Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shifting Gears

I spent all morning puttering around the barn thinking, "Why in the world did I enter a show? I'm not good enough, Izzy will freak out, I'll probably just fall off and die."

Yes, completely the most rational thing ever.

Then everyone's favorite Rinsie texted to let me know that I wasn't on the show schedule. My immediate thought: Excellent!! Unfortunately, her note didn't pander to my nerves and pointed out that we were in this together. Rats.

I don't want to beleaguer the point, but I didn't even want to ride Izzy today because I felt like she'd somehow act the total idiot and I'd go flying, which is completely unfair to her. She's really a pretty fabulous horse 98% of the time (thank you Ellie for constantly reminding me of that).

I saddled up and rode.

You know, actually rode. Kept my eyes up, my weight in my feet, and my hands steady. We did changes of bend and flying lead changes (oh yes we can do those).

Specifically, I focused on shifting Izzy's gears within gaits. When we are approaching a jump, Stephanie always wants us to be in a rhythm that allows us to either speed up or slow down without breaking gait.

I'd open Izzy up and GALLOP down the long side (mare loves it!!), then shorten to the tiniest canter we could find at the end, then circle in a medium gait, then do it again. And then a flying change*.

I won't lie--I'm still a little freaked out about the whole going-to-a-ridiculously-tiny-show thing, but I feel better now. Izzy is a damn good horse and I can ride her. We may not blow everyone away with our awesomeness (although that would be nice), but we can certainly go canter around a nice little course.

PS For the fashionistas out there, I totally broke out the CO helmet today. It fits me so much better than the horrid thing I was wearing. Love!


  1. Heh! Indeed we are in it together. :)

    I'm kind of freaked about it too, after this weekend's performance by mareface, but yknow, the last time we did this show, Rev was completely calm. We had a stop, but she didn't freak.

    So I'm reminding myself of the same things: Reveille is a seriously awesome horse. She doesn't have fancy breeding, but she is smart, generally calm, and trustworthy -- especially when I RIDE instead of sit there!! Who cares if we knock all the rails down? It's not a big deal. It's less expensive than a lesson, and it's great experience. Plus, we can totally do all these things.

    So yes. Breathe. Ride! We can do this. :)

  2. Oh -- and yes, I'd like to blow everyone away with our awesomeness too. One person in particular. ;) But honestly, whether we do or don't, it's all good. We can get around the course.

  3. I am not trying to be rude in any way I am just a little confused as to where your confidence issues stem? The way you talk of the kind of rider you are and the kind of horse Izzy is I am unsure how you could have confidence issues. I mean I think you are capable of flying lead changes yet you seem almost frozen in fear to even mount your horse. Then you talk about galloping Prelim horses through the mountains but are completely shaken by riding Izzy in an arena. I understand that fear is not rational but I just don't see how you can be such a good rider but still be afraid. I am not trying to be rude I honestly just want to understand. It also seems these issues didn't really start until after you came to the new barn and started taking regular lessons.

    I cannot wait to hear how the show goes! If you go the way I go to shows with the goal to stay on and have fun I bet no matter what you will have a good time.

    And you really need to quit with the horrid helmet thing I ride in that helmet and love it and it kinda hurts my feelings :(

  4. I agree with Amy -- I think if you take a step back and look at the big picture, you will see that you and Izzy are far more capable than you think you are. So give yourself credit for that and own it.

    Your show will be fine, just remember to breathe and remember, this is supposed to be FUN!

  5. Oh girl I so relate to this! But there is nothing like a really good ride to settle your nerves and boost your confidence. Stay focused on that good ride until the show! You CAN ride, and your mare IS awesome, and you'll have fun. The chances of death are slim to none. (My friends often make similar statements to me to those in Amy's comment above. There's no rhyme or reason to nerves and confidence issues. But I am 110% in your corner!)

  6. You and Izzy will do fine I just know it. You have improved sooo much lately. You should proud of yourselves.
    You will do fine.!!

  7. Amy--I've tried to figure that out myself. I don't know why I'm such a head case right now. I've always had some jumping anxiety with Izzy for no apparent reason other than being older than before, but it seems to have slammed into overdrive in the past month or so. The best I can come up with is that we're actually pushing ourselves now, so I can't jump a vertical and feel good about myself and then let it be.

    We're doing really well for the most part, but the constant challenge is the new variable and I think that's it. I'm starting to settle in and I'm confident that we'll find a way to work through it.

    Also, I haven't been to a show of any kind in well over a year.

  8. The more you ride, the more confident you will feel. Glad you got on and had a good workout with some excellent exercises.

  9. I think I understand some of what you're feeling. Even if I COULD afford regular lessons and/or showing, I don't know that I'm ready for them right now. Miles and I go at our own pace, and it's great. But if we changed all that? Well, I can already feel the anxiety start to build:) Post whatever you want..that's what a blog is for. The minute we try to stuff whatever we're feeling down is the minute those feelings take over. Take care, and don't be afraid to speak up to your instructor if you want to slow things down.

  10. I'm kind of jealous you have shows to go to in the middle of winter!

  11. Oh, I understand. I have MAJOR show anxiety and IF we were even to try it, and I think about it, I literally shake! Why???? Dunno. I hope to overcome it in our future too. I think you are doing the best you can and not allow the fear to control your choices. Push through them and ride that great horse u have :)

  12. I was going to say something about confidence but everyone else already has...

    So I'm just going to say...

    I just got so jealous when you said flying lead changes. So jealous. Don cannot do them to save his poor pony life. If getting dinner depended on doing a flying change he would starve. So far I've managed to get ONE out of him, and that was by running the barrel pattern on him.

    Ok, now... kick butt at the show!


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