Some days you just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, nothing goes wrong, but nothing really goes right either. That’s how my day on Monday was and unfortunately my weird, awkward mood followed me to the barn. As an adult amateur, sometimes stress at work or family problems bleed into my barn time (and even worse) my riding time. I do my best to let my emotions go and focus on the moment: each clip-clop of my horse’s hooves in the dirt and each breath I take in a downward transition. But I’m not always successful at this endeavor. On Monday, I was just in a funk… I had lost my riding mojo.
I told my trainer as much as soon as I mounted up, and said I wanted to practice confidence. With show season coming up, I’m getting anxious which leads to self-defeating thoughts. I obsess over all the things I haven’t done and how far we still need to go, instead of thinking about how far we’ve come in the last few months. Trainer’s solution was simple: just jump the jumps. There wasn’t anything complicated set up, and she kept the fences low (2′ to 2’3″).
We sucked at first, and I couldn’t even find a distance trotting to a crossrail. I laughed it off, and loudly pronounced to the entire group lesson “welcome to amateur hour!” But the more we went, the better we got. I never really rode the landing side of the jumps, and my lower leg wasn’t as solid as I’d like. I made some mistakes on distances, and didn’t shape a few turns very well. And yet, we survived. And that, my friends, is a big deal for me.
In fact, the crowning achievement of the lesson was actually our worst moment. Miles and I came off a diagonal and I turned the corner too sharply. He tried to do a lead change, but his toe got stuck in the dirt and he got mad about it. He did his typical evasion: he threw his head down and did a little crow hop. This is the maneuver that has caused all of our issues and typically ends with me in the dirt. But on Monday, I stretched up, pulled Miles up and kept going. It helped that Miles gave up pretty quickly, but I STAYED ON. And I corrected his behavior! We circled and continued our course, which all flowed just fine.
It wasn’t a groundbreaking lesson, and I didn’t ride my best. But Miles and I worked together and got it done. And that helps my mojo immensely.