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How to Overcome Nerves When Moving Up a Level and Jumping Bigger Jumps

Submitted by member: Pablo

I have a 7-year old that I’ve been showing with in the low children’s jumpers. He has a lot of scope and power and is capable of jumping some bigger tracks, however, any time the jumps get bigger (around 4′), I feel like I don’t trust him to jump the jump even though he will. I get very anxious and start overriding, which makes his stride get bigger and it ruins our distance. Then we usually end up chipping and he cat jumps over it or he gets to a point where he will stop until there is an appropriate distance and we have a nice canter. I’ve had a couple nasty falls on different horses who were dirty stoppers and I feel as though they are the reason why I’m not riding calmly. My question is, how do I not get anxious and let my horse do his job? Thanks.

Answer by Bernie

This of course is a common issue that plagues many people right on up to Grand Prix level, so don’t feel you are alone with this. You are probably right that the dirty stopper had a influence with this.

The very good news is that it sounds like you have a very nice honest horse now.  Some more good news is that you have analyzed what mistakes you make when you get anxious. Of course, overriding will affect his stride and, therefore, affect the distance.  So how about keeping yourself at a height where you don’t get anxious and ride well for a few classes or schools. Then step up the ladder one notch at a time. Anytime you start to feel anxious, drop down immediately to a smaller more comfortable height, then step up again. Just like a horse, up and down the ladder to build confidence.

Video Recommendation:

Tonya Johnston Getting Over Fear

Getting Over Fear
Tonya Johnston
Mental Skills Coach, Tonya Johnston, shares some strategies you can use to get past an event or situation that is, perhaps inhibiting your performance and/or enjoyment of the sport. Tonya is joined by amateur rider, Lauren Craft, who sustained a serious injury during a jumping accident. Together they discuss how to overcome fear.
Running Time:  14 minutes and 32 seconds

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Bernie Traurig

As a Horseman, Bernie is renowned for not only his riding talents but for his teaching and coaching gifts. As a competitor, Bernie has represented the United States Equestrian Team both at home and abroad on many occasions and reached the top of the sport in all 3 of the International Equestrian Olympic disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing.After amassing 60 years worth of training and riding techniques and experiences with thousands of horses, Bernie is driven to give back to the sport that has given him so much fulfillment and success.

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