Monday, August 25, 2008

They Say Practice Makes Perfect

So, The Devils were good at last week's Jumping Branch combined test - their first outing of the fall season. Due to some minor drama the preceding week, we decided to drop Next Dance and Pickles from Preliminary to the Training level with Peter Pan. Peter stole the show and was second, Pickles 5th, and Harry (next Dance) was 6th. So a good start. Full Gallop is next to prep for the American Eventing Championships in September.

It's all well and good for me to ramble on about all the lessons, toture, and adventures in Paradise, but I thought you all may be interested in the other side of the goings on. Why do we do this day in and day out? This is a question I ask myself almost daily. Simple answer, because I love it. One of my favorite expressions I heard somewhere (can't remember when) is that we need to own the ride.We need to be able to own our nerves, own the track, own the size of stride. That means we need control. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Own the ride. I teach it all day long. Sometimes I teach it for 14 hours straight in a clinic situation, like last weekend. Over and over. I ride it over and over on other peoples horses without issue.

But...when I get on my own horses....different story. All of a sudden one gets weaker in the knees. Self doubt creeps in. Something doesn't feel quite right. Oh no......pressure.What's the countdown to the next competition? How many days do I have to get this sorted out?

At the moment I am feeling great about dressage. (of course, that could change at any time.) I am usually good in that department for about 2 weeks. But then I need another "fix" and I can go on again. Without my dose of "sit here, do that, move this" every two weeks, I would be a puddle of complete mush. I am so lucky to be able to get these fixes on 5, 6, or more different horses each time.

The other day, I was show jumping in my great ring with Barbie (the angel that helps me at home) and got to the end of my knowledge ladder with the horses. I set up an oxer for Riverdance to jump and got all mushy about it so I had to ask Barbie to put it down. I got to a CLEAR point. I needed help. For some reason, Show jumping is very difficult for me. It is far easier for me to gallop and jump natural banks, ditches and water than poles that fall down. Go fiqure.

I have gotten to the point where I am comfortable jumping them over some sizeable jumps. Point is, I dare not go any higher unsupervised. It is important for everyone to realize when they need help, advise or support. It is also very important for people to know that even people who ride all the time go to other riders to work on their respective STUFF! So tomorrow I am taking the troups for some Show Jumping lessons. Can't wait! I haven't jumped with anyone in a long time! One would think with all my preaching I would have this stuff all figured out by now. So off we'll go to seek ownership of many things. Mostly my nerves. Wish us luck!


Ann said...


Thanks for your honesty... it makes the rest of us feel alot better knowing that even the best riders need some tweaking too! Keep up the great work and good luck with the Devils this weekend!!

ladybugdraft said...

Thank you for your candor. It makes us "common folks" feel better to know that even a rider of your caliber can get a case of nerves. This is something I struggle with on a regular basis.
Love reading your blog!!