It doesn’t matter what level of horse rider you are or how long you’ve been riding, jumping can at times be scary. Furthermore, often when just beginning to jump, it can be hard to get over the initial nerves that are involved with a new experience, that, although exciting, can also be daunting.
Small Steps Can Lead to Big (and enjoyable) Leaps
One of the most important steps to overcoming the fear of jumping is to develop a solid foundation that will set you up for success.
The best way to go about this process is to find an experienced trainer that can help you through the process. In most cases, a trainer will evaluate your riding and the two of you will come up with a game plan that will put you on the track to being successful at, and enjoying, jumping your horse.
Depending on your specific riding level, a good trainer will often suggest things like trotting over poles and developing your balance and lower leg on the flat before beginning to jump.
Not only will such exercises help you build up your muscles, they will also boost your confidence levels over fences.
In addition, if you have a fear of jumping, it’s best to start on a horse that is quiet and experienced. Trying to ride an inexperienced horse over fences is often a challenge in itself and should be avoided if you aren’t feeling confident.
On the other hand, if you’ve already started jumping and are struggling with moving up or continuing, your trainer will most likely start you over small fences in order to determine the root of your problem as well as the cause. In most cases, fear of jumping comes from some source of insecurity, whether it’s physical or mental.
Through slow, steady, and continuous work toward improving your riding and feeling as comfortable and secure as possible in the tack, you’ll most likely find that your fear of jumping slowly begins to dissipate. That being said, while becoming more secure can help you overcome your fears, the mental element is another key element to the overall equation.
Silence the Voices in Your Head
Regardless of whether your fear of jumping is stemming from an old incident or is simply just nerves about the newness of the activity, controlling your emotions and being aware of your mental processes toward jumping can be essential in overcoming your fear.
Any good sports psychologist will tell you that your brain and thought processes have the biggest effect on success.
For example, if at the start of your riding lesson, you’re telling yourself how dangerous jumping is and how bad you are at it, chances are that your jumping session won’t go well.
Positive self-talk is one of the most important aspects of overcoming a fear and reaching your goals. While it may take a little time, master your negative thoughts will greatly improve not only your riding, but also your way of looking at communicating with and enjoying your horse.
Overcoming any type of fear can take time, determination, and discipline, but fortunately, when you do these things, you’ll find that your fear of jumping will gradually diminish.