I jump 1m 10 at home – why can’t I jump 80cm at a show?!
“I’ve recently bought a new horse. She’s 7 and loves jumping. I jump 1m 10cm at home so why can’t I get round the 80cm at a show? She warms up fine but then we get into the ring and it all goes to pot. PLEASE don’t tell me I need to do unaffiliated shows because I can’t afford my own transport and have to go to the affiliated shows because my friend takes me. I’ve competed on my old horse and it was never a problem. What am I doing wrong?”
Firstly don’t apologise for not being able to afford transport! You’re certainly not alone with that one. Yes, of course it would be nice to go and do a few unaffiliated shows first and pop round the clear round but you can’t and that’s OK. Your horse is happy jumping bigger ad wider fences so you’re doing the right thing by trying the smaller classes first.
You’re practising at home and enjoying yourself so the problem is clearly to do with the show. It’s early days with this horse so don’t pressure yourself. If you’re nervous you’re passing it on to her. It’s easy to freeze when you go into the ring and all eyes are on you – especially if you feel you should be doing better.
If you’re not riding forward and giving your horse confidence she’s going to shut down and wonder why you’re worried – eventually she’ll just anticipate a problem which is why she’s stopping at the first fence now. Most horses will take you round once or twice, or hop over a couple of fences (which usually means you get left behind and that makes things so much worse!) and then stop – does that sound familiar?
As you’re doing so well at home I’d suggest you keep doing that (keep up with your lessons too) but ask your friend to take her round a few times at a show for you (you said in your email she competes at Foxhunter). This is for two reasons – it will give your horse the confidence to settle when she’s in the ring and it will give you confidence to see her do it. Your friend is obviously used to competitions and she’ll probably think nothing of taking her round for you I’m sure. (She may well not want to suggest it because she thinks you might be offended.)
After a couple of shows you can then enter in the same class as your friend but non-competitively (HC) so you’ll know your horse can do it. That will really help you to push on and ride at the fences.
I hope this helps. Best of luck and keep in touch!
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