Thursday, 18 December 2014

Confidence Isn't Re-built In a Day

I have yet another saddle on trial right now(the 9th jumping saddle, but who's counting).  I actually think it may be a keeper, but I want at least one more ride before making a decision.

Since I had a saddle to ride in I actually got to have another jumping lesson.  I'd had a rough day at work so I headed to the barn early so I could set fences by myself.  It's amazing how 30 minutes of manual labour and tossing poles around can work off a shitty mood.  My coach had me set up fences coming out of the corner on the diagonal with one fence at X.  Accuracy and steering were the name of the game.
My epic MS Paint skills at work
Turns out, Dee thinks she's in charge of the steering, which caused us some grief when jumping towards the wall.  It took a few tries but we managed to pull it together.  After we were all successful at jumping a single fence into the wall and doing a half ten-meter circle to jump the center jump we moved onto angles.  We had to jump the pink into the wall, the green to the purple to the brown.  The plan was to jump the green and brown straight and take the purple on an angle.  Our first go at it was a bit of a train wreck.  We jumped the pink at an angle (basically like a straight quarter line), had a decent green and completely missed the purple.  Take 2 was much better.  We got our shit together for the first jump and the rest rode quite nice.

We then moved on to adding the other diagonal (which seemed to ride much nicer).  When that went well we moved on to doing shallow loops, green to purple to blue and then to the other side.  This was actually easier than I anticipated and I did both sides with minimal trouble.

Proof I do ride my horse

We went to turn it around, doing the brown to the purple to the pink, and this is where it all fell apart.  I came into the brown with almost no pace, which (justifiably) caused a refusal.  We represented but at this point I was TERRIFIED and just kinda sat there like a lump.  It was an ugly jump and then I pulled her out of the line because there was no way in my state of mind I was capable of even getting over any more fences.  By this time I had fallen into a full on neurotic meltdown.  These jumps are not scary or big but some switch flipped and I was crying and shaking and could hardly breathe.  I was barely able to walk her in a circle so my coach had me sit off to the side and take a few minutes.  Once I got myself under control I had her put one fence down to a cross rail and then jumped some single fences (including the brown one) and called it a day.  I got off and gave my pony a big hug.  

My confidence was shattered by the red mare. I had numerous falls caused by run-outs, starting with the one that destroyed my ankle (and balance).  I kept at it for over a year thinking we could ride through it and make it happen.  All we did was succeed in making me terrified.  

Since I've bought Dee it's gotten so much better.  Oxers only cause me minimal grief, we've schooled 3'3" and everything that scares me on cross country.  Apparently my past is going to rear it's ugly head every once in awhile though. I'm grateful that I have the best pony who takes care of me and did not turf me last night.  I just wish I didn't have this anxiety that likes to show up unannounced. I'm hoping that as time gets on I can trust in myself, and my horse because last night was very frustrating and embarrassing.


  1. Big props to you to be able to work through your fear and get back on!

  2. that video is great!! and i know exactly what you mean about the crippling anxiety... it sucks and there's no rhyme or reason or logic or anything to it :( very happy that you have a nice safe (and talented!) horse who can help you rebuild!

  3. Looking really great in that video - I'm envious of your riding (and awesome pony!)
    I think we're at similar places confidence wise at the moment. I know it's frustrating to still have 'moments' on the new, 'safe' horse but so far my pony doesn't seem to mind, and the more I talk to instructors and other riders and am just honest about what's going on, the more it seems like everyone has been there at one point or another. I'm starting to actually believe there's no point wasting time being embarrassed about it :)