Tuesday, 19 July 2011

A right good blether while you jump....

Does jumping make you nervous? Last night I had a jumping lesson, which I haven't had in a while. It started with a plea of 'I'm a little bit nervous' and ended with a whoop of 'That was brilliant, I can't believe I did that!' 

So I now know the answer....the cure all for eradicating jumping nerves. It's a very Scottish cure, a specialist riding technique which we call blethering.

It may be a uniquely Hazelden technique, as expertly practised by owner / instructor Rob, who can (and I am sure he wouldn't mind that I say so) blether for Scotland. It starts before he gives you a leg up, and doesn't stop for the full hour.

Our collective group waffle last night covered all sorts of inane chatter .....holidays, T in the Park, how much it costs to park your car at T in the Park, what might happen if you didn't pay the parking fee, the horrors of accidentally shutting your kids fingers in car doors, the horrors of accidentally shutting the boot on your dad's head, forthcoming weddings, drinking too much, hangovers, pakora, mushroom pakora, loathing of fish pakora, and so on.....

Jumps are punctuation, the focus is the utterly mindless chit chat.

Blethering in order to be effective in this way must absolutely not be about riding, although you can pepper your blethering with a generous sprinkling of ' heels down' or 'just hold him a bit there' or even 'three, two, one' on the approach to the jump. You can even follow up after jumping with post jump corrections, as long as you don't let it interrupt the very arbitrary flow of the conversation. I doubt the BHS gives any certification in this particular skill, but in terms of the confidence that distraction can bestow on the rider, I think they should.

While blethering you can easily jump up to 40 times almost without noticing you have. In no time at all I was jumping 70cm jumps 3 in a row, and noticed that not only was my mouth no longer dry, but I was loving it and on a complete high!

The footage was of Ice, who I rode last night...not my video, not me riding, although looks about the same height and I am pretty positive that Sarah has benefited from this little known technique. I'll leave you with some more of Ice jumping...my head is still right there, another of Sarah's clips helps me hang onto the moment a while longer!

I will miss my Hazelden lessons for the next few weeks, but when I come back, it will be for a blether and a jump, that is for sure.


  1. that is great. Congratulations! I've jumped a little but without lessons...just fun on my horse (and others) a long time ago. Our pony can jump. I know I blether at other times, though! :-)

  2. Congrats! Chit chatting is the best stress release for me. Glad to see that I'm not the only one that partakes! :-)

  3. I was still on a high from this several days later! The chat definitely helps....I sometimes have a gab to the horse too...