Thursday, August 7, 2014

Confidence and Time. Again.

Look who's growing neck muscles!
I know I've talked on her ad nauseum about confidence. Rider confidence, horse confidence, jumping confidence, all that stuff. You're probably sick and tired of hearing about it, but here I am again.

I know I talked about how our deerleaping lesson in May derailed Courage's confidence and it took a long time to get it back. I haven't really talked about what it did for me. Honestly, it put me right back where I was after my wreck with my mare.

Work that sexy trot
It's so frustrating to deal with confidence issues just because they're not necessarily logical and you can't really just power through them. Until you address the actual, real physical fear you're facing, you can't move forward.

At least I've been here before, I guess, so I made some different choices this summer. I put Redheadlins in the tack for several jumps sessions. We did baby grid work and then even more baby grid work. I know when my confidence is totally shot and I know that sometimes I need Courage to be bvrave enough (or at least broke enough) for both of us. I've definitely been putting in the flat work miles, and it does show.

I like this.
Which brings us back around to jumping, since I have zero interest in a dressage career. (Dear god. The boredom.) It's actually kind of great to have Prisoner around for this part, just because it takes all the pressure off of me and the gerbils in my brain.

At this point, I know I can ride well. I know my horse can jump well. That's not the problem. The problem is that when I see a "big" (totally relative term) jump, my brain immediately freezes and goes "DEER LEAP OF DEATH AND BROKEN BONES AND PAIN AND NO NO NO". You could argue it's not a logical response, but A) it kind of is, given my history, and B) it's my response. Logic is irrelevant to a discussion of fear.

How great does my horse look?
So instead of trying to just power through, I'm breaking it down. Courage and I spent last week doing little cavalettis. Today, I set a course of ridiculously tiny Prisoner-appropriate jumps. They all looked so tiny even to me that I was totally comfortable booting Courage over them if he decided to be naughty.

And we jumped them. Over and over. It was good--I got to work on my ride and my position and he just toodled along like he can do over teeny jumps.

I can be brave over this right now.
It is so frustrating to be back in this rut, but I can't focus on that. I'm at square one, building up calm, positive experiences so I can move forward. It's not about my horse and what he's capable of. It's about our partnership, learning, growing, and having fun together.

The best at taking his time.
I don't want to jam myself and my horse around a 3' course and be terrified. I'd far rather jump 2'6" (or 2') and have a brilliant time. The height will come with confidence. The confidence comes from experience. The experience comes from time.

I guess it's a mixed blessing that I can't afford to his the lesson/show circuit--I can just jump my tiny fences and then raise them when I'm comfortable. Take away the pressure, and I know I can do this.

Just give me time.


  1. You can't talk about time and confidence enough, honestly. I've been through the same things in the past, and all your posts resonate with me.
    You have all the time in the world to get it right and have fun :)

  2. Right on! I've been where you are right now, and in some ways am still working my way out of it. You are on the right track! There's no such thing as 'pushing through' fear... only building confidence a little bit at a time. You can do this. :)

  3. It's all about trust. You guys are just building a relationship, and learning to trust and have confidence in each other's decisions. Honestly, I'm always impressed at your ability to take a breath and figure out that you need to take a step back and reestablish confidence.

  4. Trumbull Mountain posted in their newsletter a quote that sums up what you are doing! Denny Emerson was paraphrased here, “Boldness comes from confidence, confidence comes from success, so it`s the trainer`s job to create situations that guarantee success.” You're the trainer of both Courage AND you - you're on the right track! Also, this article encouraged me as well - It's not that you need to learn to jump (obviously you know how) it's about building confidence. I second Austen here - very impressed with your ability to step back.

  5. FWIW, I spent a solid 6 to a year of lessons doing cross rails and tiny verticals. Being in a lesson program doesn't/shouldn't mean jamming around big jumps.

  6. If a trainer is pushing you to jump things you don't want to/aren't comfortable with, you're with the wrong trainer. Trainers should give you specific, pointed, constructive advice on how to get more out of yourself and your horse, within your comfort zone. They'll know when you're both ready to step forward and push the boundaries, even a teeny bit - because you'll be asking to do more. And they'll know when you're not - because you'll tell them you're not feeling ready for that yet. Lessons are what you make of them.

  7. It will probably benefit you down the road - to spend all this time jumping little things and work on flat work. Lots of grids and lateral work. You will slowly regain your confidence.

  8. You're totally right. You have no need to rush, so don't push yourself or Courage faster than you need to go. If you want to play with baby jumps, HAVE FUN! You'll move up when you're ready and then that will be fun, too.

  9. Your self awareness is such a blessing. And I agree with other comments - can't talk enough about confidence and time, since everyone can relate! Also, perhaps consider riding in a safety vest. It helps me feel more confident, more prepared, and of course safer.

  10. Preach it. There is no logic in confidence. I'm working on exactly the same stuff now and it's hard. Even though I KNOW Dandy has consistently rocked around Novice with JLE, I'm still nervous that he won't go over a little 2'3 fence. So lots of little stuff that is not scary. Rinse and repeat. And then, one thing at a time, we're adding in the scary stuff. Rinse and repeat.

  11. I concur, time time time, confidence is such a freaking fickle thing, drives me up a wall and every other person that sits on a horse. So don't apologize for addressing it again, we all need it. And it helps to know that we aren't alone in the fear vs. confidence struggle. Keep up the good work!

  12. I adore the color coordination! I also totally feel you on this confidence issue. Again and again I've had it shattered since 2010 and our fateful crash through stadium. And then in 2012 I fell off at a show on XC and then at the next one had 3 refusals...aaaaaand that was the last time we showed recognized.
    I still can't get over the fear of refusals and falling and unlike you, don't really know where to start.
    Fear is a fickle thing.

  13. There is no rush, there is no timeline, just go at your own pace. He looks fantastic

  14. Confidence is so powerful and yet fragile. A foundation should be strong, not rushed. Good on you for doing it right.

  15. I think you're making all the right choices. Do something until it becomes so easy that you're bored with it and then take the gradual next step. You'll get further in the long run. As always, you guys look great!

  16. You can never write about confidence too much - it's something we all struggle with. I'm in the same place now. Ridiculously talented horse, deer leaps knocking our confidence, back to 60cm jumps when we have done 1.20m. I see it as an opportunity to fix technique and style; height will come naturally to horses this talented. You can't rush jumping. There are some things you have to grit your teeth and ride out - like many buckers, for example - but not jumping.
    Courage looks amazing and your position looks amazing! There's a lot to be proud of right there.

  17. Confidence is the most fickle of friends, once broken it remains fleeting as the gremlins are quick to sneak back.
    Time is the best counterbalance to this and the more miles clocked in the saddle can only be good for you guys in the long run.
    C-rage looks fabulous as always - you guys are rocking it. Keep up the great work ☺

  18. Gaahhhhh, riding is SUCH a mental game! I completely understand where you're coming from, and I think recognizing that you're in this 'rut' is half the battle. Riding horses is a marathon, not a sprint (apologies for the lame and cliche analogy), which means that there's absolutely NOTHING wrong with staying at 2'6" (or 2') for as long as you want/need. What's most important is that you and Courage trust each other 100%, and it seems that you guys are there. Your position looks really great in those pictures, and C-rage is just doin his thang over those jumps. Even tiny progress is still progress, and I'm excited to watch you and Courage grow together :)

  19. I agree, why push you and/or your horse and lose confidence rather than work on gaining it. Once you jump the little stuff, everything else becomes pie. That's one thing I like about not really knowing too much about jumping because that extra 4"? I really can't tell unless I'm standing next to it. You guys look really great. Keep truckin'! It all pays out in the end.

  20. Love the part about it being your fear. People's fear perceptions are so different, and who are we to judge others? I'm not afraid of fence height, or breaking myself. I'm afraid of embarrassing myself in front of an audience at shows. Stupid fear, but it's mine.

    Courage looks the cutest over tiny jumps, and soon he'll look the cutest over giant jumps.

  21. I feel you on the frustrated part! It gets old... quick. I'm glad you are breaking it down and taking it slow. That's the smart thing to do. Courage looks great!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...