That this semester, I’d be so busy with exams?! And for some odd reason they all seem to hit me at the same time! I feel like my professors are all collaborating on exam times to ensure I don’t have a break…
Wasn’t able to ride Lib until Thursday of last week, so she’d had almost a full week off. Got out to the barn and she looked like a wooly mammoth! Ugh winter is coming way to fast. Anyways got her all tacked up, and headed out for a nice quick hack.
Lib was nice and forward-ish, well for her, and was listening much more to my leg. I’ve taken the “its my way or the highway” approach with her lately regarding her being so dead to the leg, and its starting to work I think. Not that I don’t like that she’s so quiet, but I really feel like most of the problems we have over fences is due to me not trusting that she’ll listen when I need her too. So no more allowing her to plod along and listen to my leg or hand when she feels its necessary.
Did a little lengthening and shortening of her stride at the canter, not too much since she hadn’t had any work in a while, and she was great. Trotted her over a couple fences just to keep her on her toes throughout the ride, which I think she appreciated. Cooled her out and brought her in for lots of treats.
Friday I had a lesson. Got out and tacked up the beast and started warming her up. We put her in a training rig for the first time, i.e. draw reins, to really get her to soften through her mouth. Was a total workout for me, especially since Libby is not very soft mouthed to begin with, but we had several good moments where she felt like she was listening and softening to the bit.
Took the draw reins off and did some jump exercises, really working on getting her to lift her back through the air. After going over a big cross rail a couple of times, my trainer had me trot into a line and canter out. First time went well, then my trainer started raising the back oxer. And this is where I came apart. Since we had just worked on Libby using her back, she was cracking her back pretty hard over these jumps. Add to that the fact that I had to push her up to them the whole time. Now these weren’t grand prix sized jumps mind you, it was probably 3’3″, but having to create the momentum to get up to the jump was not the type of ride I would have liked. That being said we trotted into the line again, I allowed too much and Libby got in too close. Trotted into the line a third time, woahed after the in, woahed too much, thought Libby was going to stop, and lost my balance over the fence as she lept awkwardly over it. I ended up on the ground on the other side, and Libby ended up running for dear life.
Got back on, and I was frazzled. I ended up completing a little bitty course to end with her on a good note, but I felt so defeated. What happened to being able to go around 3’+ courses and doing it well, like I did in high school? When did I become so unsure of myself, and of my horse, of whom STILL saved my butt and jumped it regardless of what spot I took her too. I was so unhappy with myself that the waterworks started and I excused myself. I just don’t understand. I finally have a nice horse, and I can’t seem to pull myself together when the time comes. I don’t want to mess her up obviously… but I feel like my inadequacies are becoming more apparent.
My trainer saw how upset I was and came to console me. She started telling me that it wasn’t as bad as I thought, I’d just lost my balance, and that these things will happen. She assured me that no, I wasn’t going to mess Libby up, and that yes, I could do this, she wouldn’t have set it up if she didn’t believe I could. She kept saying there’s no reason to be so hard on myself. But to put it plainly, that ride made me feel like I didn’t know what I was doing, and its really defeating to know that I put so much time and effort into this sport just to feel like I’m regressing.
I don’t want to be that ammy rider that needs help all the time, that falls off whenever things go sour. People used to have me ride their horses to school them, they believed in my skills that much. What the heck happened?
I walked back to the barn with my thoughts and took care of Loo, gave her a liniment bath, wrapped her legs, and gave her her third Pentosan shot.
Saturday, I was able to get the clipper out to do Lib on short notice, so she got a much needed haircut. Gave her an hour to herself and tacked her up so my trainer could ride her. Lunged her first for her just in case (she always gets a little weird right after clipping) and she got on. Lib was good, listening and reaching with her hind. She took her over a couple jumps and she did great, although my trainer did comment that she still feels a bit too flat. Overall she was good, and I hosed her down and gave her treats.
Right now, I just am trying to sort out my feelings on everything. My trainer feels that Libby is ready to move up, and she thinks that some of our little baubles over fences are because Libbys bored. She also wants us to start moving up at home, so that when we eventually do show again, there’ll be nothing to get nervous about. While I understand what she saying, I just don’t know if I’m quite ready yet. Obviously my riding is not what it used to be, and I’m not as ballsy as I was years ago. It honestly kills me to think that my riding is not where I thought it was. Especially now that I have the opportunity to do bigger things with Libby. But going up to that jump with no engine scared me, plain and simple. And I don’t quite know what to do about that.
Gave Libby the day off Sunday, and couldn’t go out anyways since I had to study for yet another exam. Riding today, and hopefully tomorrow.