Super frustrated with myself...
I am SO frustrated with myself.
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?
First off, I totally understand what you are feeling. And you need to tell yourself that it's okay. I am much like you. My Arab can buck, spin, rear, etc and I will stay on and just ride it out. But some horses I'm just not okay with. I got on this medium sized horse, a very been there done that horse, and about cried I was so uncomfortable. Some horses just don't work for you.
And I know the feeling about long distances. I had a horse that had a rather short stride and my sister's horse had a HUGE stride. So, of course, grids or combinations are set up for her horse. It was easily one of the scariest things in my entire life. It's terrible knowing you WILL hit a long stride. You know it's uncomfortable and it makes you scared. I get it.
However, no matter how scared you are, you need to have some trust in your trainer. When I'm scared I force myself to put on a face and ride like I know what the heck I'm doing. I have a fair amount of trust in my trainers. I know they wouldn't ever ask me to do something my horse or I couldn't do. And I think you need to work that out within yourself. Have a "conversation with yourself" when you get into these scary moments and tell yourself, force yourself to believe, your trainer wouldn't ask you to do something he didn't think you could do. Which, trust me I know, it one of the hardest things to do in this world.
As far as pinching with your knees... I've got nothing for you :) other than you need to be actively thinking about it as you come up to the jump.
Just my two cents. :) Good luck and keep working at it. You are not a bad rider because you have some issues to work out. Every rider in this whole world has issues atop a horse. You aren't alone :)
Unfortunately there are always going to be trainers that have the 'I don't need you, you need me' attitude.
I wouldn't give up hope, but your lesson probably went down hill from your frustration. Its hard, but you need to turn it in to a positive.
If riding was easy, we'd all be at the olympics ;D
Keep it up though, you're a braver rider than me. You just need to turn what people say in to constructive criticism and attempt not to let it effect your riding x
I must credit my BO for dealing with me very well when I melted, hahaha. He yelled at me and made me feel stupid, but that's just how he is to everyone (I doubt it's intentional). If it was up to me, I would have dropped all the jumps and tried it at the lower level and the quit :o but he wouldn't change them...he just kept pushing me and then when I finally got through it, he was like, "That was nice! DO IT AGAIN." before he let me be done with the lesson :roll:
Thats GOOD though.
I am the sort of rider that if I melt and the trainer says we'll call it a day I wouldn't progress. If a trainer blames me, tells me I'm wrong, it makes me work harder to improve whilst muttering under my breath. BUT at the end of the day you got what you went to achieve and he's not a complete dragon ;D
Saying that, I once was jumping in a field and I jumped a rustic, went in to the trees at the back, accidently jumped six stacked tyres and scraped the knees off my jhods so I was made to jump it again and again till I pulled up correctly. It didn't happen, I hit a tree and broke three ribs xD And still had to get on and jump something else!
what do you mean that you're pinching with your knees?
No, I agree. I'm kind of glad I was riding with Tim for my meltdown, because my normal trainer has too much compassion, lol. She would have dropped the jumps for me if I'd asked (both are still amazing, though). I think the different is that one is a 60-something year old man, and one is a girl in her early 20's. :-P Both are awesome and have been extremely successful as riders and I trust their judgment...it's just hard to put what they're saying into action sometimes.
ohhh, okay. i was taught to grip with my thighs and knees, but to hold my lower leg still
Just actively tell yourself to stretch down.
Also I noticed that when you were approaching jumps.. your arms were so stretched forward and the reins were smacking the sides of his neck/his shoulder. If he's pulling you you need to use that leg more and soften in his mouth (play with that bit till he gives)
I think you're doing great though!! Sometimes though trainers can get a little too intense so you need to make sure you keep your emotions in check, get it done calmly as best as you can, and love on your horse like crazy (and yourself!) when you get it down :)
You'll get it!!! You're so close!
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