“My best friend and I are 16. Becca has been riding for 15 years and I would like to give her some advice before I move to Australia in early July. She has lost her nerve really badly when it comes to show jumping, although she is more confident in her cross country now that she is riding again after the fall she had at Larkhill last July. How can I get her to realize that she is a good rider and her jumping is good as it is? Do you have any advice to help her get her confidence back?
Becca is constantly repeating small jumping exercises to improve her confidence but nothing is really working. She says she feels like she wants to cry every time she sees a small jump in the field. Thank you so much.”
Oliver answers: Unfortunately there is no magic cure. You just have to start slowly and not over face yourself. Obviously to do this you have to be on the right horse and in the right situation.
You are always pushing yourself as this is how you improve but you have to keep within the fine line of pushing yourself for improvement and not over facing yourself. Sometimes this is hard to judge, therefore a good instructor can be helpful as they should be able to judge what the horse/rider combination is physically capable of and to not push past that.
Also, the big thing is that there is no actual need for her to jump. If it is that big an issue and it makes her that upset, maybe she should stop doing it. You can still ride and enjoy horses in many other ways, and then some time down the track she might go back to jumping. If it is not your job, you can take the pressure off yourself. I hope this helps, and good luck with everything.