Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Training My Confidence

Every day is a new day, every ride is a new chance.
As we all know, I was originally trained as a balanced/hunter rider (I know that sounds like an oxymoron these days). The foundation that Kim built for me gave me the opportunity and the mindset that I can get on anything and make it work. It wasn't bravery, it was that every horse is different and with every ride you get a blank slate. It doesn't matter about yesterday, it's what happens today. Ride the horse you have to get the horse you want. That always stuck with me when I rode for other people and it really helped with starting B back. What I didn't ever learn, was how to show.

I know that sounds stupid but I only showed a handful of times at a local rated show with LB and it was all politics and favorites. No real training opportunities (that I realized until now). Just walk, trot, canter around the ring and maybe you'll place. I did some little fun gymkhanas as well but other than that? Not too much show experience... But I never stopped riding and working towards new things with LB and grabbing any horse I had the opportunity to ride. We started jumping a little over a cross-rail or two, but riding a course? No experience, until now.

The biggest thing with Brantley is that when I was doing all the ground work I made it a goal to be able to send him left and right, back and forward... After that, the next step was obviously up and over. I can send this horse through and over almost anything (still working on the self-loading) from a trot or a walk. He'll even jump over something from a stand still. So when it came to throwing my barrel saddle on and hitting the trails, jumping was a cinch (pun totally intended)! Fallen tree? Broken log? Small child (kidding)? Psh, we got this. So when Elana set up a couple ground poles and then a 2' jump... BOOM! Easy right? We got this.
What I felt like at my lesson...
How I feel on the trails...

Then today A set up a course... Not just ground poles. Like vertical jumps and a cross-rail or two... Then moved it up to that 2' foot we mastered.

Wait wait wait... Let's go back a step. Did I mention I was wearing breeches, tall boots, and gloves... Yes. I know. I feel like A has seen me naked. In my weakest state. Brave cowgirl was gone. All of a sudden I road my horse differently. I gripped my reins like I was going to die... I questioned B's approach and he refused... I asked him to canter and he threw his head up and refused to go forward (something he NEVER does). We were a MESS! MMEEESS!!! A didn't even know what was going on. I couldn't explain to her in words. All I knew was that it was me... AAALLLL me. I couldn't get comfortable and once I started riding around the course I wouldn't breathe.


Today... I felt like this.
I kept going back and thinking about how good/horrible the previous jump was instead of just leaving it and looking at the next one so my simple changes weren't bad, they were non-existent. It was like I never rode before, or at least felt like it. We were not communicating at all. This is me and B we're talking about too.

Next thing you know I'm yelling out my strides, "1! 2! 1! 2!" I started breathing... I started letting go through the jump and letting him take care of me. I focused on just riding and not getting in his way.

BREATHING IS AN AMAZING THING!

My confidence was shot. When I'm all in my hunter/jumper get-up I feel like an ass. Trying to jump my horse and focusing on doing things "right" way instead of what I know works for us... Dumb. I don't need to hold his hand. He's got all the confidence in the world, as long as I have it to. I have to remember the way I ride, remember what we've done and what he knows. It's what he appreciates that makes me a better trainer/rider. We're a team and whatever I give to him, he'll give back.

A was a HUGE help because she's seen what we've been through and knows what we can do together. I'm always okay with blaming myself when it's the right thing to do, and it's good to have a friend who will say, "You're right, fix it and just breathe".

3 Comments:

At August 19, 2014 at 11:53 PM , Blogger L.Williams said...

How you feel in hunter clothes = how I feel in a western saddle. Naked. Letting go of the previous jump is hard. I've been showing a long time and letting go is the thing I struggle with and it totally messes you up. It's all a mental game. You've got it though just more practice and you can conquer it all.

 
At August 21, 2014 at 4:54 PM , Blogger Madeline C. said...

So this is the third time I've tried to reply... Grrr... But thank you for your support! I'll need it next weekend. A's reaction to the "Now you've seen me naked" statement was priceless. I literally sing now when I ride in my hunter-mode so I think about that instead.

 
At August 22, 2014 at 9:06 AM , Blogger Comic Book Chronicles said...

Remember when we were in the indoor and you told me to sing? Same concept right? You'll get there and counting or yelling out your strides is really an awesome tool to help you with getting out of your head of what is right and what is wrong. Let it goooooooo let it gooooo xoxox

 

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http://www.controlhaltdelete.com/ Tear Drop Winken: Training My Confidence

Training My Confidence

Every day is a new day, every ride is a new chance.
As we all know, I was originally trained as a balanced/hunter rider (I know that sounds like an oxymoron these days). The foundation that Kim built for me gave me the opportunity and the mindset that I can get on anything and make it work. It wasn't bravery, it was that every horse is different and with every ride you get a blank slate. It doesn't matter about yesterday, it's what happens today. Ride the horse you have to get the horse you want. That always stuck with me when I rode for other people and it really helped with starting B back. What I didn't ever learn, was how to show.

I know that sounds stupid but I only showed a handful of times at a local rated show with LB and it was all politics and favorites. No real training opportunities (that I realized until now). Just walk, trot, canter around the ring and maybe you'll place. I did some little fun gymkhanas as well but other than that? Not too much show experience... But I never stopped riding and working towards new things with LB and grabbing any horse I had the opportunity to ride. We started jumping a little over a cross-rail or two, but riding a course? No experience, until now.

The biggest thing with Brantley is that when I was doing all the ground work I made it a goal to be able to send him left and right, back and forward... After that, the next step was obviously up and over. I can send this horse through and over almost anything (still working on the self-loading) from a trot or a walk. He'll even jump over something from a stand still. So when it came to throwing my barrel saddle on and hitting the trails, jumping was a cinch (pun totally intended)! Fallen tree? Broken log? Small child (kidding)? Psh, we got this. So when Elana set up a couple ground poles and then a 2' jump... BOOM! Easy right? We got this.
What I felt like at my lesson...
How I feel on the trails...

Then today A set up a course... Not just ground poles. Like vertical jumps and a cross-rail or two... Then moved it up to that 2' foot we mastered.

Wait wait wait... Let's go back a step. Did I mention I was wearing breeches, tall boots, and gloves... Yes. I know. I feel like A has seen me naked. In my weakest state. Brave cowgirl was gone. All of a sudden I road my horse differently. I gripped my reins like I was going to die... I questioned B's approach and he refused... I asked him to canter and he threw his head up and refused to go forward (something he NEVER does). We were a MESS! MMEEESS!!! A didn't even know what was going on. I couldn't explain to her in words. All I knew was that it was me... AAALLLL me. I couldn't get comfortable and once I started riding around the course I wouldn't breathe.


Today... I felt like this.
I kept going back and thinking about how good/horrible the previous jump was instead of just leaving it and looking at the next one so my simple changes weren't bad, they were non-existent. It was like I never rode before, or at least felt like it. We were not communicating at all. This is me and B we're talking about too.

Next thing you know I'm yelling out my strides, "1! 2! 1! 2!" I started breathing... I started letting go through the jump and letting him take care of me. I focused on just riding and not getting in his way.

BREATHING IS AN AMAZING THING!

My confidence was shot. When I'm all in my hunter/jumper get-up I feel like an ass. Trying to jump my horse and focusing on doing things "right" way instead of what I know works for us... Dumb. I don't need to hold his hand. He's got all the confidence in the world, as long as I have it to. I have to remember the way I ride, remember what we've done and what he knows. It's what he appreciates that makes me a better trainer/rider. We're a team and whatever I give to him, he'll give back.

A was a HUGE help because she's seen what we've been through and knows what we can do together. I'm always okay with blaming myself when it's the right thing to do, and it's good to have a friend who will say, "You're right, fix it and just breathe".