Wednesday 12 March 2014

The Impossible is Possible

After a long warm up, tonight's lesson featured some more experienced riders and a slightly trickier course. We're still only talking 2' or so, but with a bounce, a two stride, and lots of bending lines. Checkers was feeling really good about life and kept it interesting for me! I won't blame her, though - after the very first over exuberant jump, and another approaching much too quickly for my liking, I pretty much went into panic mode and forgot anything I ever thought I knew about riding- and the course! Of course Checkers was thinking fetal position with clamping legs and droopy reins meant GO, and our first round was pretty embarrassing, even for me. We did it, but it wasn't pretty. Poor Checkers.

I had time to stew on that for a bit while the other riders took their turns. I was torn between being nervous, between telling myself I'll never be a good rider, and hating myself for both of those feelings. Fun times! Luckily, hating myself for being so ridiculous won out and I went out determined to make the second go a good one, if only to redeem some of Checkers' pride. So, we had a nice round. At this point, I won't win any prizes for style, but it felt smooth (and safe) and unlike the first round, I never once felt like we weren't on the same page and couldn't get it done.

I'm already feeling slightly torn about the instruction at this particular barn. The instructor spent the majority of the lesson talking to her friends, and sucking up to the one really experienced girl in the lesson (planning show schedules, etc). For now, I'm actually OK with it because 1. I really like Checkers and 2. At this point, I just need to get out there and ride and get some experience jumping.

I think with more 'intense' lessons, especially if I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed, the constant feedback can get me really burnt out and discouraged - I see it as a running commentary on all the things I'm doing wrong rather than being excited about improving those things. This particular instructor gives you a task ie a course of jumps and only steps in with major corrections if you're really having trouble or something unsafe is happening. Otherwise she's just super positive and encouraging. For now, I think that will work for me.

So, although tonight was a bit of a mixed bag and I could beat myself up like crazy for panicking and freezing up, I'm choosing to be proud of myself for getting past the initial nervousness and finishing on a good note, particularly when Ms Checkers wasn't quite as easy as the last time out.

Next lesson - Saturday. And, more importantly, visit to the Welsh breeder on Sunday. It's going to be a great weekend :)

This boy lives there - can't wait to meet him!


1 comment

  1. I'd be torn on the instruction too. It'd drive me crazy, honestly. But I do think Checkers is a good thing for you, and just time in the saddle with eyes on the ground is a good thing too. And that is a good looking Welsh Cob!