Two rides forward, one ride back

Or, in my case, it’s more like one ride forward, two rides back.

Yesterday I had a really wonderful lesson on Scooter, an adorable little roan pony whom you haven’t met yet. (I’ll probably be writing the lesson report tomorrow… I’ve been lazy about it, but tomorrow I have jury duty and thus will have no excuses!) It was a really nice confidence booster for me, especially because Scooter is exactly the type of ride I generally have trouble with.

Then today, feeling good about myself, I rode at work. Those two rides? Did not go so well. Today was one of those weird days where nothing you do seems to be right. I’m not talking things like not getting along with the horse, or anything like that – I’m talking stupid mistakes, like cantering on the wrong lead and posting on the wrong diagonal. (I CAN’T BELIEVE SOMEONE HAD TO POINT OUT TO ME THAT I WAS ON THE WRONG DIAGONAL? I felt like I was twelve years old.)

Artist's rendering of my riding abilities today.

Artist’s rendering of my riding abilities today.

Boss 1 and I had a talk while I was riding about what they expect when I’m exercising their horses (which was definitely not so much what happened today) and I know I have things to work on – even though today was kind of a freak day. (Today is also the day Boss 1 accurately named me “Energizer Bunny”, a phenomenon I have mentioned before.) I have a lot of opportunities here and I really want to take advantage of them, so it’s upsetting when I know I’m not performing to my full potential.

But out of this negativity there were a few good things: some of the clients at Work Barn had seen me ride, and they were all very complimentary about it. It was a little strange for me to accept it because I felt that I had had so much trouble, but it’s so nice to hear “You just have this wonderful seat on a horse!” and other such things when you’ve had a bad day. And after the day ended more, and I voiced some of my concerns to my boss and he said he was definitely confident that I would get there, and sooner rather than later. I think he could tell I was having a bad day and getting frustrated, but so far both bosses have been really supportive. (Another side note: they are great teachers. The very first time I rode for them they pinpointed some of my issues within minutes. I love it.)

What I really need to work on is quieting my mind and, by extension, body, so everything will slow down. I have a pretty dramatic ADHD diagnosis – just ask Kelsey how strongly it manifests; she probably has tons of stories 😉 – so having a ‘quiet mind’ is not exactly easy for me. My quiet brain is more like everybody else’s LOUD! brain and I think that absolutely translates to my riding. I may feel relaxed, relative to my normal state, but to the horse, I still read as quite keyed up. This is definitely something I need to work on, although… I’m not exactly sure how? I feel like when this can come, everything else will be much easier.

Today’s setbacks definitely hurt, but they’ve given me a lot to think about and work on in my riding. What do y’all do when your confidence takes a hit?

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2 thoughts on “Two rides forward, one ride back

  1. I think you’ve got a great outlook on this! We all have days where things just don’t seem to “click” into place like they usually do, but that doesn’t seem to be the norm for you and your bosses know that.
    My advice when this sort of thing starts to happen is to drill something you know you’re already good at- if you can sit like a badass on the bounciest pony’s trot, then you do some sitting trot. If you know how to get a nice square halt, you halt every half turn around the ring. Anything to remind yourself that yeah, you know what you’re doing! It always reassures me, and I think it reassures the horse too.
    I have absolutely no ideas for quieting your mind, but I’m hoping someone else does. I need that advice too 😉

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