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Irrational fear

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  • Irrational fear

    My husband would like me to event his TB for him at some point in the future, (no hurry). Trouble is I am scared to jump now, and not sure why, nothing bad has happened. I got out of jumping about 4 years ago to focus on dressage and now every time I think about even 2' on my well schooled horse it makes me nervous. I don't want to pass that onto the horse.
    Any suggestions to fix this without ruining a good horse with my irrationality?

  • #2
    Do you have a trainer you can work with on some of these issues? A patient trainer can see what you are capable of and perhaps design some simple exercises that will be fun but not overface you.

    If you don't have anyone to help you with jumping right now, one thing you could do is try some simple courses over ground poles or cavaletti first just to work on rhythm and seeing your distances. Linda Allen's book is a great source of exercises. Jumps don't have to be high to give you an intellectually changing workout. Start low, even over crossrails and build your confidence gradually.


    • #3
      Nothing is instant. I find that talking to oneself a lot, to the point that your family thinks you're completelyinsane, can do a lot for your inner-thoughts. If you just talk to yourself about it, and tell yourself that you know it's no big deal, eventually it'll kick in.

      Also, if at all possible, find a veteran jumper with a good spirit... that kind that will jump a fence with or without you. Getting over a few, even while scared, helps a lot. It'll remind you of your own capabilites and guts.
      Tru : April 14, 1996 - March 14, 2011
      Thank you for everything boy.

      Better View.


      • #4
        Take jumping lessons on a well trained and patient school horse. I know you don't need to "learn" how to jump but a good school horse knows to ignore the nervous rider and reliably do their job. I bet you will get over the "irrational fear" pretty quickly and you'll be confidently jumping your horse and hubby's TB in no time.


        • #5
          I wonder if you are looking too far ahead (not literally); so instead of seeing a 2' jump in front of you, you are seeing a 3'+ jump. Instead of imagining jumping a little course of poles and cross poles, you are seeing a full sized stadium course.

          I would try to take the pressure off, and set small goals. Write them down to make them more real, and get your coach on board with the goals. So Step 1 may be just a course of poles, the Step 2 may be a trot course of cross poles, Step 3 may be a simple line or grid...the steps should depend on how your coach progresses riders and what your horse is best at.

          And I would be sure to let your coach know when you are feeling overwhelmed/nervous so they can help accordingly. You don't want to force yourself when nervous as you will just be practicing being nervous and may end up setting yourself up to fail.

          Eventually you may either get board/tired of being nervous and be fine jumping, or you may decide you just want to do dressage! I am not sure why that should be a problem. Dressage is great!
          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


          • #6
            No fear or any emotion is "irrational." Don't invalidate what you feel just because you think you should be feeling something different. Accept yourself! If you feel afraid of jumping 2 feet, ok, fine, who cares? Jump a pole on the ground until you feel more confident. It's ok to push yourself a little, just past the line, but not too far. Set yourself up for success. And let yourself feel whatever it is you feel!
            "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."


            • #7
              Im finding out I'm kinda going through the same thing. I've spent a long time now riding under 3'6 for the last few years, as ive been dealing with mainly green horses. I've had a lot of big square oxers thrown in my face lately, on a lot of horses I thought were gonna throw me threw them! I have someone on the ground, which I havent had in a long time, and I'm realizing that I've lost some of my guts. When I was a kid I would gallop down to a 4'6 oxers on a horse running sideways without blinking an eye. Just having someone on the ground though, reassuring what I know I should be doing (like "RIDE THE D*MN HORSE!") Is making it all come back.

              I would work with a trainer on a horse that isnt going to plant you when you make mistakes until you're ready to start working with the TB. Maybe eventing isnt your forte, and you should start out in the hunters or even jumpers before sticking your feet in the water that is solid jumps!

              Don't worry, all is not lost!


              • #8
                I have the same fear. I stopped jumping a few months ago because it wasnt fun for me. I worked on flatwork only and had a swell time. Now I'm on a patient horse that was owned and shown by an 8 y/o. I deicided to come back to little jumps (and I mean LITTLE) and last night when I had a spill (over my warm up crossrail..oh the shame...) I actually got back on and kept going. That, for me, was a HUGE accomplishment. And I only felt okay to do it because the fences were so small.

                So like everyone else said, start back small. Ground poles. You'll get bored of that quick. Move on to small crossrails and you'll get bored of that quickly too (unless you're riding with me, then it's always entertaining...) and before you know it you'll be moving right on up!

                I'm with you!
                Audaces fortuna iuvat.


                • #9
                  Why do it if it gives you anxiety?

                  Life is short.

                  Let someone else do it.

                  If you decide it's something YOU want to do that's another matter. Not sounding like it, reading your OP.
                  Inner Bay Equestrian


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks for all the support. Jumping used to be fun for me, so with those fond memories I have, I would like to try again. Of course I was younger then too. This TB my husband has, has potential to be great, she's extremely brave.
                    Dressage will always be my main love though


                    • #11
                      I'm with M. O'Connor. But, if you want to jump, I'd look for Jody Jaffe's recent article on overcoming fear in the Chronicle. She has a lot more fear to overcome (legitimately) than you do (she HAS had several bad things happen) and the short program she went through made all the difference. She also, as advised above, had a great, patient trainer and a very patient schoolie.
                      ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
                      Check out my Kryswyn JRTs on Facebook

                      "Life is merrier with a terrier!"


                      • #12
                        If jumping 2 feet in a ring makes you nervous...how are you going to feel about Xcountry?

                        Perhaps DH should event his own horse??

                        I'm with M.O'Connor. If you want to do it, fine, find yourself a "been there done that" jumper to re-learn on and then gradually work your way back to the green horse. But if you are happy with dressage, why stress yourself out over this? It would be different if it was your desire but it doesn't sound like that.


                        • #13
                          I used to jump 3'-3'6" quite merrily on a TB mare that I trusted with my life. She did every crazy thing I ever asked of her.

                          Then I went to college and didn't ride for a few years.

                          Now, 2' looks absolutely massive to me. It doesn't matter that my amazing horse could jump twice that without blinking. It doesn't matter that I know it isn't very big. It doesn't matter that my horse has never even offered to do something stupid.

                          The best way I've found to combat it is to take lessons with a good pro that you trust and then force yourself to do some work at home.

                          The pro makes sure I actually am safe. Because I trust her, I let her push me farther than I would go alone but I know she won't ask me to do anything dangerous.

                          Then, when I go home, I set TINY little crossrails and verticals and grids. We trot or canter in and I can just practice. I always do less rather than more--it's better to jump three times and have a good time than face a scary issue alone.

                          I'm not all fixed yet, but I have made a ton of progress. Good luck!



                          • Original Poster

                            Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                            Perhaps DH should event his own horse??
                            He never has time to ride, (I've always got him doing things for me on the farm) and he is not a very experienced rider.


                            • #15
                              My husband would like me to event his TB for him at some point in the future, (no hurry). Trouble is I am scared to jump now, and not sure why, nothing bad has happened. I got out of jumping about 4 years ago to focus on dressage and now every time I think about even 2' on my well schooled horse it makes me nervous. I don't want to pass that onto the horse.
                              Any suggestions to fix this without ruining a good horse with my irrationality?
                              Originally posted by manentail View Post
                              Thanks for all the support. Jumping used to be fun for me, so with those fond memories I have, I would like to try again. Of course I was younger then too. This TB my husband has, has potential to be great, she's extremely brave.
                              Dressage will always be my main love though

                              Originally posted by manentail View Post
                              He never has time to ride, (I've always got him doing things for me on the farm) and he is not a very experienced rider.
                              I think you have to consider whether you actually have 'irrational fear' about jumping, or are simply excited about jumping again. And whether jumping is really something you want or your husband is pushing you to do against your wishes. Seems like your attitude is evolving on this from one post to the next.

                              Either way, you need to be able to deal with a green horse in a methodical and unemotional manner. More so if you have any trepidation about the proposition.
                              Inner Bay Equestrian


                              • #16
                                Can you take some jumping lessons on an experienced campaigner, to get you back in the mindframe of jumping and improve your confidence? I think that would go a long way towards building your courage.

                                To me "green TB" combined with a heightened fear of jumping even small fences seems like a questionable combination.
                                Love my "Slow-T T B"
                                2010 OTTB, Dixie Union x Dash for Money