My first show of the season is 13 days away. My mental state regarding this fact is shaky at best; one minute I’m super excited, the next extremely nervous, followed by a pit in the bottom of stomach and a nagging voice saying “are you sure this is the best decision?” To combat my anxiety, I’m doing my best to get in rides and lessons, plus Trainer is working hard to re-install my confidence. Will it be enough — I guess only time will tell.
Two of my greatest strengths are my self-awareness and my open, honest communication. I know I’m nervous and lacking confidence, and I’m not afraid to pipe up and say so. So that’s how I started my lesson last night. When Trainer asked what each of us wanted to work on, I told her the truth. So we focused on coursework to gain some momentum and work on increasing my confidence. Because what it really all comes down to in the ring is me believing in myself. Miles is well-schooled, fit and loves to show; he won’t be the one holding us back. If I believe, he believes too. So we kept things simple, focusing on keeping my heels down and eyes up.
It’s my nature to want to focus on all the things that went wrong:
- Our trips didn’t feel smooth and polished
- I felt weak through my core and lower leg
- The jumps were only 2′-2’3″
- We didn’t get flying lead changes
- There were a few seriously hairy moments
I could go on and on, but those are the major points. When I think about all of those things, I feel really worried about our 2015 show ring debut. We’re not jumping high enough, we’re not even jumping outside and I’m riding like a sack of potatoes. What a great recipe for success! But instead of dwelling on all the things we still need to work on, I’m trying hard to move past that. First by setting expectations. I expect the first show to be challenging for me and Miles; I don’t expect to do well. My goal is to get around and do the numbers — this is a very doable goal. Second, my BFF and working student, Nichole, will be at the show with us. She’s already offered (well, more like volun-told) that she may or may not school my horse and show him all weekend if necessary. And finally, I need to remember the positives of our lesson:
- There were no scary distances to any fence
- We made the numbers down the lines
- I didn’t fall off when Miles got a little spicy
- I recovered well after our hairy moments
- Our simple lead changes were on point
In my heart, I know we can do this — because we’ve done it before. Remember Equivents September? Yeah, we showed 2’6″ and got the numbers. It was ugly, but we did it and if I can do the same thing at this first show of 2015, I’ll already be miles ahead of where I started last year. And that’s something to be proud of!