I have so much to relearn. Glad to hear that others have been down the same road.
You'll get it back! I've been there, for sure. I still revert to habits I learned 9 or 10 years ago on a less than genuine horse. I have no need to, but it's there, and old habits die very, very hard. It does just take time to relearn and readjust and retrain your brain and your body.
Unless you ride many different horses that go in many different ways all the time, it does just take a period of readjustment. I used to ride 3-5 horses a day, and could go from green, to broke, to naughty, to pony without much thought. But I found myself struggling a little bit at first this summer when I had a friend's green horse for a couple of months. It took me a few times of jumping him to remember how to smoothly ride a greenbean and not look like a drunken monkey (our first few rides were "crude yet effective."). By the end of our time, I smoothly piloted him around his first show, but, even with years of experience riding green horses, I hadn't ridden a green one in almost a year when I first got on him and had to re-remember ;)!
So, give yourself some time...it'll come. :yes::D