Then Hubby, Bobby, and I got back to the trailer to untack the hoss and stuff him with all the cookies, and Hubby offhandedly said, "You've jumped around Plantation and Bucks. This time last year you were doing Training, and everyone is telling you what a good job you just did getting over the tiniest course ever. I don't get it." I relayed that to BM while we were driving a load of those semi-feral creatures to their new home yesterday (What a fucking nightmare.), and she added, "SO was looking at the pictures and he was like, 'I thought Carly jumped the really big stuff like a badass?'"
Neither one of them meant anything mean by it of course. First of all, they're dudes. They say stupid shit all the time anyway. But neither of them was too impressed by what were pretty small jumps, and not being immersed in the horse world, they didn't really grasp the full effect of what I've gone through this year with my confidence.
BM was quick to tell me I am a badass, and while maybe we're not going Training right now, my horse is trained so much better, and when we get back there we're going to rock it because of that.
Still, a large part of me deflated. It was the tiniest course ever. I didn't even ride that well.
Then I went back and read my last two posts about the shows in this series. Back in May at the first one, I jumped one jump before bursting into tears and having to leave the ring unable to get around another fence out there. I finished that post with this:
Do we aim to do better next time? I don't know when the next time will be. I'm too scared to jump off property right now. I'm too worried about things going wrong and getting hurt again. I don't believe in my horse, even if he's proven he can be trusted to do his job. This is shaping up to be a much longer road than I anticipated.And at the second show, a month later, I only went to school in the morning and didn't actually make it into any of the classes.
I held firm in my decision to keep this as a schooling opportunity only. My horse was a little naughty, I worked through it, and we jumped a few different jumps several times apiece OFF PROPERTY! I love satin as much as the next person, but that was a big enough win for me. Maybe I'll be ready by the next show.I only went to cheer on barn mates for the third show as I had a dressage show that afternoon, but I vividly remember being so nervous standing at the gate waiting for W to go in for her rounds. I was dressed in shorts and muck boots, my horse wasn't even on the property, and I was getting psyched out by the jumps.
When I look back at all that, it makes it easier to feel proud of myself again. No, 2'3" isn't the most exciting thing in the world, and no, I didn't get a big open stride out of my horse or nail every distance. What I did do was make it around three separate courses, off property, with long approaches and multiple lines, and I never once got scared.
I had a smile plastered to my face going around even as we made mistakes. I was happy with my horse, happy with myself, and so thankful to BM and my whole barn family who cheered us on the entire morning.
A brain injury is an invisible thing. Confidence is an invisible thing. It's hard to see from the outside how much those things affect someone, so I have to compare myself to my own standards. I worked hard to get to that show, and I think I did the very best job for where I'm at now--not because of how well I did or didn't ride, but because I took another step toward conquering a crippling fear.