The Steady Eddie
HAVING GOALS IS A GOOD THING. LETTING FEAR AND ANXIETY CONTROL YOU FROM ACHIEVING THEM IS NOT.
When I finally was able to get back in the saddle about 3 years ago, I was so excited. I had so many big goals that I wanted to make a reality.
During the first year, I was re-learning a few things. I needed to get my body back up to speed. My mind knew what to do but my body didn’t know how to follow through. Which was okay. We can all get a little rusty with a lot of time off. So, I tried to stay patient.
The following year, I was really starting to make some progress. I was jumping at a decent height and starting to find my groove. My coach and I talked about showing that summer and I was super excited. I was getting closer to some of the goals that I wanted to achieve.
But then, I had a decently bad fall.
The horse refused the jump and launched me into the air. I landed pretty much flat on my back. Don’t worry I wasn’t hurt, but it did affect my confidence. I could barely get over poles after that. I would drive home in tears because I thought I would never get the courage to ride again. This went on for about 3 or 4 months. Needless to say, I didn’t show that summer.
I was switched to a Thoroughbred that would go over pretty much anything you point him at. The problem was, he liked to bolt if you were too strong with your hands or if he did a really nice jump and was proud of himself. This raised another problem. Sure, I could go over 2-foot jumps now, but the bolting wasn’t exactly helping my confidence.
But this year everything changed. A horse came to the barn that gave me my confidence back. Danny.
Being a Clyde-cross, he’s a very tall horse. Which made jumping 2-foot jumps feel like raised trotting poles. This meant that the height of the jumps didn’t phase me as much. And if I did get nervous, he did such a good job of ignoring me and getting over the fence anyway.
He helped me to quiet my mind while I’m jumping. To focus on what I can control and not on what I can’t. Danny took me to 3 competitions this summer. Giving me the confidence to compete against other riders and learning to deal with a whole new set of nerves. Heck, I had so much confidence in the two of us that I didn’t think twice when entering in the 2’3 division when the 2’ was already underway. Or when I needed to enter the 2’6 division because we were late for the 2’3 the next time we showed. (We always entered the day of and paid the late entry fee just in case you’re wondering).
These past 2 weeks, I had the opportunity to ride both horses that I talked about at the beginning of this post. And it felt so good to have 2 great rides on both of them! I remained calm and focused. I was able to jump courses without any refusals or bolting. My past experiences didn’t prevent me from riding the way I know how to ride. And it felt great! It was one of those moments where I could definitely see the progress that I was making.
Sometimes you need that Steady Eddie to get your confidence back. Danny was that for me. And I’m so thankful that he came to the barn at the right time. He came at a time when I was starting to think that I’d never be able to jump again. That I’d never reach my goals.
I know that the time I have left with Danny isn’t long. He won’t be able to take me to the heights that I’d like to get to. But what he has taught me this year is something I will truly cherish forever. The confidence and skills that he has taught me will carry on to the other horses that I’ll have the honour of riding in the future.
Learn what you can and build a bond.
The partnership may not always last forever, but it’s a partnership worth investing your energy into.
UNTIL NEXT TIME, HAPPY RIDING!