Katie is a friend of Sophie and—as she says—emailed me after she saw Sophie jumping confidently again. This is Katie's story in her own words.
I contacted Jo after my friend did TFT with her and really rated it. I could see the huge improvement in her confidence.
I'd been riding for 15 years, and jumping/eventing was all I wanted to do. I got my first pony when I was 6 and fell off her nearly every time I got on (due to her being 2 and unbroken, not the well schooled 6 year old my dad thought he had bought). But after a year or two of perseverance she was jumping well and I had confidence to spare, and as I got older and better at jumping we started jumping 4ft regularly. Unfortunately when I was about 11/12 I had a bad fall on my friend's horse. He was napping and reared up and came over backwards on me and I was very lucky to come out of it without breaking anything, just severe bruising. My confidence was still fine with jumping as I still had my pony. In between her and the horse I currently own (Stella) I had a 3 year old which I bought as I felt sorry for him, but due to his neglect it was a year before I could even start thinking about jumping him, and by this time I had outgrown him.
In August 2002 I bought Stella, an ex-racehorse, who was intended as a show jumper. Everything went to plan until about a year or so after I bought her. Round about the time I was pushing us both (but mainly me) to jump bigger and wider fences (around 4ft), Stella had an accident in the field and I couldn't jump her for about 9 months. After that my confidence slowly got lower and lower, until everything about jumping absolutely terrified me, to the point where trotting at a fence (there was no way I would canter). The jump would be a 1st hole cross and I would be that scared that I couldn't even rise, I would just stand up in the stirrups. I'd just about given up on jumping, and had even started having dressage lessons to go into that instead, but it wasn't what I wanted to do, and it certainly wasn't what Stella wanted to do. She proved that when I took her to a dressage competition and she kept trying to jump out of the arena and bronked round the canters.
In July, I contacted Jo and arranged a time to ring. During the session we talked about all the things which could be affecting my confidence, my fall, how I felt a long distance from the jump, 3 strides away, 2 strides away, one stride away and take off—we even looked at trotting down hills and different types of jump which I especially didn't like. It was a weird feeling, as we went through the tapping sequences I could feel myself letting go so to speak, and I felt much more confident.
As I was warming up my horse later I was nervous that as soon as I approached a jump this feeling of confidence would vanish but I finally attempted a cross pole and didn't even feel a little nervous. Going up to the bigger jumps I did keep thinking 'why am I not nervous when a few days ago there was no way I'd jump this' but I kicked on and loved the feeling of being able to jump again and just enjoy it. I still think about the 'what ifs' but whereas before it would have stopped me from jumping now I just think 'what if we clear it' instead of 'what if we refuse'.
I don't know how TFT works, but it does so I'm not going to pick at it. I'm now even planning to go team chasing next year and hopefully get to some indoor show jumping this year (after a few lessons).
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