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Height Complex...

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  • Height Complex...

    Who's got one?
    I watched a ..to be polite...not so solid rider whip around a 3'3 course without batting an eye, how is it these people are fine cranking up the height whereas some riders, even if they are pretty solid, panic about height...I know most of its mental...
    Has anyone had a height complex that they were able to get past and are now jumping bigger fences no prob? Would love to hear some success stories! How did you do it... Any specific exercises?
    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

  • #2
    I had a huge height complex for a long time. I was a really nervous little kid and I wouldn't jump something on horseback unless I could jump it on foot...which only worked to a point (I don't seem to be terribly scopey). It took me a fair amount of time to get comfortable with fences; I went through a phase where I'd only trot jumps, outgrew that and my ability to trot jumps nicely (I've since regained that), and still was really backed off about heights.

    I didn't get comfortable about jumping "big" stuff until my mare came into my life. She is so talented and trustworthy - I just needed to be on her and doing bigger jumps in gymnastics to realize that I could do it!

    Although I will say that I show in the high amateur-owners right now and really, really hate walking the course; the jumps come most of the way up my face and I DO NOT like looking at that, so I frequently look at the ground line and push the top rail to get an idea of how "careful" of a jump it is rather than looking face on at it.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/supershorty628
    Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!

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    • #3
      I over came my fear by training a clients stallion to jump! The horse had scope!

      I had a two year old son, after he was born I never really got back into jumping. Matter of fact I had just REALLY got into jumping the year before I had him so the MAX was 2'9" for me and that was scary! I had a trainer who was really motivated to get riders out there and get back into the scene. She believed I could do it so I just did.

      Anyways after my son was born I got a job training dressage stallions. They had one who LOVED to jump. I was the only one the horse got along with and the only one with jumping experience! So I trained the horse to jump! Once I consistently broke that 3' barrier it was easy!

      Then I got my horse...He will jump anything no matter how you put him in. And the few times he putters out it's from 5 strides back and you KNOW it's coming.

      After all that I have NO problem hiking the fences up (and I am solid!)

      My theory is if something scares you, you do it over and over until it's no longer scary!

      Comment


      • #4
        I used to have a fear, until I had sansibar, that horse took me so far confidence wise. Then when we retired him and I went down to the lower level hunters the "fear" came back. Now with Willy I have beaten it and I am fine with jumping up to 4ft so far

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        • #5
          I have a big height complex now, and have had it for awhile. Honestly? I think that an honest horses makes the difference. When I was younger I rode a lot of lesson horses - NOT to take ANYTHING away from lesson horses in general, please don't take it that way - who were not used to jumping any higher than.. I dunno 3' or so. I never really jumped above 2'6 for the first several years of riding because I simply didn't have the opportunity to ride a horse who was honest over anything higher. My girlfriends all had nice horses whom they did the Children's and Junior Hunters with (3' - 3'6) without batting an eye, and my trainer and whoever wanted to participate would have touch down and go competitions to see who could clear the highest jump. I never participated.

          Because I had those several years of 2'6 jump experience, well you could say I got very very comfortable jumping 2'6. No big deal. One experience in particular sticks in my head:

          I rode an OTTB named Teddy a lot when I was with my old trainer. COOLEST horse ever, seriously, but not too scopey over anything higher than around 3'6. My trainer set up a hunter type course for us to do one lesson, all of the fences around 2'6. Went through no problem, smoothest course I've probably ever ridden. Trainer was impressed, gets up and raises the jumps to 2'9 - 3'. I become a huge basket case and end up nosediving into a jump.

          Fast forward a few years, and the two horses that I've leased with my trainer now are both much more honest and athletic horses than I'd ridden in the past. Elmo was the first horse that I jumped 3'3 on comfortably... not a course, just a single vertical set up on the center line. I felt nerves, but not nearly the nerves I was used to feeling. I went home that day smiling from ear to ear and remembering how my trainer had kept raising the jump and I kept clearing it without a hitch. Oscar and I haven't quite gotten comfortable with each other yet, but he is very honest, more so than Elmo even and I haven't had a height complex with him yet.

          My point, after all of that rambling, is that if you're on a horse that you KNOW is going to go over the fence, even if he/she has to go over sideways, your complex will disappear. A horse who is nervous like you, or who picks up on nervousness and loses confidence, will make your confidence shaky IMO. I also have a complex with cross country jumps, again because all of the horses that I have taken cross country were a) new to the XC scene and b) nervous about every little twig on the ground. No attack mode to be found in them. So with both of us being shaky, it was hard to ever gain confidence.

          That's my take on it. Sorry it took me so long to get that out lol. But I definitely agree with supershorty, I think the horse makes a huge difference.
          "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

          www.thestartbox.wordpress.com
          www.useaiv.org

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          • #6
            I have a "height complex" when looking at the jumps from a distance, although I love jumping higher and when I'm cantering straight at the jump, I don't have a problem. I usually end up thinking, "Oh crap, I'd better ride so I don't die!"; I think that goes on in my horse's head too

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            • #7
              I used to be fine to 3'6" when I was a brave teenager (only ever rode lesson horses, didn't have a horse of my own until age 22 and he was a retired dressage horse), but now that I'm a breakable grown-up, even thinking about anything over 2'6" gives me the heebie-jeebies. I justify this because my OTTB has godawful front legs and I was advised when I got him that he would "probably never be sound over 3'," so I have resigned myself that we just won't ever jump big stuff.

              With that being said, it's a shame because my horse absolutely loves to jump, and he's probably one of the most trustworthy horses O/F that I have ever ridden. We do baby XC and I don't jump him very often, but he's perfectly happy up to 2'6" and I've finally gotten comfortable at that height again.
              *friend of bar.ka

              "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

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              • #8
                Originally posted by mustangsal85 View Post
                ...if you're on a horse that you KNOW is going to go over the fence, even if he/she has to go over sideways, your complex will disappear. A horse who is nervous like you, or who picks up on nervousness and loses confidence, will make your confidence shaky IMO.
                I agree with this. I have a height complex myself but if I am comfortable on the horse and/or have a ground person who inspires confidence in me I can go up to 3'9" ish pretty well. I used to go higher even on my tiny little horse (did 4'9" on him and he is 14.3) and I attribute that to my being extremely comfortable on him. He would jump anything for me.
                Circumstances do seem to matter a lot I guess....I wish I knew of a sure fire way to boost confidence over fences because I sure could use it
                My blog:

                RAWR

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                • #9
                  I have a bit of a height complex. I spent a whole lot of my riding career jumping little stuff because the horses I was riding couldn't do more. I didn't jump 2'6" until 3 years ago. I'm currently stuck at 2'9"-ish with an occasional 3' or 3'3" thrown in.

                  My trainer is great as sacking me out and preparing me for shows. But I still need time learning at a specific height and I haven't been able to get that consistently over 2'9"...again for horse reasons. My horse can easily jump a good sized fence, but he got injured. I bought another horse and we just haven't gotten there yet.

                  I also have to have a lot of trust in the horse Im riding. On Show, I knew he could jump whatever I was pointing him at. I was pretty confident in our ability to get over...as long as he didn't spook. Another horse I rode was super honest, but not super scopey. As the fences got bigger, I had to be more accurate and that worried me some and kept us at 2'9". I jumped him again recently and he just felt older to me (he's 21 now) and I found that I wasn't as confident in him.

                  I really think the right horse is the key for me. If I was on something I believed could and would do the job and could rescue me if I screwed up horribly, the sky's the limit.
                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"

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                  • #10
                    For me, it's not the height...it's the distance. I'd have no qualms jumping 5' if I could get the distance everytime. I'm pretty successful about 80% of the time. It's that other 20% that keeps me at 3'. In the back of my mind I know my horse can easily jump that height from anywhere I put him.

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                    • #11
                      I have a huge height complex in both jumping and horses. Coming from a pure western barrel racing/ranch background the tallest horse I ever rode on a regular basis was 15hh. When I hit the ranch scene the tallest I saw was 16.3 and his nickname was Rocket. He was the one that walked like a bunny rabbit for months. When I came back from the ranches I hit the racing scene and saw the big boys then. Had a horrible experience with a 17hh horse and won't go near anything taller than 16hh. I have never ever been the jumping type, let me go as fast as the wind but please don't make me jump it. I don't even like the little bitty baby jumps. I will jump the log across the trail but only after I have exhausted every angle to walk around it. Now the 7y/o in the hunter barn wants to jump and I have forbid it for the moment.
                      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.

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                      • #12
                        At this point in my life, I panic at a ground pole. I am not kidding. Once I get over that (I used to jump a hella lot when I was younger), I will let you know about the rest.
                        FREE TACK/APPAREL ADS: BITS AND BARTER BOARD: http://bitsandbarter.proboards.com/i...ay&thread=5450

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                        • #13
                          I have a height complex... but certain horses can cure it. I don't own a horse right now so I don't have the luxury of a well-known and trusted partner. But I have found that the right horse, that I know a little bit and am comfortable with, makes me feel quite invincible and then the heights don't matter.

                          I usually refer to my complex as a "fear of heights"
                          Fun equestrian t-shirts designed by a rider like you:
                          http://skreened.com/laughinglion

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                          • #14
                            That's funny- my only way to get over my height complex is to have a braver-than-I-am groundperson (aka my trainer). Does not matter what horse I am riding

                            I trust her implicitly and if she says I can jump that high on that horse and that I'll be fine, then I say, "yes, ma'am." (And usually have a blast doing so after the initial "scary" jump).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by naters View Post
                              At this point in my life, I panic at a ground pole. I am not kidding. Once I get over that (I used to jump a hella lot when I was younger), I will let you know about the rest.
                              I'm right there with you Naters! I'm doing the ground pole division this year, and freaking about moving up to x-rails next year! My issue is I have a greenie and can only jump at my facility with a trainer, so with finances the way they are that means once in a blue moon. I jumped as a kid, but only having lesson horses it wasn't that high, now I watch my peers doing the AA and AO hunters in awe. Maybe someday I'll make it up to the rusty stirrup division

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Although I will say that I show in the high amateur-owners right now and really, really hate walking the course; the jumps come most of the way up my face and I DO NOT like looking at that, so I frequently look at the ground line and push the top rail to get an idea of how "careful" of a jump it is rather than looking face on at it.
                                LOL, I hate course walks too. I don't particularly WANT to know that a fence is up to my chest. It looks much smaller on the back of my 16.3 hh horse.
                                ---
                                They're small hearts.

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post

                                  Although I will say that I show in the high amateur-owners right now and really, really hate walking the course; the jumps come most of the way up my face and I DO NOT like looking at that, so I frequently look at the ground line and push the top rail to get an idea of how "careful" of a jump it is rather than looking face on at it.
                                  LOL! I did this the first time I jumped the Low AO Classic (1.35 meters). Fence 1, nice and inviting maybe 4'. Fence 2 a GINORMOUS square oxer off a right angle corner (which I HATE). So much for building up slowly! I got to about fence 4 and decided I was better off not looking at the jumps any longer and just walked my track.

                                  I am still not at the point where I care how careful a jump is. I don't mind so much having it down as long as I make it over!

                                  My mare and I are moving up together, so sometime she gives me the confidence by attacking the jumps, and sometimes I have to be in charge of pressing her up to them. So far it has worked, but we have been going very slowly with moving up the levels. I think that is the key, even though I hate seeing people pass me by.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Although I will say that I show in the high amateur-owners right now and really, really hate walking the course; the jumps come most of the way up my face and I DO NOT like looking at that, so I frequently look at the ground line and push the top rail to get an idea of how "careful" of a jump it is rather than looking face on at it.
                                    I don't want to know how big they are either. This past weekend, I moved my young horse up to preliminary (Eventing, so 3'7"), and I haven't ridden at that level for 5 years. I HATE show jumping anyway (suffer from stage fright) and I was really worried about having a bad round. Well, I managed to not even get a chance to walk the course. I watched it ride a bunch the day before at the lower levels, watched a few rounds earlier in the day at my level, and watched a couple of rounds right before my go. I went in and had one of my best show jumping rounds and one of the better rounds of the day (it was riding really poorly and there were rails flying EVERYWHERE).

                                    Trying to convince my coach now that I'm better off not walking, but he says I have to at least walk the next one, and if I totally eff it up, I can not walk from then on.

                                    Don't have a real height complex. I will quake in my boots a little bit about a big course, but always calm down when it's time to ride. I'm like Go Fish, though. Terrified of mucking up the distance (had a real hard time with that for a long time), and I still get worried that my nerves will make me revert.

                                    I do find that things that look huge from the ground or when just wandering around on my horse don't seem nearly so bad as I'm cantering down to it (with the exception of the 6th fence on xc last weekend). Last week while waiting to start a xc school, I was walking around and commented on the hugeness of a corner. Well, of course the trainer I who was schooling me (who didn't hear the comments) had me jumping it...it wasn't nearly so big while actually riding down to it...helps that I'm sitting on the horse I have the privlege of sitting on!
                                    Amanda

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                                    • #19
                                      I have never jumped higher than 3'3 and that was quite some time ago and not on a regular basis (limitations of the horse I rode back then). With my OTTB I think the highest we have done so far might have been 2'6. Normally we only do 18" - 2'3" lots of gymnastics. I don't think I am afraid of anything up to and including 3 feet but above that is pretty much unknown territory for me (and my current horse). I will be taking jumping lessons on more experienced horses to prepare for eventually jumping higher with my horse. I don't think I am that interested in jumping much over 3'3" 3'6" anyway. On the other hand if I am jumping 3'3 3'6 regularly maybe I could become interested in jumping higher. Also depends on if my horse is having fun.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                                        For me, it's not the height...it's the distance. I'd have no qualms jumping 5' if I could get the distance everytime. I'm pretty successful about 80% of the time. It's that other 20% that keeps me at 3'. In the back of my mind I know my horse can easily jump that height from anywhere I put him.
                                        I TOTALLY agree with this. If I could get the distance every time I could jump the moon. I think thats a huge part of my problem.
                                        "Lord if we should fall, my horse and I, please pick my horse up first."

                                        www.thestartbox.wordpress.com
                                        www.useaiv.org

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