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to the parents of kids who are starting to jump bigger...

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  • to the parents of kids who are starting to jump bigger...

    How do you get over your nervousness?

    DD is now almost 13 and quite a good rider. Pony is quite a good jumper-scopey, clean, and brave. Together they are starting to move up the levels. I know that letting her jump bigger is the right thing to do (she only jumps in lessons) and I trust our trainer. However, watching her come to a 3'6" wide oxer in her last lesson was enough to make me almost physically ill. All I can think about is what could happen if pony happens to drop a leg and catch a rail. The entire time she is jumping the bigger fences or moving up to the next level at a show I find myself praying over and over "Please God, let them be safe."

    I ride and jump so I understand the allure. However, I am a bit of a nervous rider when the fences go up and will never get past 3'3" or so because of my head. I don't want my fear to be transmitted to my daughter. I don't want anything I do or say to make her start second guessing her own judgment or that of our trainer. How do you get over this? If you can't get over it, how do you manage it?

  • #2
    Be sure that she is not under mounted for the tasks at hand. A good horse willmake you very confident. Thatbeing said, my mother could never watch when aI did the jr.jumpers years ago.:-)
    www.midatlanticeq.com
    Mid-Atlantic Equitation Festival,Scholarships and College Fair
    November 11-13, 2016

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    • #3
      I have no idea, just wanted to send some cyber hugs. Now that I have a child (granted, she's 3) I cannot imagine how my mom let me ride, period.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by skyy View Post
        How do you get over your nervousness?

        DD is now almost 13 and quite a good rider. Pony is quite a good jumper-scopey, clean, and brave. Together they are starting to move up the levels. I know that letting her jump bigger is the right thing to do (she only jumps in lessons) and I trust our trainer. However, watching her come to a 3'6" wide oxer in her last lesson was enough to make me almost physically ill. All I can think about is what could happen if pony happens to drop a leg and catch a rail. The entire time she is jumping the bigger fences or moving up to the next level at a show I find myself praying over and over "Please God, let them be safe."

        I ride and jump so I understand the allure. However, I am a bit of a nervous rider when the fences go up and will never get past 3'3" or so because of my head. I don't want my fear to be transmitted to my daughter. I don't want anything I do or say to make her start second guessing her own judgment or that of our trainer. How do you get over this? If you can't get over it, how do you manage it?
        Don't watch. That's how my parents handled it. They were supportive and came to shows (even out of state) but they always mysteriously vanished about 10 mins before-10 mins after each of my rides after I left the 3' level. They passed the video camera off to another parent or groom so they could watch after they knew everything turned out okay.

        My trainer as a kid was notorious for banning parents from watching within a certain radius of the ring if she thought the kids were picking up on the parent's nervous energy.

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        • #5
          My mom loves to watch, but when i was growing up, a friend's mother couldn't bear it. She would turn around when her daughter went into the ring, and my mother would tell her when the kid landed over the last fence. Then she would turn around and clap like mad!
          ---
          They're small hearts.

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          • #6
            My mom finds something to do so that she can watch and be occupied at the same time. For her, that's video taping my ride. While she can see what's going on, it's through a viewfinder and she gets so focused on filming that she doesn't get as nervous. You can see in some of my videos that she is (particularly in the video from the first grand prix I did, haha!), as the camera shakes a fair amount , but I think it makes her more comfortable having something to do.

            My dad, on the other hand, only watches videos. He won't watch me show in person - although, to his credit, he did come and watch IHSA Nationals, but I know it was very hard for him.
            http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
            Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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            • #7
              I recently got back into jumping after a long break after a bad fall as a teenager, but watching me ride in general made my mom nervous. When I was old enough to safely handle the horse alone, she holed up in the car with a book until my lesson was over. Even now, she has seen me ride my boy only a handful of times. I'm going to start showing again next summer in the jumpers, and I doubt I will be able to get her to come out... probably for the best, though, since I do pick up on her nervous energy.
              Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.

              FOREVER

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              • #8
                It's hard to believe now, but it does get easier. One thing that helped me at the beginning was to watch a lot of other riders jumping bigger jumps. It desensitized me a bit and made it feel more normal when I saw my DD jump them. Since I don't ride myself, I think getting used to her riding at all was the hardest part for me. It sound silly, but the fact that she so bravely takes on such a dangerous sport is what helps me relax and be confident in her abilities. I'm proud that she can do something that I couldn't dream of doing, and this pride helps me to support her. I think I'll always be nervous, though, so you're not alone. Wishing you and your DD all the best!

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                • #9
                  Sorry, can't understand where you're coming from. When I asked my mom to help me set fences, she usually set them half a foot higher than I wanted them - usually around the 4'6" + mark. hahahaha. She's always asking if the horse can jump higher or go faster (in the jumpers). She's not a rider either. hahaha. I dealt with her competitiveness by handing her a camera...

                  Accidents will happen. Make sure she wears a helmet that fits. I believe it does get easier. Be careful not to rub your nervousness off on her either because you can't question yourself when you're riding down to a big oxer. It's amazing what you can accomplish with confidence.

                  Can you sit above the ring? Fences look smaller from up high.

                  Congrats to your daughter though for doing well!

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                  • #10
                    Hey, put it in perspective. She doesn't have her driver's license yet.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In all honesty, try to relax as much as possible...my mother was subsequently banned from the barn/shows by my trainer. At the in gate she was always, "Are you nervous, you look nervous?etc" I understand her fears (especially since she is a non horse person) but she made me SO nervous that I'd usually crash on course even if it was schooling at home, just because she got me doubting myself.

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                      • #12
                        When all else fails, send in the Aunt! I will admit that I am reliving my childhood vicariously through my niece, but she LOVES riding. She started riding when she was 2, and just turned 5. She competed in the Ground Rails divisions this year.

                        My sister will sometimes come to the lessons and to the shows (when she isn't working). No disrespect to her, but things go better at lessons when she isn't there. Fortunately, the first time the kid fell off, her mom was busy talking on the phone so she was somewhat distracted.

                        The kid has fallen off a couple times throughout her riding career, and if I forget to say something to my sister, my niece will tell her, but usually a day or two later. She is beginning cross rails now, and my sister just says she doesn't want to know what she is doing in her lesson, just that it went well.

                        My sister rode very little when she was growing up, but never had any bad falls. My mom and I both grew up riding and showing, so I think its somewhat different for us.

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                        • #13
                          I understand... And mine isn't even jumping yet! The first time she cantered I almost fainted. I have never wanted drink so bad...

                          The way I handle my nerves is by making sure she has good safe equipment and tack, and by making sure she rides safe ponies. I look at it like this - my daughter is likely to be an adult ammy who rides 3x a week and shows once a month. There is no reason for her to learn to ride broncs unless she decides she wants to be a pro.

                          I've seen too much to think at the age of seven, she needs a challenge I keep my nerves in check by doing everything I can to keep her safe. I am seriously considering making up and keeping my oh-so sensible five year old for her to ride when she is 12!
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by GPjumper View Post
                            In all honesty, try to relax as much as possible...my mother was subsequently banned from the barn/shows by my trainer. At the in gate she was always, "Are you nervous, you look nervous?etc" I understand her fears (especially since she is a non horse person) but she made me SO nervous that I'd usually crash on course even if it was schooling at home, just because she got me doubting myself.
                            LOL I can definitely relate with your Mom! I learned early on to stay away from the in-gate and tried hard to be seen and not heard. I'd run for the forgotten gloves or show number, and otherwise stayed far away from DD before she showed. It was best for her nerves and mine.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                              Hey, put it in perspective. She doesn't have her driver's license yet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Get a stress ball! That's what I gave my dad. I believe he broke one...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Man, my parents must not have loved me very much. Guess that's what I get for having medical professionals for parents. Their general response was "did you hit your head? no?" Get up and take care of your horse.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by sptraining View Post
                                    Man, my parents must not have loved me very much. Guess that's what I get for having medical professionals for parents. Their general response was "did you hit your head? no?" Get up and take care of your horse.
                                    My dad was like this!
                                    Now I did not jump but I did do barrels and exercised TBs on the track. Mom became a religious woman and always hail maryed with her back to the ring for my shows. Dad would tell her "She's good" and she'd turn and clap. Now with DD already having two falls under her belt I thought I could handle watching her jump. Nope! I do a please be okay when she no hands in two point over the cross rails. Watching her take her first jump was exhilarating and the most scary thing I have ever seen. I'll let you know if it ever gets better. I do try to see her over the jump and safe before she is, and I am thankful she is mouthy enough to tell me 'get over it mom its not that big!'
                                    Adoring fan of A Fine Romance
                                    Originally Posted by alicen:
                                    What serious breeder would think that a horse at that performance level is push button? Even so, that's still a lot of buttons to push.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                                      Hey, put it in perspective. She doesn't have her driver's license yet.
                                      My DD is jumping the bigger jumps with her green horse AND has her driver's license - I spent a lot of the time being *very* nervous LOL!!

                                      Anyway - my advice is make sure she is correctly mounted for what she wants to do - nothing like having a scopey horse to set your mind at ease and make sure that you have complete confidence in your professional. Having a trainer that knows what they are doing and has your child's best interests and safety at heart should make you less nervous.

                                      Also, never let your child know that you are feeling nervous - that is a recipe for disaster! I always try to stand quietly by the ring next to our trainer so I can listen to her commentary or with a friend, I can watch but not be totally focused on the height of the fences, and I've learned never to actually *say* anything to the DD on her way into the ring - that is her time to go over last minute details with her trainer. I'm frequently there to give the boots a last minute dusting and wipe the horses mouth and give him a pat, but that's the limit of what I do but it keeps me busy and less likely to be stressing out.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I haven't read every response, but agree with the right mount, a good trainer is also crucial, one who pushes just enough but never expects more than a child is capable of. I think no matter what as mother's we are going to be nervous. They're are babies! But we have to remember not to let our fears hold them back or influence them! I never let the kiddo know I get nervous for her! Maybe we should have mommy cocktail hours during lessons and shows LOL

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