Is there any hope for me in getting over my jump fear?
I rode hunters for years growing up, then had several really bad falls and became very fearful of jumping, I switched to riding dressage and have done that for the past 14 years. Something in me has been awakened and I really want to jump again but I am scared that once I try it again the fear will come back over me. So what's the best way to get started again? One of the horses I bought to do dressage with was a hunter, only small stuff, like 2', but he was good at it. Should I just put ground poles down and trot back and forth until that is basically boring and slowly bring the pole up, or what should I do? I'm going to talk with my trainer when she comes for a lesson, and see what she has to say, but basically can I get over this fear??
I would talk to your trainer about a plan but yes I think there is hope you can overcome your fear.
I say that as being an adult starter overer who never really did jump in the little riding I did as a child. I started in formal lessons with my daughter as an adult terrified of a crossrail.
But it got better, I have a very honest horse with a good sense of humor and now have a great trainer who has been insidiously raising the jumps and my confidence over the last couple of years. I am now jumping 3' at times and have done a couple of 3'6 jumps as singles without losing control of my bodily functions. .
The progress has been slow, but then again I have no high aspirations for showing just wanted to see how well I can do for my own personal gratification. I am now not intimidated over the jumps, am game to try the more complex courses that my evil trainer comes up with and most importantly I am having fun. I think the key was that the trainer challenged me a bit at a time slowly but never overfaced me or pushed to hard. She didn't let me rest on my arse but once she knew I was ready she upped the ante a bit.
Take your time and remember this is supposed to be fun.
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Trust your trainer, and don't let her tell you where the fences are set. I've found if they don't set the jumps until you're on the horse, and aren't told how high they are it's much easier to not feel fear. I rode some bad horses for a while, and was so nervous about anything over 2ft but with a good horse and trusting my trainer I was up to 2'6" before the hour was over, and felt comfortable.
Still felt like I was gonna puke once she told me how high they were, but at least we were done! It was easier the next time, and the time after that... now I finally got over my fear enough to know how high I'm really jumping, and to not fear the numbers.
I would say if you have an awesome schoolmaster type jumper to ride the first few times it might be easier, one you know you can trust to go and not have to worry.
I'm kind of in the same boat. I will be 50 (don't look it) : ) this year and have been riding all my life but mainly doing saddle seat until last year when my trainer finally talked me into trying jumping and I loved it. I however have a green horse so we have had some ups and downs as he is an over achiever but I will not give up. I want to do it more than I am afraid. This is my moto: Don't let your fears stand in the way of your dreams". Go for it. You will get thru it. Even if it's 2 steps forward and one back it's all apart of the process.
Make sure that your trainer understands that you have fear and want to work on it. Some trainers can handle that and some cannot. I started having anxiety jumping after a few falls, and my trainer got frustrated and angry with me, which only made things worse. She just could not get over the fact that I was not as confident as I had been a couple of years before. Having someone all pissed off at me in a lesson did not help with the confidence.
I finally had to switch trainers to someone that was happy to move at whatever pace I wanted and didn't get mad at me for not being comfortable. That opened the door for me to take chances and I was able to start jumping again.