Thursday, 28 May 2015

Overcoming Fears

Some of you may not know this but I actually bought Pea with the plan of show-jumping him. I used to have a loan pony who jumped anything that I pointed him to and would happily jump 3ft+ courses and I even did a 4ft fence on him without too much thought. So after I outgrew him I wanted another horse that I could continue that with and hopefully affiliate. Funny how things change! 

I'm not 100% sure how much jumping experience Pea had before I bought him. I knew he was a bit naughty but that they had had someone jump him for them and she would pop him over 3ft fences which he was fine with. However, when I bought him and started to do a bit of jumping on him, he would bury himself deep and ditch me out the side door if I wasn't confident enough. Slowly I lost all confidence jumping him, especially when I had people saying that I needed to jump him higher because his rushing was just because he didn't have to concentrate. Pea is the total opposite of my old loan pony in that if I'm not confident and I take my leg off (something I seriously need to work on) he'll just run out, but at the absolute last second leaving me on the floor. Eventually I stopped jumping him and focussed on his flatwork, occasionally popping the odd little jump. 

However, that being said, Pea does enjoy his jumping and I just think he needs to gain
more confidence (which he has been doing) and I need to kick myself into gear and jump him more regularly. After falling off in the middle of a dressage test at the weekend it made me realise that I need to overcome my jumping nerves and let him jump more often. I mean, if I can fall off in a dressage test yet think nothing of it, then surely I can put that perspective into jumping.. Easier said than done, but I'll never know if I don't try. 

That's why on Wednesday I decided I was going to pop Pea over a couple of fences. (Afterwards it wasn't quite such a great idea seeing as I damaged my knee falling off and clearly riding has made it worse but hey ho!). I'm hoping to try and jump him at least once a month and hopefully I'll overcome my nerves and who knows, maybe I'll get him out to some more show-jumping competitions next year. All I need to focus on is myself and Pea and not think about others or the height of the fence or anything. I'm planning on keeping the fences small (2ftish) and work on keeping him in a nice consistent rhythm and ensuring that I use my leg! At least with small fences it takes away the complication that he might run out so I can work on counting down my strides and also using my leg to communicate to Pea that if I can do it, he can do it! Then, once I feel more confident, I can increase the fence height, maybe incorporate fillers at the sides, build up to longer courses, etc. It might be a long road and I'm sure that we're going to have a few testing times but as long as he's happy then I'm happy :) 

Thanks for reading,
Laura xx


  1. Building confidence takes time... you'll get there!

  2. I had a big knock in confidence in my jumping too! I found that what also helps is jumping other horses that aren't likely to pull a dirty stop or run out etc. so that you can work on what you need to work on without worrying about falling off. That said, don't stop jumping Pea as you can then see what progress you have made ( if you were to jump some other horses as well). As Tracy said, it does take time but it is SOOO worth it :)

    1. ah really?! I once thought about doing that but never got round to it! but it is a major difference going from a horse that does jump everything to Pea, haha!