Finally making progress! :) - The Horse Forum
  • 2 Post By juniormylove
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-20-2012, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: On the banks of the Red Cedar...
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Finally making progress! :)

I actually haven't ridden in about a week and a half due to a nasty ear infection that brought me to my knees. However, I'm now on antibiotics and steroids and ear drops and I AM going to the barn today, even if it kills me!

But anyways.
I don't know if you remember, but I was having some serious confidence issues in my riding that were leaving me incredibly frustrated and disheartened...
Super frustrated with myself...
I think too much when I ride.


I finally swallowed my pride and talked to my trainer about it...sort of. I definitely didn't tell her about the panic attacks and being near tears and stuff...but I let her know that I had NO confidence in my eye and was started to assume Scooter was going to stop...

So we kept it simple. Really, really simple. The first half of the lesson was spent just cantering one itty bitty 2' vertical, focusing on letting the distance come to me and NOT opening my hip angle on the approach (bad habit left over from Fry's box of crazy, I think). Then we moved on to a very simple "course" of two single jumps and one line.

Once I managed to stop overloading my mind with everything that could go wrong, it was really, really nice. As nice that my trainer snuck some of the jumps up on me when I wasn't looking. By the end of the lesson, I was doing 3' on Scooter. Without any stops.

That has NEVER happened before. The only other time the jumps hit 3' with him, I fell off and landed on my head. But...not only did we get over 3', but we actually looked kind of nice! I actually trusted my eye on him and rode for distances, and since I didn't drop him at the base, he jumped!

Then, in the lesson after that, I jumped Scooter 3' AGAIN. Granted, it was in a small gymnastic line, but I'm still happy! I saw her put the jumps up, knew they were set at 3', and I didn't let my fear stop me from jumping through it. We had one stop that lesson, which I think makes me happier than jumping 3' because I DIDN'T MELT. He stopped, we came back to it, and I kept my leg on and got us through the gymnastic line, even though it was awkward and he was sucking back (poor old man didn't realize it was a gymnastic until a few strides out ahaha - i think it startled him).

My trainer told me that the way I rode in that lesson was the best she's ever seen me look on Scooter, in all the years I've ridden with her I think it finally clicked that I can keep my hip angle at a reasonable angle and not fall off if he does happen to die out, haha. Better yet, I think I finally realized that I CAN stop him from refusing a fence :)

In the grand scheme of things, a few 3' jumps isn't a HUGE accomplishment, but I'm still proud. I'll admit that I was kind of upset when I first started riding Scooter in my lessons - he was old(er), small(er), and not a horse I'd had to ride for a few years. Not to mention the fact that I had several deep-seated mental blocks pertaining to him and his formerly dirty stops. However, the past few months on him have certainly brought my ego down and my skill level up. He's a complete sweetheart, and even being 17 yrs old and blind in one eye, is teaching me more about being a rider vs. a passenger than I would have ever expected.

I'll also admit that I was feeling a bit pissy about being stuck at the "small" jumps while the girls I rode with (who are probably some of the best riders in the barn) were moving up with their horses to 3', 3'6", 4'. However, I kind of let that go and realized that they don't care that I don't jump as big or fast as them. They're amazingly supportive and after my first 3' course a few weeks ago, they spent the rest of the night congratulating me and telling everyone at the barn how awesome it was :) We've also taken to reading over George Morris' book like it's the bible, sitting in various stalls with horses and debating over lateral aids vs. diagonal aids :p

I'm sure I'll have bad rides again, but I think I really needed these lessons to prove to myself that I am capable of riding through my fear.

I love my barn. I love the riders, horses and trainers. *sigh* Of course my trainer and the barn owner leave on Saturday to take the big guys down to Ocala for a month of showing, and I'm not entirely sure who I'll be riding with...but still. It's all good.

Also, I really need to get someone to record me riding some time soon. The most recent video I have of Scooter and I is from last January :p My hip angle issue is SO prominent here!

Also, we're rather unphotogenic.

So. Yeah. Sorry for the novel, but for the first time in a long time, I'm really excited about riding and actually see myself progressing! Thank you, Scooter!

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
John Lennon

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post #2 of 3 Old 02-26-2012, 12:44 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Southern California
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it is our job as riders to tell our trainers how we feel about our riding, and it is then our trainers job to helps us in such a way that will keep us moving forward in our riding careers. My trainer yesterday said to me and the girl that was lessoning with me: "we are not moving on to another jump, until someone can see a distance to the beginning fence! I CANNOT ride the distance for you, girls!!!" We both woke up and began to RIDE to the fence and the distance worked itself out.

I will say however, that it's a little rough having to learn and take lessons on a horse that "dirty stops". No matter what the case is, and no matter how much work you put in, it is dreadfully hard to get past the feeling that he/she will slam on the breaks at any moment.
But anyway, I think you did great by telling your instructor how you were feeling. As well as being able to set aside some of your own emotional baggage so that your TOUGH INNER RIDER could come out!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-28-2012, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: On the banks of the Red Cedar...
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Thank you :) Riding the stoppers definitely led to a few issues with my seat, haha.

I'm actually riding with a different trainer for the next month or so while my trainer is competing at HITS and this trainer has no clue about my issues with Scooter. We've had one lesson and I am SO proud of myself, because even with a trainer who wasn't sensitive to my issues, we still had a fantastic lesson!

I think I've finally learned how to ride for a rhythm vs. actively searching and pushing for a distance. Now that I focus mostly on what our stride is doing, the jumps are coming much easier and I'm finding it less stressful to see when I need to lengthen or shorten up. We did have one stop at 3', but that was because I waited 1/2 a stride too long to ask for a move and Scooter wasn't gonna jump from the very base. We did do the rest of the 3' jumps without a problem though, even when some of them caught me off guard! (this trainer likes to sneak 'em up when I'm not looking haha)

I shortened my stirrups a hole a few weeks ago, and I feel SO much more secure now. It's easier to keep my leg on Scooter (i'm 5'9" and he's a 15.3 tb lol) and I don't get left behind over jumps. The whole keeping my leg on thing is working out well - I managed to push Scoot through a few sticky spots AAAND, possibly my proudest moment of all...we took a long spot. Like, a really, really long spot that my trainer was surprised Scooter went at. At 3'. I saw it coming and didn't melt :p This is exciting.

Of course, now that I've been doing well on Scooter, they're looking for someone else for me to ride. He maxes out at 3' so I'm kind of reaching the limit of where we can go (also he's getting up there in age so I don't think they like him to be doing the 3' courses in all of his lessons). I got word that I might be switched to Player for the next month or so, which could be quite interesting. He's an absolute brat on the ground (bites, kicks, hates other horses), but from what I've heard is really, really nice over fences and could potentially take me to 3'6". I guess we'll have to see!
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A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.
John Lennon

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