Friday, February 3, 2012

Just Can't Shake It

I haven't talked much about confidence lately because I've been feeling really good. I do fine in company for the most part, am ok taking some horses on the trail along, and haven't had that nasty, gut-wrenching fear in a while.

Until today. I was the only one on the schedule to ride and I was alone at the barn except for the morning care crew. The schedule had me riding two relatively uncomplicated horses in the indoor and lunging one. I lunged first--lil' guy was pretty good for being four.

Then it was time to tack up my first ride for the day. I tried to think of any excuse to not do itm but I kept coming back to this: when Stephanie comes back, how are you going to explain to her that you were too afraid to ride one easy horse in the indoor? How are you any help as a barn worker if you can't execute simple tasks?

You're not.
I decided to do the easier horse first. Audi may be green, but she's a black mega bitch mare, which is exactly how I like them. Because she's a total bitch, I know she doesn't mind being alone in the arena (although she very seriously minds being left behind). Besides, some of her issues are similar to Izzy's, so I'm familiar with how to deal with them.

I tacked up and headed to the indoor. She was good and quiet when I led her around it, so I went ahead and mounted. Lil' mare was a star. After a quick reminder, she remembered the lightness off the aids we'd worked on last time, so we started to adjust her downward transitions. Instead of letting her just drop all her weight onto her forehand and crash through the downwards, I started asking her to stay up and forward through the whole transition.

By the end, I'd say her trot/walk transition was at least 80% better. I rode for around 25 minutes and mostly felt good. When I started to get nervous, I'd intentionally relax my hip flexors and ask her for more forward. This would ease the tension she was feeling and make me more confident because she was ahead of my leg instead of ducked behind it.

Then I took her back to the barn and trimmed her face up so she'd look more like a real horse and less like a yak. Success! Mare didn't seem overly familiar with clippers, but she was sensible about introducing them and let me clip away merrily.

Overall, I feel good about today. I can't expect those feelings to just magically disappear and since I'm now riding well enough that I don't really -need- to be afraid, it's time to conquer the vestigial feelings and move forward.


  1. You've got it, babe! You know what to do!

    As far as the vestigial feelings go, I don't know that you ever conquer them. And I don't know that you ever should. I really think they always stay with you, so that you remain humble and you always remember that you are not the only animal in this partnership. The doubt always remains, but as you progress and gain knowledge you can argue with your doubt. Perhaps that is wisdom.

  2. As I've said before, riding these other horses is really going to make you a better trainer for Izzy. You really conquered your anxiety this time, so next time will be easier.

    A little caution is better than overconfidence too, so there's nothing at all wrong with thinking it through before you put your foot in the stirrup.

  3. Good for you! You should be very proud of yourself for pushing through the fear - not an easy thing. I don't think it ever goes away but learning to work with it will make you a better rider for sure.

  4. You showed your fear who is boss today and that is a really big step. Good job!

  5. I have no idea if this relates to your life, but as an FYI, if you are taking an SSRI that can cause the anxiety you are talking about, too. If that is part of the problem, there are others that don't typically cause that (Welbutrin or Cymbalta come to mind).

  6. A little fear is a good thing. It's what keeps you safe and cautious. :D I think you're doing a fantastic job and as your coping skills get better and better, so will you. Keep up the great work!

  7. Good for you!!! I'm so glad you posted this - the next time you feel this fear, you can remember this post. Confidence builds on itself. Most people don't face their fears the way you are - it really is something to be proud of.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...