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Confidence...like a kid again!

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  • Confidence...like a kid again!

    Anybody still have that unbeatable I can jump anything kid courage in your adult years? I know we now have to worry about jobs, and families if we get hurt, but man it was fun to just get on and gallop to anything, or just gallop out on a trail. if you are a confident adult rider, any secrets? Or a number to a great health insurance plan? Or any great kid stories about how brave you were?

  • #2
    I wish I had the confidence I had when I was 10, 12, 16, etc. I was the kid who would jump anything. Now I feel like I'm going to throw up when I jump a 2' course.

    If anyone has unlocked the secret to confidence, I'd love to hear it!


    • #3
      HELL no! I took a break from riding for about 11 years (and was on/off for 5 years before that), and just started back up again 2 years ago. I still haven't gotten back to my confidence or skill level from before, and I am not sure I will ever be as confident. As a teen rider, I would ride anything and everything and WANTED to ride the difficult horses, as I saw it as a challenge that I OMG MUST OVERCOME NOW. Now? I am trading my difficult horse for a draft cross. LOL.

      I once had a super bad fall where the girth wasn't tightened properly due to a blowing-out horse, and I stupidly did not check before mounting. Mid-jump, the saddle slid all the way under the belly, and I hit my head on the jump. I promptly got up, got back on and did that jump over and over. If that happened now? I would go back to the barn, have a beer and consider quitting riding, LOL.
      Blog chronicling our new eventing adventures: Riding With Scissors


      • #4
        Interesting question- I've thought about it a lot, oddly enough. I often feel like an anomaly, but while I am not as fearless as I once was I don't tend to be worried about things like jump height because I know and trust my horses. I also trust myself, to some extent- I try to ride precisely and correctly ("try" being the operative word), and I know my own limitations. I am now 42 and got back into riding when I was 33 or 34- and I have never dealt with fearfulness the way other re-riders seem to at my age. I actually feel very lucky.

        I think someone can be overfaced due to lack of trust in the horse more so than the height of a fence, or whatever it is they are doing. My last horse was a true bastard of an animal, but he would jump anything from anywhere for me- and I do mean anything. I knew that, so I never thought about height when I was jumping him, just about how to deal with his bad attitude! We once jumped a 4'3" triple bar with a 5' spread on an angle (which was actually my fault that time), landed and loped on, and then did it again, properly this time- that was trust!

        It took me a while to get to know my new horses, but now that I do I also know how far we can push each other. They are both really good guys, albeit green, and this means that I feel confident even when we are trying new things. I also think that by focusing on how to make the ride productive and good- because it is my responsibility to them- I end up not having room in my mind for anxiety. Plus, I love jumping, which certainly helps. My advice would be: focus on the horse, give him the ride he needs, and don't worry about yourself.
        You can take a line and say it isn't straight- but that won't change its shape. Jets to Brazil


        • #5
          I never was a fearless child, and I'm not fearless as an adult either. I have a wonderful horse who I trust with my life, but my version of brave is jumping a 3' vertical twice in one ride.

          My trainer/boss is fearless. In one lesson with her old trainer, he asked her to hand gallop her stallion (who is a beautiful mover, but he doesn't gallop very well--he gets more and more elevation and does more of a dressagey extended canter ). When said stallion didn't do it properly, he gave her this big speech about how she had to "find her inner child". Having been out on trails with this woman and having galloped at speeds that I didn't know a horse was capable of.......well......I laughed so loud I spooked her horse! She has enough "inner children" for an army!
          I love my Econo-Nag!


          • Original Poster

            "Find your inner child"...I love that! This will be my moto to repeat when I find myself backing off a bit.


            • #7
              Im 13 and ive recently switched to dressage because i feel sick jumping even 2 ft! I hate to think of what ill be like in later years as far as confidence is concerned...


              • #8
                I had a couple really bad falls off greenies that broke my confidence (and almost my neck) about jumping.

                It's interesting how foursocks says she has confidence in her horses and that is definitely how it is for me I think. There have been a couple horses who I've ridden regularly enough to trust jumping with them, but I can't just get on any horse and go anymore. I used to be that way, particularly with ponies, when eventing... but now I REALLY have to know my mount (and be reconditioned to it probably) to do anything higher than 2'-2'3". I really feel pathetic because where I am I'm the only dressage gal among loads of younger gung-ho hunter/jumpers.

                Look forward to when college years are over and I can have my own steady companion again to get over that fear.


                • #9
                  A kid story about my brother. (many years ago)

                  When my horse was 4 my little brother, who was 5 at the time, begged and begged me to let him go for a ride. I was really reluctant to go along with this because my horse was an OTTB who was a bit on the hot side, quite tall at 16:3, and very green. Not exactly an ideal ride for my little brother. However, my brother kept begging so hard that I finally gave in.

                  My horse must have sensed something because for once in his life, he didn't react to any leg signal my brother gave him. My brother tried to squeeze with his legs and couldn't get my horse to walk. Ask what to do about it so I said just squeeze a bit harder. Still nothing. So after a few attempts to just get this horse to walk I said "well if that isn't working, just try a little kick". Unfortunately, my little brother didn't hear the "little" part and just heard "kick". Next thing I know my horse went up in the air about 2' off the ground, with little brother laughing and saying "yee haw!!!"

                  Horse came back down with a "WTH?" look on his face and just stood there. Now if I would have done the same thing, said horse would have took off and left me in the dirt and been 1/2 way to china before I could dust myself off...


                  • #10
                    I am still pretty confident - Not nearly as confident (crazy!) as I was as a kid... nope, not gonna put the jumps up to the highest notch and gas my pony at them!

                    I have spent the last 15+ years riding nothing but greenies, auction rejects and young horses.

                    Just yesterday I was on a trail ride, and spotted some brush and hedges that would make some fun jumps - Me and my youngster (just turn 5 - broke myself) had a blast running and jumping - and like a kid just pretending I was out on a hunt

                    I haven't come off since I was a fearless kid - I think that helps. But I KNOW the ground is NOT going to feel good if I hit it. And my thirty something back does not recover quite as quickly as before!
                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                    • #11
                      Young and dumb. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it?

                      My riding hiatus and getting a bit older has effected my confidence somewhat. When I was 14 I spent some time in Ky, and galloped 2 yo TBs on the track at the farm. I didn't think anything of it! Now?...I'd still do it, but only on the quite ones. Rearers have always been a deal breaker for me.
                      I still ride green beans, but I'm definitely not a bold as I was in my teens.


                      • #12
                        I think you'd have to have something wrong with you to have the fearlessness of a kid. Think about it, you had absolutey no concept of consequences then, and if you haven't learned that by now....well....maturity may not be within your grasp yet.

                        With that being said, I do still jump the same jumps now that I did then. The difference is that when faced with a square 5'3" oxer back then, I used to wish it was a little higher and a little wider. Now I wish it was a little smaller and lot narrower. And now when I walk courses I refuse to look at the height of the fences.

                        I agree with whoever said that it becomes more about the horse you're sitting on and the level of trust you have with that horse. One of the gals who comes out to ride here often comments on the size of my schooling jumps. I always laugh and say that they look big to me depending on what horse I'm sitting on too. A 1.40m jump on my TB looks easy, a 1.40m jump while sitting on my baby looks massive, a 1.40m jump while seated on my small pony looks impossible. It's all a matter of perspective

                        I often wish I still had the fearlessness of a kid, but the reality is that I feel lucky to have survived the "invincible" period of my life. And I'm afraid that given more time to throw caution to the wind I wouldn't.....so I guess I'll take my fear and believe that it keeps me safe
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW


                        • #13
                          I definitely agree with the thought that trust in your horse and your horse's abilities gives you confidence. I never rode as a kid so have no comparison that way, but now as an older adult I ride with less fear than I ever have, and I'm jumping bigger than I ever have. I think it is all because of my horse, he is wonderful. I've had him for 6 years now and we have a very deep bond. Since I never ride other horses, I think if I got on a different horse right now, I might weenie out of a 3' foot jump even if I knew that horse had all the scope in the world -- and right now I confidently jump 1.30m.

                          My other secret is that I have learned not to look at the size of the jumps when I'm walking the course, nor when I'm schooling at home. If something looks extra impressive, I push that thought to the side until I am done and have successfully jumped it. Now THAT is a skill I wish I had developed years ago, LOL!!


                          • #14
                            When I got my horse I did every stupid thing possible within the confines of an arena (and quite a few times outside of one). I considered it making up for all the stupid things I hadn't gotten to do since I never had a horse as a kid.

                            I don't have as much confidence as I used to riding schoolies at the eventing barn I took lessons at, unless I'm on my own horse. Mr fat Appaloosa my summer borrowed pony I don't trust one bit, he's got way too much attitude for me to trust him.
                            RIP Don - 3/28/2004-8/15/2012


                            • #15
                              ROFL...I was terrified as a kid. Not so much of some things (there was the time I ate dirt because I hopped up on my friend's QH and she was leading me around on him by his halter...while the other QH was loose...you can see where this is going.) But jumping, I'd have sobbing panic attacks. I never felt better about it until college, and even then only if no one was watching (the horse there was an old campaigner who basically didn't need much more than being in the general vicinity of the jump.) Now I mostly worry about jabbing the mouth or hitting the back! I think I realized that yeah, worst-care scenario is I could get killed, but the odds of that are fairly long. As a kid, I just automatically assumed the worst was going to happen. Even falling and NOT dying didn't really clear that up.
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