I swear...if I could just disconnect my brain from my body when I rode, I would be SO much better.
I had my first lesson last night since my last thread (Super frustrated with myself...). I've been riding 2-3 times a week since that thread, but I've just been working and hacking horses, no actual lessons.
But last night I was back on Scooter.
I don't know what it is about that horse.
Or, I guess I do.
I don't have any confidence on him. I don't trust my eye when I ride him, which leads to me not being able to make and stick to a decision. I don't trust him to actually jump, even when I've set everything up right. It's been this way since I started riding him again, almost two years ago.
I guess it's understandable that I'm a little less comfortable on him - after all, I did have a pretty bad fall four years ago that more or less changed my life. (I actually just got Botox & am heading back in for yet another bout of physical therapy to try and fix what that fall did). Scooter is the only horse who has EVER been able to get me off from a refusal. I KNOW that he's not the dirty stopper that he was when I first started riding him, over 4 years ago, but it's still enough to make me kind of hold my breath and freak out every time we head to a jump.
But it makes me mad. I can deal with other horses - Gunner bolted and bucked with me so badly a few weeks ago that my trainer was shocked I stayed on, and I just laughed after I got him back to a walk. Billy can spook and do his silly little baby things and I'm completely fine. And yet...one refusal from Scooter, and I melt for the rest of the lesson. I hate it. I get tense and start overthinking things and then I lose whatever shred of confidence I may have had in my eye and it gets even worse.
This is what happens after a refusal (this was actually after I fell off and it's from 2010, but I still get tense like that and then my hands go to **** and it...bad)
Last night was...bad. Or good. I don't even know. We started off pretty well, until the jumps got bumped up to 2'6" (not sure why I have the mental block of 2'6" with him - I'll do that no problem on the green pony I work with, and I've done up to 3'6" on other horses without even thinking about it). We had a stop at the first jump because it was an oxar and I psyched myself out, and then once we finally got over that, we had waay too many refusals at the other end of the bending line, a skinny jump (you know how I feel about skinny jumps, haha)
Once I stopped focusing on the first oxar (I kept thinking to the skinny that I had to get over next), it was beautiful. I stayed with him and didn't plant my hands at his withers and we got a good distance every time. And then, once my trainer distracted me enough, I got over the skinny (though it was super awkward - we were supposed to get 7/8 strides down the line and got 9). So I mean, it was good that I finally manned up and rode him enough to get over all the jumps in one piece (also, I didn't fall off. Success?), but I'm still kind of frustrated that I get so worked up on him.
And the worst part is - he's not even THAT difficult of a ride. It's all me. He has his naught moments and does tend to back off on the approach, but he's a total sweetheart and will jump anything from anywhere as long as you tell him to go. The fact that he's blind in one eye doesn't deter him one bit from being a quick, agile jumper. Our refusals, our awkward distances and bad courses...they're all completely my fault.
Does someone want to teach me how to stop thinking when I ride? Haha. But seriously...I don't even know what to do, aside from ignoring my fear and continuing to ride him in the hopes that I don't a) fall off again, or b) have a panic attack.
On the plus side, my seat has gotten loads lighter in the past few months! I've been spending countless hours cantering Billy, this little green pony, around in a soft half seat and I think my increased core strength and balance is definitely transferring over to the rest of my riding. I'm feeling more secure over fences and have even taken to warming up in my lessons in a half seat, something I never used to do because I felt like I was tipping and perched quite precariously. So. That's good, I guess.