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  • Sherree Russell

How to overcome your fear of jumping

How to overcome your fear of Jumping - transcript

And as a Hypnotherapist and Sports psychologist and ex Riding instructor I’m passionate about helping riders to put the fun back into their riding.

I also have a lot of tools in my toolkit which gives me a unique perspective when I work with riders from novice to professionals in the comfort of an armchair to overcome their fears, or recover their confidence after accidents or injury and improve their sporting performance

I’d like today to talk to you about how I work with clients who have the - fear of jumping

It’s a big subject - so I’m going to cover the components of jumping confidence, and the questions I would be asking to help you overcome this fear, and I’m also going to offer some tips and advice.

The Solution is often to be found in how you came to have this fear in the first place and every person’s fear is unique.

So let me ask you a few questions now to point you in the right direction to find your solution to overcome your fear.

Where does this fear come from?

Can you pin point a cause or do you have a distinct memory that triggers this feeling? If not has this fear built up over a period of time.

What involvement has your current horse had in creating this fear - and is it still contributing to keeping you worried?

Do you feel as worried if you’re riding another horse?

Do you know its history – its experience, training and competitive record? Has it had a bad experience or accident in its past that’s likely to affect its way of jumping – for example - rushing, running out, cat leaping or refusing.

How did it jump for its last rider, and how did they ride it?

How supported do you feel you are by your instructor?

Never under-estimate the part a good instructor has to play in increasing your riding confidence because although I no longer teach, I’m often referred clients by their instructors, and I also make sure that when I first see new clients, they are supported by a good instructor.

A good instructor will not only ride and assess your horse’s level of education, suitability and fitness for its job – but they will also get a feel if there’s pain or injury which could be causing behavioural issues. And they will formulate a realistic training plan for you and your horse.

Teaching a rider to ride a fence well is a real skill.

I really struggled to learn how to ride a fence when I first learned to ride – I just couldn’t seem to get the timing right - to know when to fold or get my balance – and I remember during one lesson falling off over the same jump 5 times in a row – so remember the definition of stupidity is keeping on doing the same thing - in the same way - while expecting a different result.

It’s so much easier to feel confident when you’re taught from the onset how to find your balance point in a forward or jumping seat and learn to control your horse when you’re in that position. You need to be strong, supple and very fit in order to be in balance and be quick if your horse is sharp - especially when you’re jumping.

It takes hundreds of repetitions to develop the muscle memory to make a new skill unconscious and automatic, so be patient and keep practising within your comfort zone over small jumps.

What about the environment that you keep your horse in?

Have you got a good all weather floodlit school – especially during the winter months. How much time can you actually spend riding?

Does your horse have turnout, and daily exercise all year round to prevent it from being fresh and to maintain an appropriate level of fitness.

Is its feed appropriate to its work and breed? - the last thing you need when you’re having a worry about jumping is to have to deal with a horse that’s completely over the top.

How supportive are the people and friends that are around you?

Does anything need to change or improve in that area? Does anyone else have an agenda here?

Now let’s focus on you the rider.

How does your fear manifest in your thoughts? Do you need help to deal with a bad memory? Perhaps to destabilise some of the trigger memories so they don’t automatically send you into that downwards spiral of fear and dread.

What are you saying to yourself in your head – are you rehearsing the “what ifs” and imagining every single thing that could go wrong? Or would you like help to go to the yard feeling positive and looking forwards to riding, with a feeling of fun and playfulness.

Do you need help to change your beliefs about yourself and your ability to cope with this situation?

I’ve worked with many riders over the past 10 years to help them overcome their fear of jumping but I’d like to tell you Julie’s story

Julie is an experienced horse woman, who, as well as having a busy professional life regularly enjoyed competing her two lovely event horses - one experienced at intermediate level and one a novice. Then as a result of having a bad fall she lost all her confidence and developed a huge problem with cross country jumping - In fact she’d been eliminated at her last two events.

When Julie contacted me she was at her wits end and very emotional as she’d tried everything she knew to regain her confidence to no avail - she was even considering withdrawing from her next event and giving up eventing as she couldn’t even imagine getting over a jump !

So she came to see me for a session in the armchair and using a combination hypnotherapy, techniques – I was able to help her to overcome her fear and re-associate with all the reasons she loved eventing and the good feelings she had as she enjoyed her sport and we worked to put the fun back in her riding.

Julie contacted me a few weeks later to tell me that she had decided to go to the next event and although they had one stop it was a silly one, but they jumped the rest of the course confidently and it seemed to her as if her horse was picking up on her confidence and was taking her to jumps again. She simply wasn't worried anymore.

Her next event was Brightling Park and they jumped clear and were placed 4th, and then were 8th at Iping with another clear!

Not a bad result from someone who nearly gave up!

One final note - What else is going on in your life right now?

You see nothing acts in isolation in the mind – and if you’re struggling in one area of your life, it can’t fail to impact another.

What else are you juggling in terms of work, relationship and children? Would you like a little understanding compassionate help to deal with that struggle too?

Clinical Hypnotherapy is a scientific based approach that is different from the traditional schools of Hypnotherapy in that it draws its influence from a sound understanding of Neuroscience and combines aspects of other proven therapies, including Positive Psychology, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy & NLP to produce a tailored solution that fits the client's own personal needs - helping them to make positive changes and take control of where their lives are going - from getting over a traumatic incident to resolving fears, phobias and habits overcoming stress & anxiety, to improving sports performance and health.

So if you’d like help to re-train your brain to overcome your fears and put the joy back in your life and the fun back in your riding please contact me - I can work via Skype or FB or Face-time if you’re not able to travel to see me in Surrey or Sussex.

If you have any questions please comment below or if you would like to chat to find out how I can help you overcome your own challenges - please contact me via my website at or join me on Facebook to receive more tips and information

I hope you have found this useful and look forwards to hearing from you soon.


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