Pilar lives in Argentina. I first heard from her in April 2006 when I received the following email:
I've heard a lot of glowing reports of your work and am very tempted to give it a go for my confidence (lack thereof!) issues when show jumping.
I had a fairly bad fall (off a different horse) but was nervous jumping before anyway. I feel that if I could always see the stride I wouldn't be afraid of jumping higher than 80cms, which is my 'comfort height' at the moment. Ironically, the more I try to find the stride the more I pull my horse in and the harder I make it for her. She has to jump off the wrong stride anyway, but virtually from a standstill whereas I know that if I let her canter on we'd stand a better chance of getting the right stride, and even if she didn't, she'd still have better rhythm. I'm not worried about her stopping (she never does) or falling off.
I feel as if I'm letting her down. She wasn't always so reliable. At our first (and only) 2 shows in the UK she stopped and we were eliminated. I put this down to my poor riding and I still feel this is the case. I think I generally ride her now much better than I used to and have put a lot of work in since about May last year. We've made lots of progress; she has improved hugely. She doesn't rush any more and works much better on the flat.
Last Sunday we had our second show here in Argentina. In the first class, 70 cms, we did fine and jumped clear. In the second class, 80cms, I started to worry about the jump off and was very tense. Although we only had four faults (in the jump off) it was a horrible, horrible round. In contrast, at our first show 2 weeks ago, I was more relaxed and jumped a steadier round.
I'd like to talk to you further about this, and think you could help hugely in conquering what I know are stupid, irrational fears. I thought I'd managed to work through my 'striding' concerns, but feel as if I've relapsed.
25 April 2006
Thought you might like to know how the jumping and show went after our session.
I spent most of Saturday quite calm and didn't think about the show at all (which was good!) I rode Starling and jumped several 90cm fences and felt fine. I tried 1m but fell off! Ooops!! Completely misjudged the stride, asked for a big jump but Starling disagreed. She jumped anyway but I went out the front door. BUT on the plus side I got straight back on and didn't dwell on what happened and did the 90cms again. I didn't ride her today (day off for her!) but will see how I feel tomorrow about 90 cm spreads and perhaps 1m uprights!!
The show went well. I only slept about 4 hours as the dogs woke me up and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was very very nervous at the show (and predictably forgot the printout of the TFT sequence) but I was fine in the ring and jumped 2 much much nicer rounds than the previous show. We still had one fence down in the 80 cm class, but I rode her much better than last time, so that was a huge relief.
Yesterday I was riding a horse I'm schooling for someone else and don't know very well, and my instructor put the fence up from 70 to 90. I would've been quite upset about this previously, and I wasn't yesterday. THAT was a huge surprise!! I just felt much more positive that I could do it.
I don't know exactly what worries me about shows but I think I might be missing something? After I jumped the 70 cms I would've gone straight back in and jumped 80 with no problems, but the more time passed between one class and the next, the more wound up I got. I think I need to stop thinking about it and picturing all the things that could go wrong! What do you think?
26 April 2006
I'm very pleased with how things went on Sunday. The jumping has certainly come on in leaps and bounds. I put up a spread at 90 cms for Starling (on my own; no instructor) and though I was a bit nervous I didn't have any of the churning, squirming nerves I used to have! I'm very, very pleased about that! Jumped it 3 times and met it perfectly all three times.
I would very much like to talk to you about shows, but I'm not really sure what it is about them I find nerve-wracking. I just feel really churny and generally anxious.
We had a second session working on anxieties about shows on 2 May 2006:
15 May 2006
Had my first post-TFT show on Sunday, and I did really well! In fact I won both classes so I was absolutely delighted!!
I managed to sleep the night before, and was calm in the morning. All classes were bumped forward so I only arrived at the club in time to walk the course and was still calm (!!) I got accidentally called in 2nd and I hadn't even warmed Starling up properly and my instructor was nowhere to be found and I still managed to go in and jump clear!
I was quite nervous for the 2nd class, but nowhere near as bad as I used to be and I managed to ride much more assertively, and concentrate on the course, so we jumped that clear and won again!!!! Everyone was very impressed!
Thanks very much for all your help! It has really made a huge difference!! I was sooooooooo much better—able to concentrate, think clearly and not plagued with thoughts of an early and painful death! TFT worked for me!
30 May 2006
Hi again Jo
Just another quick email to let you know that I had another show last Sunday, and even though the 80cm class was first (so no 70cm warm up!) and it had a 90cm jump off, I still competed with only the slightest of butterflies, and WON it!! And then I won the 70cm class too!! Soooooooooo pleased you can't imagine!
Everyone is stunned with the HUGE difference!! :) I’m now leading the championship in both categories. Who would've imagined it, eh?
Just thought I'd let you know, and thanks again!!
26 June 2006 email update
Have seen 'my' page on your website, and it's great... but you might have to update it, as I won the 70 cm championship today (by an embarrassingly huge margin!!) and came second in 80 cm by a whisker (full report in HHO) :) Absolutely THRILLED, and couldn't possibly have envisaged this in April.
Am attaching a few nice pics :)
Thanks yet again!
Pilar Larcade is an artist and has her own website