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Special moment between horse and rider

Touch and Go

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.

Miles Eye Closeup

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

Grumpy Miles Cantering

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

Special moment between horse and rider

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!


Fly On Over is an equestrian lifestyle blog devoted to connecting horse lovers around the world. By providing equestrians with practical tips and tricks related to horse ownership, discussing training techniques for horse and rider, as well as covering industry news.

13 thoughts on “Touch and Go

  1. I love your positive attitude. It’s so easy to get sucked up in nerves and negativity and let that creep out into our riding when really, we just need to accept where we’re at and learn from it.

    I’m glad you’re showing and I look forward to following your journey. 🙂

  2. Chin up, admitting where our fears lie and tackling them with help is the best recipe for success and positivity. You guys are going great and will have fun which at the end of the day is why we ammies do this shtick ☺

  3. I’m kind of at a similar place with showing Copper this year, I’m so nervous! I doubt we’ll show until Fall this year though because $$$, so I have time to think about anything but my nerves hahah

  4. Sounds like you have a great support system – a knowledgable trainer, a friend/working student and of course, Miles, who loves you! It doesn’t have to be perfect, just a place to start! 🙂 You’ve got this!

  5. Sounds like you really have a handle on your first-show-of-the-season nerves and are taking proactive steps to deal with it. =) Miles is lucky to have such a self-aware momma. You’re already ahead of last year.

  6. love your positive and honest attitude! i think you guys will be great – and there’s nothing wrong with adding a lower warm-up class or something like that if you want to really get the good feeling flowing!

  7. I am a very nervous rider and person in general, so I get it. I always try to pretend no one else is at the show and it’s just me and my horse, that really helps. Plus a lot can happen in 13 days, you’ll be ready : )

  8. Remember to breathe! I’m sure you guys will do great, try to visualize the perfect round in your mind whenever you start to get nervous/stressed 🙂

  9. I try to think about how it’s a good exercise to do any type of activity that has the possibility of making one’s self look like a complete fool (not that you ever would), but it’s like a way to intentionally humble yourself. Think of all the people in life who are “safe.” They never try great things, so they never accomplish great things. And at the end of the day, the victory is that you love your horse and you love riding and in going to a show you get to have a benchmark of your progress in working on your relationship together. And if the show isn’t stellar, just remember, in baseball a player batting .300 is considered strong. That means he is accomplishing something great only 1/3 of the time and the rest of the time he is “failing”, yet 1/3 success is still a mark of a solid player. You’re already winning.

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