Hi H&C, I have owned my 14-year-old warmblood for two years, and I have been competing for about 12 months at unaffiliated level.
My plan is to start eventing but I have hit a massive problem - my horse will not jump fillers at competition and I am repeatedly getting eliminated from even the lowest level SJ classes.
I am finding it so frustrating, as he is more than capable but really lacks the confidence. He loves jumping at home and loves cross-country fences; it’s just fillers he hates. Can I ever get him over this confidence issue? Thanks, Helen
H&C expert and ex-international show jumper and trainer Johnny Harris replies:
"I suggest you hire out your local equestrian show centre - that could possibly have clear round afternoons - to take your horse, plus a friend for assistance and spend at least half an hour if not more riding around over very small fences with fillers by the side. Then pull the fillers in gradually making the gap smaller until they are under the fence. Start to put one, two then three fences together, gradually building up to a course.
Don’t feel under pressure to complete the whole course this visit, come back several times to build up the horse’s confidence and defiantly do your first competition here as well.
Another tip you could try at home to change your routine is to lay different things over the fences. Try putting rugs, coats etc. over very small fences to help vary what he sees at home.
Good luck and I am sure you will be jumping clear in no time."