Last night my trainer was catching up on some horse care so she had the BO/other trainer jump us. I always get super stressed when I ride with him, mostly 'cause he's this grumpy old man who sounds angry ALL THE TIME. I don't know...he just always puts me on edge.
My lesson was terrible. Absolutely horrific. I was fine over little 2'6" warm up jumps (he even complimented my riding on getting/going with the long spots) but then he had us work a combination line and it went downhill. The line was a 3 stride to a 1 stride, with all 3 jumps being oxars. I was riding Scooter, a horse I've always had minor confidence issues with (mostly because he's one of very few horses who've been able to get me off).
We came to it and had a refusal at the second jump like, 3 times in a row. It was completely my fault - I needed to keep my hands soft and my leg on and I didn't. In order to accommodate the big guys, it's kind of a long 3 to a long 1 (so it's a short-ish 3-1 for Hop and Ali and Gunner), and I've always been wary about riding for long distances, and so I'd stop riding and drop my hands.
And of course, each time Scooter stopped, the BO would yell at me. He's an amazing trainer and I love riding with him because he teaches SO differently from my normal one, but I kept feeling so STUPID. We had two more refusals at the first jump of the combination because then I stopped trusting my eye all together, and at one I was THIS close to coming off. I was completely out of the saddle and just managed to grab enough mane to pull myself back up. Finally the BO had me grab a dressage whip to help Scooter along, which was a TERRIBLE idea. Scooter's a super sensitive horse and the second I touched him with the whip, he more or less bolted with me. So then we were trying to do it and I felt like I had no control (and the BO kept yelling at me because I missed a few distances because Scooter was running through my hands because I had a dressage whip that the BO made me get...ugh).
I finally did get through the combination, but I felt like I had no control and was visibly pinching with my knee (as my friend pointed out to me). *sigh* It was all a confidence thing - Scooter'll go through whatever you tell him as long as you TELL him. I just have no confidence in my eye when I'm on him, for whatever reason.
It's weird though, that I feel like I can't handle him, because he SHOULD be an easy horse to ride. And I don't have confidence issues when I deal with other things.
Like, after my disastrous lesson, I got on Billy. He's a very very green pony who is terrified of the mounting block. I spent 10 minutes coaxing him up and once I managed to get on, I had no problem sitting there and staying calm while he tried to rear and spin and bolt with me. In fact, my trainer offered to have me hop off and lunge him and I refused because I could handle it.
AND THEN...I hack my trainer's jumper sometimes, and he's INSANE. I was on him for less than 5 minutes on Monday before he tried to get me off. The first time, he spooked and bolted with me and I didn't feel nervous at all. He also bucked (and his bucks are HUGE) and took off with me while we were cantering.
I didn't have any sort of confidence issues coming through the combination when I rode Bling, who's still green and prone to throwing big bucks when he gets frustrated. Even when he was throwing his shoulder out and diving around the jumps I wasn't nervous (just mad, which made me ride better).
How is it that I can handle everything horses throw at me except for when it involved combinations and skinny jumps?! UGH. I was so frustrated with myself in that lesson that I felt like crying. I feel like such a bad rider when I can't even get a schoolmaster through a 2'6" combination (and there's an angry old man in the background yelling about how you "just can't fix stupid").
*sigh* For once I'm not riding during the week, so my next lesson isn't until Friday, meaning that I have almost an entire week to obsess over this failure of a lesson and doubt my ability to ride even more.
This is the horse I'm talking about. He's a total sweetheart and it makes me mad that I can't seem to ride him effectively.
*sigh* In other news...does anyone have tips to nip this knee-pinching thing in the bud before it can grow into a huge problem?