So frustrated, any advice welcomed (And Arena Hunter Trials report)

MegaBeast

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Havng had problems with my youngsters confidence over jumps I thought we'd started to solve the problem after two very successful runs at Hunter Trials (2'3 and 2'9) recently where she jumped very confidently and happily and reakky seemed to enjoy herself.

So took her schooling at Broomes last Tuesday in their main arena and she jumped brilliantly over the fillers and water tray although only half a dozen jumps out there. Everything we jumped was between 80cm and 1m. Then had a lesson Saturday where she jumpd very confidently.

But, this is what is so frustrating, took her back to Broomes on Sunday for the Arena Hunter Trial (2'10) and she got total stage fright. Warmed up well, stood and waited calmly without fidgeting (huge progress) so we went in, annoyingly you had to walk round the edge to the start box whilst the person before was completing the course so couldn't actually canter around the arena and there were over 20 jumps in there, including roll tops, road closed, bullfinch, extremely narrow stile etc.

So we started, over one and two okay, a bit leery as watching everything else but then came round to three (the very narrow stile) which was positioned so you had to turn away from the entrance and she dropped into trot on the approach and then stopped. But because she stopped so late she hit the bottom (which was an angled platic arrowhead with two poles above) with her feet and knocked it out. Represented her after they rebuilt it and she jumped after chiping an extra tiny stride. Proceeded to four and she stopped again = elimination (run under BSJA rules) so they said jump a couple on your way out, put her at four again, she stopped and did a total demolition job as once again she stopped so late she put down on top of it.

Whilst they were rebuilding four I tried a few other jumps, she jumped a brush filler spread confidently, did two again, then took her round to the wall where she stopped (looking at the video she was expecting to go past as she did when she jumped no two before as the wall was 16) jumped it happily when asked again then took her round to one of the scariest jumps - a water tray in front of a spread built with spindly white poles which she jumped fine and was also positioned away from the entrance.

She was looking around so much, think she stopped at four as there was a whole group of jumps beside it that she was eyeing up. What I'm finding very frustrating is if she stops and wallops the fence she suffers a total loss of confidence and it takes a while to get that confidence back, but it doesn't seem to happen at home.

Bit worried about taking her out schooling as I can see us breaking a lot and having to pay which would cost a bomb.

When we came out I went back into the warm up and jumped a few in there, fine over the upright then stopped at the spread, sticking her feet into it then came round again and jumped it half a dozen times happily although getting in very deep.

Any advice? Difficult to know what homework I can do as it mainly seems to happen at shows.

Grapefruit juice and crunchy nut cornflakes for reading this far! Hadn't realised it was so long
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MegaBeast

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Was fully vetted when I bought her six months back, and saddles both fitted in January, need to get the saddler back out to recheck my dressage saddle now but that's just routine rather than because I think it's a problem.

I'm pretty certain it's a confidence issue as is my trainer and her husband (who's a well respected equine vet - he vetted her for me).

Would have thought if it was a physical problem then it would be consistent and not intermittent? She felt stiff underneath me yesterday once we went in the arena and wasn't concentrating on the job in hand, but once she relaxed a bit and started thinking about what she was doing things improved - which is what I'm finding frustrating, as by that point we'd been eliminated!
 

jules89

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Oh you picked your OH well ! (having a vet
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How old is she? How much had she done before you got her? Have you done much since having her? (sorry I don't know the horse so asking as many questions to get an idea!
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Could it be that she doesn't know/trust you enough yet to have the confidence to be brave?
 

MegaBeast

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Trainers OH not mine! lol

She's seven this month, very low mileage before I had her but was taken round an Intro by a pro just before I got her (he had her for three weeks to produce to sell) and did well, but I suspect now that it was too much too soon.

Over the Winter we did some unaffil SJ with mixed results - first outing (2'6 and 2'9) had one down and one stop in both classes. Then gave her time off as she'd gone anorexic with the move and lost a lot of weight.

Since Jan we've done 4 dressage outtings, 2 indoor school hires, 4 unaffil SJ, a fun ride, 3 proper HT and 1 arena HT and a schooling outing to Broomes. The unaffil SJ went very well, as did two of the HT, the first HT she was very green and we had steering issues which have since been resolved by a full cheeck NS snaffle + grackle. Fun ride was interesting (beginning of April), she was very green over some stuff, sticky and did get stuck on a hanging log at one point and stuck her feet into a couple of tiger traps, but brilliant at other things such as bright blue pipes and cotswold stone walls. After this though we did the HT and I really felt we were starting to get somewhere, no issues whatsoever with ditches/water and if she was unsure she'd go if I said go so whereas before she wouldn't so I felt the trust was developing

So would like to think we're building a decent relationship and she is starting to trust me more. But she is a very sensitive mare who thinks far too much and has a very highly developed sense of self preservation. If something knocks her confidence she loses it big time, although can always get it back just not before we're eliminated!

Seem to have taken several steps forward to have taken several back yesterday!
 

jules89

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Ooops trust me to read that wrong
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Sounds like she is just still getting to know you. If she is a very sensitive horse, as you say, then it will just take that much longer for her to bond with you.

Sounds like you are doing all the right things in taking her out etc and all that jazz, but I would make sure that everything you do has no pressure on her at all. The fun rides and stuff like that is brilliant.

What does your trainer say? Has she sat on the horse? Not sure if I would recommend her competing her for you or anything as I think the mare needs to bond with you and anyone else may just confuse her.

Oh Im blabbering, sorry
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Good luck though she doese sound sweet, just sensitive
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MegaBeast

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Trainer hasn't actually sat on her, although has said she thinks I'm doing a fantastic job with her as when I had her the canter was shocking (what she described as an antelope!) but is now much better and scores 8s in dressage for it
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Thinks it's confidence problems, but also says she has a very dirty stop.

Vet did ride her when he vetted her - he teamchases and showjumps and it's quite normal for him so he can feel them and hear their wind properly!

She does seem to go better when she's out more, so guess just need to keep on getting her out and about, weekly if need be, as it doesn't seem to stress her out, she travels well and eats up when she gets back.

Thanks!
 

TableDancer

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FWIW If the arena HT at Broome's was over a similar course to the Eventer Trials they do there, it's an incredibly demanding and spooky track for a baby horse, far worse than a proper HT. AS you say, lots of jumps close together, the skinnies are really skinny (far narrower than you will encounter at Intro or PN eventing), spooky plastic brushes etc. It sounds to me like she just lost a bit of confidence at the question you were asking her. I would put yesterday down to experience, carry on getting her out and about - what about looking for a little event to try? Who trains you BTW? (PM if you prefer...)
 

kerilli

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I agree with TD, those eventer trials are very demanding, a lot of questions come up very very fast in a small, atmospheric arena. totally different to xc, and the reason i don't do them any more (blew my grey mare's mind, and she was a real xc machine, but absolutely couldn't cope with it.)
i'd go xc schooling, and start over tiny easy things, just trotting and popping until she wants to canter to them, then cantering (not galloping) until she thinks it is easy and fun and is actively looking for the next fence.
i would also teach her to jump from a walk at home over small sjs, to give both of you confidence in her jump.
hope that helps.
 

MegaBeast

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Thanks TD and Kerilli, the skinny was super skinny and had great big wings so a very narrow gap to jump through. Annoying that it was fence 3 and we hadn't had time to really get into a decent rhythym and concentrate on the job in hand. At the HT where she went well I really had to ride hard over the first five fences and then she'd settle down and concentrate.

Will definitely try the jumping from walk, was very interested when I read Chlow_GHE and your posts on it, think it would help us both enormously.

Have entered a ODE at Stockland Lovell on 13th June, was feeling confident about it until yesterday and am now worrying a bit!

Going to take her to Broomes on thursday although probably won't jump her just so she can soak up the atmosphere of a big show. This is with my vet friend who'll be competing.
 

MegaBeast

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[ QUOTE ]
FWIW If the arena HT at Broome's was over a similar course to the Eventer Trials they do there, it's an incredibly demanding and spooky track for a baby horse, far worse than a proper HT.

[/ QUOTE ]

It was indeed over the same course! And because they were running behind they ran straight through the break when I was planning on walking it which probably didn't help.
 

Finnbob

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Sorry got nothing useful to add, just to say I've found this very interesting reading, my mare seems to be very similar, jumps fine at home or on schooling days but seems to get stage fright and starts stopping or trying to chip in short ones when were out even though the classes I put her in are tiny and well within her comfort zone .

I am almost resigned to the fact I always have to enter 2 classes when we go out, 1st one for her to scramble and stop and prob get eliminated at then usually once she's seen everything 2nd class she'll go clear, even if its quite a bit bigger than the 1st!
 

MegaBeast

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My mare loves that extra short stride too!

Was gutted Sunday as I asked if I could enter HC to go round again but because they were running behind schedule they were having to go straight through the breaks so didn't have time.

I'm going through that dilemma of whether to push her a bit and enter bigger stuff as she seems to respect it more and concentrate better or keeping going at the lower levels until we get it right. Think I ride better over the bigger stuff too!
 
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