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Spinoff on Height Thread: Fear of Oxers?

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  • Spinoff on Height Thread: Fear of Oxers?

    After reading some of the thread about heights, I have a different problem. I don't care how high the fence is but oxers scare the s__ out of me! They look so wide and scary that I psych myself out and I start getting an anxiety attack. I know in my heart and head that my horse can clear them no problem and I am trying to get better about it, but they still worry me a lot.

    Does anyone else have Oxer Fear? Please tell me I'm not alone and any suggestions for getting over it would be greatly appreciated.
    Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert

  • #2
    Grab mane and cluck like he**!


    • #3
      I have the opposite problem - My horse jumps the oxers great, it's the occasional not-so-tidy-with-the-front-end at the verticals that scares me.


      • #4
        Sounds like you need to jump ONLY oxers for a while . Maybe start by trotting a few everyday and work up? That can do wonders.
        Shop online at


        • #5
          Originally posted by RyGirl View Post
          I have the opposite problem - My horse jumps the oxers great, it's the occasional not-so-tidy-with-the-front-end at the verticals that scares me.
          same here! My horse really tucks his legs and uses himself over oxers.

          OP, my friend was terrified of oxers even though her horse is a great, honest jumper and will jump from anywhere. My trainer(who I don't ride with anymore) used to make ''mini oxers'' for her and eventually my friend got over it for the most part.


          • #6
            You're not alone. I can canter down to a vertical of virtually any height, no problem, but oxers above 3'6" or so give me butterflies.

            The best way to get over it? Having a trainer who just kicks your butt and makes you do it, in the manner that ComeShine recommended.

            After I jump it once (or something comparable), I'm typically fine. I have a good eye and don't typically miss to anything, so I'm not sure what I'm afraid of. I've also never had a bad accident or anything of that sorts. Just woke up one morning and decided that back rails creep me out!


            • #7
              Oxers scare me too lately for some odd reason. I usually sit up, grab a handful of mane that I hopefully don't yank out in fear, and just close my leg.

              My screeching trainer seems to help me get over the fear!


              • Original Poster

                And the funny thing is, when I was in my teens and 20s, I loved oxers. Swedish, staircase, any kind - I loved jumping them. Now, not so much.

                Thanks for the suggestions. I do it, I just don't feel confident now that I'm an old bag.
                Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert


                • #9
                  I have an oxer fear as well! I am lucky in that my horse is dead honest and can take one heck of a joke, so if I get too petrified I know I can just put my hands forward, hang on and let him figure it out... he's made me look good more than once! Lately I have been getting better about it, and have been enjoying the effort he makes over the oxers - he uses himself so much better over them! I found that after I jumped a course of basically all oxers three times that it started getting fun. I think a lot of it was just getting USED to doing it over and over, and getting used to the bigger motion of the jump. Honestly though, I still get a bit shaky when I see an oxer after we've been jumping verticals or Xs... guess it just takes time!!


                  • #10
                    I used to hate single wide oxers with a passion that was unhealthy, squares made me even unhappier. And I swear, the trainer I rode with would walk over from the GP warm up ring to my little ammy ring (think WEF + tower ring) and just forget how wide he was setting those things in the warmup! So at home I set up a wider square oxer than I would see at a show and that was my jump to jump after I had gone over a warm up X once or twice. The rule for me was that I could start at any height I wanted but I had to finish one hole higher than my comfort level.

                    Some days that thing was the widest 18" oxer you ever saw, but usually I was good with starting at 2'6 and it pretty much got to the point where 3'0 didn't bother me and that was the height I was competing at, so I would push it a bit more at the finish and feel darn happy about a rampy 3'6 oxer. So now they don't bother me as much and they just about always look skinny at the shows (says the person who has a just started 3 year old, a retired 18 year old and hasn't been in the AAs since 2008 - they ALL look big now!), but for me it is all about the "bargaining" and giving my brain an out so it doesn't feel pushed into a corner, so to speak. If I am going to jump an oxer I have an either or proposition. Wide but a height I prefer OR higher than maybe I want to jump right off the bat but just show skinny. The choice makes me more comfortable with the decision.
                    Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                    • #11
                      If you watch the schooling areas you will almost every trainer starts warming up horses over the oxers first, then go to the verticles. The horses see the oxers more easily than the verticles. After a big water jump the course designers most times put a tall verticle because the horses don't jump them as well as an oxer.

                      Maybe thinking about this will help you relax the next time you are cantering to a single oxer.


                      • #12
                        Haha. I hate oxers too. I always look down right in the middle and go oh no oh no oh no...and we're talking small fences without much spread. I'm getting better though. Hopefully it will last.


                        • #13
                          Oxerphobia I've even named it
                          Can you stress-fracture your brain?


                          • #14
                            I'm one of the people who is seriously terrified of jumping higher, but make the fence an oxer and I'm good. I love the momentary hanging in the air moment you get with oxers, especially if you take a long distance (regadless of whether thats a correct approach to an oxer). No one's ever accused me of being logical, but height scares me a lot more than width.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RyGirl View Post
                              I have the opposite problem - My horse jumps the oxers great, it's the occasional not-so-tidy-with-the-front-end at the verticals that scares me.
                              Hey - - I'm not alone... I have always prefered an oxer - - verticals are tall and upright... seems easier to ride an oxer...

                              So now you know there are different issues among us
                              Live in the sunshine.
                              Swim in the sea.
                              Drink the wild air.


                              • #16
                                I love oxers! Tall verticals, on the other hand, are definitely not a favourite. A tall vertical vs an oxer of the same height, I would rather jump the oxer!


                                • #17
                                  I'm in the crowd that things verticals of any height are fine but oxers (also of any height, LOL) are scary!

                                  In my defense, I did have a very bad accident - I was schooling a horse for my trainer who had a bit of a stop in her. We were cantering down to a pretty decent size oxer and she tried to quit on takeoff. I used my stick to inform her that she was not living in a democracy which got her in the air, but she changed her mind again mid flight and stuck a front leg down between the front and back rails and flipped over.

                                  It has been years since that fall, but if I am riding anything that has even the slightest inclination to get behind my leg, I have a hard time keeping it out of my mind.

                                  The best advice I have gotten is to ignore the width of the jump and focus on the top rail. In other words, treat it like a vertical and let the horse's jump take care of the spread. It helps!
                                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


                                  • #18
                                    yup, oxers def give me the heeby jeebies... think its because that barn that I grew up at barely had enough jump set to set up a course let alone set up oxers haha! So I barely ever did them until I got to school... def agree that just starting small and doing them over and over again is the key... I found that horses seem to jump much nicer over them (it was a very plesant surprise!) ... im guessing this will be my key to my height complex as well... I just gotta do it...
                                    the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique


                                    • #19
                                      I am part of the height phobic group & oxers multiply that for me
                                      So were riding down to the (not really high) fence & I'm going "Oh, crap" it's high...... "Oh crap" it's an OXER!?!?! Grab mane, take leg off, go fetal & pray - sometimes curse over the fence when I chip badly or get left behind.
                                      I like DMK's idea of either pushing the height, or the spread - maybe that will work for me.
                                      PS - you should have seen the first time I jumped a swedish - I'm a dyed in the wool hunter rider, but my trainer likes to mix things up & I just about had to change my pants when she made me jump that.
                                      Life is hard. Buy a freaking helmet.
                                      Originally posted by meupatdoes
                                      Whatever, go gallop.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thanks for all the replies I am fine with verticals but those oxers (shudder). I do like the idea of treating it like a vertical and let the horse's jump take care of the rest.

                                        Oxerphobia! I love it!
                                        Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert