A little while I wrote a guest post for Bridle and Bone about how I was getting ready to face some potential demons around jumping after my fall and our time away from jumping. Since that post I have started to realise just how my confidence has been affected and with our first session on the cross country course since my fall tomorrow, I would be lying if I said I didn’t have any nerves about it.
I don’t think I’m scared as such, I just can’t seem to commit to the jump until I am sure Scottie is going to jump it. This means that I struggle to commit to any new jump, often stopping riding forwards a good few strides out and adopt a nice defensive (and safe) seat. I’ve also found that if we don’t get over it in the first few attempts, I feel myself giving up. I drive forwards on the approach but don’t expect him to go so don’t commit.
At the moment I am comfortable trotting steadily into small jumps we could step over. If we come to a stop, some jumps I am happy kicking on for him to step over, others I would rather turn around and approach again, usually riding a bit more forwards.
Once we have jumped something once, I relax and ride much better into that jump. After I’ve done it a couple of times I am happy to canter into it and include it in a little course. And in fact, once we’ve gotten over a few different jumps, we both seem to relax and we can jump something new without looking at it. I do still want to come back to trot and sit back a bit for new jumps. But whether Scottie has regained some confidence by this point or if I have relaxed a bit and riding better, later in the session new jumps don’t tend to be an issue.
Deep down I know that all of our issues come from lack of confidence and not enough recent practice. I know that once we get back into the swing of it, we will be fine. Until then, it’s so hard to commit to the jump in front of us but my lesson at the weekend showed me that once we get going we are fine.
Everyone gets nerves
Earlier this week I took to a brilliant Facebook group to tell the world about my nerves and someone shared this quote from a showjumping rider: “When you stop being nervous, it’s time to stop.” This was so refreshing to hear as I know that everyone gets nervous and that actually, I had a pretty nasty fall last year, so I have a very good reason to be nervous!
I am really looking forward to our cross country session tomorrow and I know that it will do us a lot of good. But I do have a bit more than a healthy dose of nerves to contend with! Keep your eye out for our cross country update later this week and wish us luck!