Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Mind Over Matter

Or, "Stop being delusional, Carly."

It's easy for me to be at home and start losing touch with my riding reality a little. Reading about other people's jump schools and looking at my old show pictures gets my mind rolling away to places it really shouldn't right now. 

"You know what? I can still do that. I bet if I just got out there, I would be totally fine! I'm probably wasting a whole show season doing dressage. Maybe I should spend all my membership money on eventing after all. I'd win the dressage, and cross country jumps don't seem daunting in the slightest. How hard is it really to get around eight stadium fences? That's just one phase. I bet I could cope."

But then I get in the saddle.

All I've set up in the ring is a cross rail, and I look at it, and I'm like, "Is that 2' in the middle? Why did I make that so big? Urgh, not okay. Wait, no. It will be fine. I can do this. It's fine. IT'S FINE. YOU'RE FINE. EVERYTHING IS FINE."

barn cat hay distribution at your service.
or impeding your service. 

That is not the mindset of someone that should be jumping around a stadium course, unless said course is composed solely of cross rails under 2'. Sure, those exist, but I'm not paying money to drop us back down to that level. I'm going to spend this year doing my homework over fences at home, and garnering ribbons while not being scared shitless on the flat. When I'm confident over 3'+ again, we'll go back out to doing exciting things. That time is not now.

We did conquer that momentarily scary cross rail this morning though. I started off trotting Bobby over it from both ways lots of times. For being such a wimp, I'm not very good at trotting jumps, so until I got myself to put my leg on well before turning into the jump to get a good trot going, it was a little pukey over the fence. 

But! Bobby did not stop once. Right after my crash, he was slamming on the brakes at six inch jumps whether I had my leg on or not. I made sure to give him a big pat after each time he popped over because I appreciate not dying. 

"you feed out my perch, i'll find somewhere else to sit."

From the canter, he was totes perfect coming off the shorter approach, but from a longer approach, he wasn't taking my half halt. He wasn't slinging his head around and bolting which was obviously nice, but he was still barging through my hands. He probably thought he was being clever and moving up to the distance, but Bobby's distance skills are still remedial at best, and he was really just lunging to a gappy distance.

I brought him back to a trot and he was super, so we took a break and did some canter to walk work. I hadn't planned on jumping again, but he was being so good, and the jump was hanging out right there not being scary that I trotted him into it again off the long approach. Again he was a pro, so I let him keep cantering and came back around again. He politely listened to my half half and cantered over it without changing pace in the slightest. 

I gave him lots of candy and praise and ended it there. Maybe he'll be packing me around 3'6" at the end of the year? Maybe I should come back down to earth a little bit?

stalking birds.
p.s. you can't see him.


  1. I say go have fun doing some fancy-pants dressage! You can always re-evaluate as the season progresses. Who knows where you will be 30, 60, 90 days from now? I say have fun, no pressure. You may be surprised where you end up! :)

  2. EVERYTHING IS FINE. <- I'm glad I'm not the only one saying that to myself. Constantly. Maybe someday it will be true?

  3. I went through a phase when I had to repeat to myself "I AM BRAVE. I AM BRAVE. I AM TOTALLY NOT SCARED OF THIS 2' VERTICAL." You are making good progress in the confidence department!

  4. Whether you're jumping 12" cross rails or flirting with 4', you're still a bad ass. Just remember that.

    In other news, trot jumps are SO HARD. Seriously. SO. HARD.

  5. You're doing the right thing, I think. I pushed myself so far past the point that my nerves could handle that it made me switch disciplines entirely. Taking a temporary step back while you re-group is a far more sane option than what I did, which was going into the ring almost in tears for a while.

  6. I'm sort of dealing with something similar. I feel your pain. Keep up the good work!

  7. I hate trotting cross rails... HATE. wanna come down and jump Riley pants? You guys are our heroes, the end.

  8. Ugh yes be kind to yourself and take your fears seriously. Nothing is worse than a round of victim blaming for regrowing confidence.

    Basically, don't say anything to yourself that you would say to someone with the same fear that you reasonably like.

  9. If it isn't fun, just take a break. I keep telling myself the Olympics are going to have to just wait one more year because I have to take more time off thanks to this move. If Team USA can do without me for one more year, keeping your expectations low so that you can have fun is totally acceptable. Team USA can wait for you too ;)

  10. Sounds like you're totally doing the right thing. Take your time...besides, isn't Bobby a fancy pants dressage pony as well as a jumping machine? :)

  11. you're bigger than me, I didn't even have a head bashing incident and still have been a complete weenie about letting my horses feet leave the ground.

  12. I'm constantly going around saying "you're fine". Most people would think that I'm just talking to my horse, but it's just as much for me as it is for her. Getting your confidence back definitely doesn't happen overnight, so it sounds like you're approaching it in a good way.

  13. I think you're taking a really good approach. Sometimes I think more eventers could use to slow down for a second and make sure they're not just blowing through stuff 'cause they can'. At least personally I know I want to be able to do all three phases well and safely before moving up. Hence staying at elementary again instead of moving up to big bad BN. I know you and Bobby are capable of SO much more than I am right now anyway, but I still really applaud you for stepping back and and proceeding with caution (though it sucks you had to have your head bashed in the first place) and there's 100% nothing wrong with only doing dressage shows for a season and not dropping to a lower eventing level. You KNOW you're capable of more and you know that just doing the homework over fences is the answer, so go you!! And bonus: once you do go back to the events you be beating the crap out of everyone on the flat!!!

  14. ugh i hear ya, loud and so freakin clear. it took me a long time to claw my way back up to feeling confident again. and now i've regressed a bit since breaking my leg. except my horse remains awesome and is proving that she's got my back.... so maybe take a trip down to maryland and come ride isabel?!?

  15. Confidence is such a tricky thing. Mine seems to have flown out the window lately. It's frustrating. Keep at it. You'll get there. If it's something you want then go for it. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to do it until you find your comfort level again.


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