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Tips for building confidence XC ?

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  • Tips for building confidence XC ?

    What do you do to build confidence XC for doing jumps bigger than say 2ft? I feel like I am in a rut of adult ammy whimpiness and I am not sure how to get my way out. I have done a few xc lessons recently and that has helped but I still don't feel 100%.
    Last edited by Treasured; May. 23, 2012, 04:37 PM.

  • #2
    What about practicing on stadium jumps that are a little bigger first. At least then you get the size to start with.

    More lessons.... with a coach that will acknowledge your fear but also push you just a little! When they believe in you.. it's easier to believe in yourself.

    Is your horse part of the scaryness factor? Could you try a friends horse? Would that make it better? Or maybe it would make it worse?!

    Could you build some of your own that are 'in-between' sizes? Or add some brush to some of the smaller ones to make them look bigger but not quite so big?

    I think honestly though it's just time and practice... Do it often enough and you'll start wanting to jump the bigger ones.. and then you will Besides... there's no rush! It's all about the journey! Some of us take longer than others...


    • #3
      Work with a confidence building coach. Small steps, for both you and the horse - in the right sequence. You can do it!!


      • #4
        Originally posted by FLeckenAwesome View Post
        More lessons.... with a coach that will acknowledge your fear but also push you just a little! When they believe in you.. it's easier to believe in yourself.
        Originally posted by Almost Heaven View Post
        Work with a confidence building coach. Small steps, for both you and the horse - in the right sequence. You can do it!!
        Great advice here, the right trainer that understands your fears will help you tremendously. Also, you may want to consider having someone you trust take your horse over some cross country jumps while you watch. Seeing how easily your horse goes may give you some extra confidence!
        Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


        • #5
          Just give yourself time and practice/mileage. It'll come along...

          The other day I jumped an oxer that two years ago I never would have done, and last year I would have done but it would have been a Big Deal and made me nervous. The other day I jumped it a bunch of times, not even thinking about the oxer itself, but working on my position. And afterwards I caught myself thinking, "We should have put that up a hole or two, maybe next time."

          I don't get anymore nervous about xc jumps than stadium, so working on building height/width with stadium ones works for me. I'm actually more confident xc, I suppose from doing tons of outdoor riding when I was younger.

          Maybe you could raise the smaller xc jumps up a bit using blocks, or logs or something, to make them a more "in the middle" height... you may want to stake them to make them sturdy.
          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


          • #6
            Everything in coaching riders now is about tiny tickable targets. I think you need to develop a plan with these small targets to help you on your way to the ultimate goal which would be BN.

            By breaking down the goal it will not seem such a steep mountain that you need to climb and you can also look back and see how far you have come. Ultimately the only way you will get to where you want will be through practice.

            Many xc fences can be practised under stadium conditions jumping things like corners, angled fences, skinnys and these can then be built up if you feel more confident about stadium. You can also increase the solidness of the fences with household items such as buckets, flowerpots, bits of hedge/tree etc

            I think you also need to address your fears - what is making you so worried about it all? Is it falling off? Is it fear of failing? Fear of injury because of your baby? There is an excellent book called Simple Steps to Riding Success which uses some brilliant NLP techniques to help overcome every day worries for riders.
            The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.


            • #7
              Break it down into tiny steps. Start jumping bigger stadium fences, even do Novice height stadium before you try the BN xc fences that have you a little worried.

              Also, with the help of a good, understanding trainer, try to pinpoint the reason these fences look so big to you. Does your horse lack confidence in the open, and that makes you nervous? Do the fences just look "big"? Does your horse jump you out of the tack and make you feel insecure in your position? Bounce around different things that might be making your nervous, until you get that "ahhh hah!" moment, and then go from there. It's hard to fix the problem without knowing it

              You might also want to try some positive thinking exercises, if you find this anxiety comes up more and more in your riding. I used some of Jane Savoie's techniques for a while, and I've been using Dr. Meckola's EFT with great success in other areas of my life.

              Best of luck!
              Trying a life outside of FEI tents and hotel rooms.


              • #8
                Building on solid rock

                Originally posted by FLeckenAwesome View Post
                I think honestly though it's just time and practice... Do it often enough and you'll start wanting to jump the bigger ones.. and then you will Besides... there's no rush! It's all about the journey! Some of us take longer than others...
                The practical suggestions are all good (I may try some myself, being in the same level), but this statement is the foundation, the root to build on. I'll get this out of the way first, we need to push ourselves out of the comfort zone to be able to learn and grow. With that said, there is no reason for it to be a big push, a fast pace.

                When I got my new horse I thought I was was ready to just (jump) right in and tackle the BN size jumps because he was able to jump 3'. I pushed that desire and it resulted in me falling off at a jump, and going backwards in confidence. After a bad weekend at a show I reached out to my old (now current) trainer and asked for help. I think the first thing she did was take me back to basics. We did lots of flat work, work over poles, balance and control before we even saw a cross rail.

                Thank Goodness!!

                She began to build by small steps, but I had to accept that pace. I had to realize that there is no time table requiring I be BN or N or anything, but happy. When I let go of the push, we actually learned better for now I just enjoyed the moment. I relaxed and cheered when we did our first cross rail in balance. I smiled ear to ear when we completed a 2' vertical gymnastic series and I stayed on my feet and in the saddle. I couldn't stop smiling the day we went xc schooling and we did our first banks, water and log in control and balanced. Just last week I did my first oxer and was so thrilled I got yelled at by my trainer because I forgot the rest of the course. Oh well, I did it. I also laughed at my self when Sterling came to a stop, because I was so not prepared for a jump, I accepted the "strong words" when I screwed up a flat work exercise, adjusted and got it right the next lesson.

                All that because of what FA said, it's the journey that matters. Set the small goals, work towards them, but most of all have fun along the way. Let your trainer/coach/horse find the right moment to push (like the last lesson where I jumped with one arm extended...yikes!!!...but I did it) and when you get it, smile and thank your horse/coach/trainer. When you don't, accept the input on what needs work and practice till you get it right. Enjoy the ride, enjoy the moment, let time deal with the rest.

                My hope is that we'll be ready to do a show (tadpole) by Oct, but if my trainer says no...I'll be a little grumpy, but I'll wait. The success is more important then completion of a goal, and you, me, we all want success.


                • #9
                  Is there a "been there done that" type horse anywhere you could hop over a few on? That made the difference for me. I could then go back to my greenie and be more confident on him. If you're both nervous, it doesn't help!
                  "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."



                  • #10
                    A brave, smart, polite, schoolmaster or schoolmistress-type horse who loves their job, knows the answers, and does their job with enthusiasm but not nutso behavior. Worth their weight in GOLD if you can find, borrow, or steal one!
                    Click here before you buy.


                    • #11
                      For me it was riding with the right clinician.

                      I don't have a schoolmaster, just a horse who is honest/good but I never would have thought her to be exceptionally athletic.

                      But Eric Smiley had me jumping things I never dreamt were possible and he made them easy and I never once felt afraid. It was the same for a friend who rode the same weekend, elementary group jumping every thing novice and even bigger. No they didn't start that way, but within an hour and a half, you and your horse were so trustful in what he thought you could do.

                      Eric even said to my friend, trust me.

                      And now everything looks do-able. (though I still get so nervous before XC warmup I want to die, but that has more to do with warmup then the jumps).


                      • #12
                        Lessons, Coaching and...

                        I was once a weenie re-rider. Since dressage was easy, I was told that I had to spend hours in my jump saddle until I could switch saddles without feeling that there was a big adjustment... so 3xs week jump saddle wether I was jumping or not.

                        Then, 1/2 seat at all gaits until I was strong enough to walk, trot, canter and halt from any gait in my 1/2 seat. (Use a neck strap... helps.)

                        As I got physically stronger, the jumps felt smaller and as my lower body got quieter, I wanted more.

                        And, for me, the crossover to embracing my inner cowgirl came from fox hunting. You can't micromanage everything fox hunting, so both my horse and I learned to trust each other more. And the galloping... did I get a taste and a love for the gallop from flying across fields.

                        But, I couldn't do that without getting a strong base.

                        I'm coming back from a bad fall in June and I can feel the fear... I go back to the basics - strengthening my leg and seeking out the trainers that know me, know what happened and can help me kick start my return.

                        It will come...
                        Live, Laugh, Love


                        • #13
                          What works for me:




                          • #14
                            What helped me a lot was going to a LOT of shows as a groom for my friends and my trainer and walking a LOT of cross country courses. I would usually walk their courses with them, then at the end of the day I'd walk whatever level I would have been riding. It helped my eye adjust, and by walking their courses and talking with them I learned a lot about what to think about, how to ride different fences, etc, without the pressure of showing.

                            Before you know it, the bigger jumps will start to look like a lot of fun. I promise!


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RAyers View Post
                              Live, Laugh, Love


                              • #16
                                I have the same problem! Must be something to do with having a kid.


                                • #17
                                  One of the things that helps me is hacking out alone.
                                  -Debbie / NH

                                  My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/


                                  • #18
                                    parts of the equation

                                    I, too. advise stadium jumps They can be corners , coffin types; a good instructor who, can build confidence by reinforcing the basics, rhythm , line, direction, what were the other two? Jack legoff used to bring these up; I know Denny remembers, don't you Denny? The next part is a steady schoolmaster type horse.rock solid and smooth over anything you might meet.
                                    breeder of Mercury!

                                    remember to enjoy the moment, and take a moment to enjoy and give God the glory for these wonderful horses in our lives.BECAUSE: LIFE is What Happens While Making Other Plans


                                    • #19
                                      I know what you are going thru!! After several years now though I have gone from BN looking huge to now looking at most training questions and going "we can do that!!". And on a horse that is not the bravest in the world either. (Boy, isn't THAT a great combo, or what!!)

                                      Ditto the stadium fences practice. Once N is comfortable, BN on xc won't look so daunting. I have actually found, and now believe, that the "bigger" fences are easier. The horse actually pays attention to them and jumps them as opposed to flopping over them.

                                      Other things that have worked for me (in combination):
                                      Not looking at the fence, no matter the height. Look PAST it (that can be really hard when it looks huge and/or scarey) and KICK the last 2 strides. Everyone says to kick on the last but I have found that us timid Tillys need to also kick on the one before too. That is where I often freeze.

                                      When in doubt, trot it. No matter how "big" it looks, they can trot it. But it has to be a TROT, not a whimpy little diagonal 2 beat gait. ;-)

                                      Don't over jump yourself and get up their neck. It is only 2' and something. You can sit straight up and be just fine. Actually, you will FEEL like you are sitting straight up, but you really aren't.

                                      Grab mane, or a neck strap.

                                      A good coach, on a regular basis. A good coach will humor your wimpiness and then gently and oh so sneakily get you jumping things you never thought of. And they will seem like a piece of cake. It is hard to do this in clinics though it can be done with the right instructor. But it is more rewarding and produces consistent results if you can find an instructor to help you. It needs to be a low key one though that is good with us LLR (lower level riders). It doesn't really matter so much how much of an ULR they are as long as they can teach us LLR in a low key, almost a ho-hum, manner.

                                      It also helps if when you are schooling xc on a course, that the flags NOT be up. That is a psych out factor, at least for me. When I was getting back to evetning after several yrs off I remember a fence that the coach told me to jump. We had been doing starter and BN level stuff for about 45 min so I trusted her. So I didn't question the fence she told me to jump it. Sailed right over it. Turned out later it was a novice fence!! And I was at the "BN IS HUGE" stage.


                                      • #20
                                        Le Goff says it so clearly__

                                        You haven`t read Jack LeGoff`s famous mantra that I quote in the book "How Good Riders Get Good"? That book is a blueprint for success,but not unless you shell out about half the price of a normal riding lesson and then actually read the book!
                                        I realize that many Americans aren`t readers, but A little study can counter a lot of heartache.