Unlimited access >

Riding/jumping confidence

I’ve currently been riding my friend’s horse who I know will jump anything you put in front of them but recently my confidence in my riding ability just feels like it has hit rock bottom. I’m usually fairly confident when it comes to jumping and have just found myself getting comfortable with jumping and have just begun to jump just over a meter.

The horse I have been jumping has quite a powerful jump, especially over larger jumps and lately, I have been falling off on landing. Now, whenever I jump I always convince myself that I’m going to fall off as soon as I land no matter how big or small the fence is and I’m constantly doubting myself and it’s beginning to get me down and take the fun out of riding. I will have those days where I will push myself and jump anything and everything that’s thrown at me without thinking too much into it but as soon as either lose my balance and land on the horse’s neck or fall off my confidence will just vanish.

I enjoy jumping and I do want to be able to jump without having this constant doubt filling my mind every time as I feel like it’s holding me back. It ends up getting to the point where I will just want to get off the horse and not jump anymore even though I fully trust the horse not to run out or stop. Luckily, she’s one of those horses who will try her hardest to please and look after her riders but I feel that I’m holding her back too because of my nerves. I don’t really have much faith in my balance either which is making me even more nervous when it comes to the landing (the jump itself isn’t really a problem).

I was wondering if anyone else has felt like this before and whether anyone had any tips on how I could conquer this fear. :slight_smile:

How much riding without stirrups do you do? You shouldn’t even be jumping until you are competent w/t/c without stirrups.

You also need a new trainer. the first time you came off, you should have been hearing about how you need to “let the horse carry you over the fence! you can’t jump it for them!” If you’ve been taught to fling yourself up the neck before a fence, that’s got to get fixed.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any quick fixes for needing miles and decent instruction.

Would it be possible for you to ride another horse for a few lessons? Something with a softer jump? It might help you to have a few confidence gaining lessons on a been-there done that horse that may be less fancy than the one you’re riding now, but has a smoother jump. It will take time and you may find that you have to back down on the height you’re schooling, but it will be worth it to rebuild your confidence.

You mentioned that you don’t trust your balance. This sounds like a fitness issue and you might consider working on your balance out of the saddle. There are lots of good core exercises and strengthening for riders that can be really helpful. I know personally, I always feel more secure when I feel strong. Also, talk to your trainer. Let them know you’re feeling nervous about this and let them help you. After all, they are there to help you get better as a rider and that includes overcoming fears.

Best of luck and I hope you find a solution that works for you!

1 Like

It sounds like a leg and core strength issue. When one is weak, the other should be able to get you out of trouble, but if both systems are weak… first of lots of no stirrup work to learn proper leg position, function and weight distribution. Next lots of two-point to reinforce the leg but mostly, the work on balance. Time spent working on the leg and core outside of the barn is just as important. Do planks, take stairs whenever possible, so squat sets.

In the mean time, I wouldn’t jump over 2’. There is no shame in stepping back and correction a position flaw. Getting it right is more important than getting ribbons.

1 Like

Stop jumping anything larger than x-rails, and fix your position flaws / core weaknesses. If your current trainer hasn’t indicated any position flaws, get a new trainer.