Cross country - highs and lows!

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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This evening I did a cross country clinic with my riding club. I rode my new favourite cob called Spencer. He was fantastic, although a little spooky and picked up on some of my nerves. We managed to do a complete course of 6 fences and it was a truely amazing feeling to be cantering between the jumps and then flying over them. We jumped about 2'3" which I am pleased with for solid fences.

However, my nervous moment surfaced and I feel frustrated. When I had done all my smaller jumps we went into a huge field to let the more experienced riders jump some big ones. I was happy to watch but Spencer wanted to join in. There were 4 of us in our group and at one point one rider was coming back to us after jumping, and the other 2 set off to go in a pair. That left Spencer and I standing in the middle of the field on our own which he wasn't happy about. He started prancing around and wanting to join in, so I asked my RI to hold him for me (this isn't my regular RI but she was very nice).

I just feel really embarrassed that I asked someone to hold my horse! Surely by now I should be able to stand in a field and let everyone do what they want to do around me? I hate the fact that I panic and grab the reins when I feel the horse get excited. Am I ever going to get over this? On a positive note, I did wish that I was riding Bailey (my share horse). If he started prancing around i think that I would have found it funny. I really enjoyed the evening but feel a little silly about how I handled a horse who just wanted to be with his friends!


Active Member
Jan 15, 2010
Mary Poppins... here you are again being my hero!

I think you should be focusing on what you DID achieve. Well done, you deserve a huge pat on the back.

I would not dwell on the fact that you asked you RI to hold your horse. I really dont think that it is a big deal and I have to say that I would have done the same or even dismounted!

Well done for jumping the course :biggrin:


Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2009
My goodness woman - you jumped a course that many of us wouldn't even attempt and you're concerned that someone needed to hold your horse when he got excited! Give yourself a giant pat on the back. I'd love to have a fraction of your confidence. You're amazing!!


Active Member
Aug 22, 2007
Try and focus on the did a whole cross country course!!!!!

Trying to hold an excited horse can be pretty nervy and not something that most people practice on a regular basis so I can understand why you maybe wanted someone to hold him.

Be proud of yourself girlie!!


Well-Known Member
Jun 12, 2009
West Mids
Well done on doing a cross country course! Sounds like your confidence levels are improving all the time :dance:

As for the last bit, i would of done the exact same thing. I always get my OH to grab the riens if i feel anxious :giggle:

Mary Poppins

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2004
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Thank you everyone. Bizzarely I am more confident when I am actually doing something rather than when I am standing still! When i am moving both Spencer and I are thinking about what we are doing and what is coming next. When we are stood still I am anxious about him going potty, and he is getting bored. In hindsight it would have been better to keep walking and trotting round the field to keep us both occupied.

This confidence journey is a funny thing. I really am 100% better than I was 2 years ago and I am loving galloping across fields and jumping logs. But why do I have to focus on the negative aspects all the time? Do confident riders have the ability to just forget anything negative? Is this what makes them confident?


Active Member
Aug 22, 2007
When I was having a lesson on my sisters' TB (sensitive ex-racer) the RI I was using at the time, who was really quite amazing, said that when you feel scared you have to shake it out of your head. If you allow yourself to get into a nervous state then you lean forwards/grip with your legs and your chances of staying on decrease significantly. So I guess this is how alot of people do it!

I doubt there are riders in the world who have never felt nerves or had a crisis of confidence, it's how you deal with it that's important.

I went through an awful stage of being petrified of riding, it didn't matter how small the horse was, and my RI back then used to get me to recite Shakespeare lines back to him whilst doing particular exercises as it distracted me from being so scared. I literally used to cry and shake when even on the most safe ponies
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