The majority of us will say to our teachers and coaches."I bet you're sick of telling me that so much.When am I going to learn?"We are so quick to blame ourselves and head out on that self destruct,confidence sapping stage.
The self destruct stage is a very very familiar one to me.There are many days I do not even want to get into the saddle for fear of drifting away from my goals rather than towards them.Things can quickly multiply into my convincing myself I should give it up.
But something makes me want to go back out there and DO IT AGAIN. So I do. Over and over again. It usually comes right eventually. Practice practice practice. Barby is my body guard. I have her with me whenever I really feel like I am in a mess. She has seen enough now that her eye is getting pretty sharp. She watches all my lessons. We CONSTANTLY watch videos and I show her pictures of riders and horses I want to emulate.The shape of everything is so important.So we work it out.
I am staging a personal comeback from my latest crash in Virginia last May. Peter Pan had done a lovely dressage test at the one star level, leaving him in a very good position.I made several very very big mistakes that day. My horse was having a VERY hard time with stabling and had managed to kick off both hind shoes, step on the clips and have a really rough night. It was very touch and go that we were even going to be able to compete on the Saturday. But a sleepless night and lots of hard work got us to the start box the next day. (I always say eventing is like going to war)Battling sore feet was a big enemy.
I think I put the possibility of " making the magazine" a bit before sensible riding. Peter felt well enough for me to put my foot on the gas peddle. I angled a nice hay rack jump and whacked it and crashed. I thought the time was going to be very hard to make. I was wrong about that. I did not need to hotshot it to that hay rack. I had a fairly bad crash resulting in six weeks out of the saddle.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Maybe this maybe that. Maybe it was the feet. Maybe I was greedy. Maybe it was bad luck.
Thankfully Peter bombed off and was no worse for wear. I finished the event on my darling Harry and went home one sore dog.
Now I am back riding and have been given the green light to go again with strict instructions not to fall off. GREAT. No pressure or anything.....I am obviously very keen to get back moving along as I am playing the qualification game. Another blog topic. I have huge goals with my devils. But the main thing is to RIDE WELL with these wonderful horses and climb the ladder sensibly.
When coming back from injury there are many stages.
First one has to get past the pain stage. The Ohhhh Ahhhhh make you pass out thing when you press to hard or stretch too far. Let pain be your guide I always say. It will stop you quick enough.
Once you can get past that and you start to get fit again. A different kind of pain sets in more like aching. That's just screaming muscles. We can ignore them a bit , stretch them out and get on with it. There's usually a bit of excess fatigue but the urgency to ride and get back going again wipes that out for me.
Then comes confidence. Well I don't want to mess it up again. The what if's.One has to push through pain and one has to really push through the lack of confidence stage.. Last year after having broken my leg jumping a corner I had real "corneritis" in the beginning.Ten thousand corners later I'm out of that stage..
Dressage hurt at first. I thought ugh.... Can't stand to sit the trot. Vertical impact. But it is Ok now.I am out of that stage.Down transitions were scary.
Peter Pan was almost un- rideable at the beginning. He actually made me feel he had the best of me with his bucking. I came very close to hiring a cowboy. He has settled now. Thank god he is out of that stage!
My first jumping school was conservative. "Good, no pain I thought."
My first cross country school was dodgy. I rode like a mouse and choked a lot. No can do at the level I intend to ride at. Answer......Jump more fences later on. Not all at once. I needed more work at that stage.
I watch DVDs constantly. Mary king and Apache Sauce are big favs of mine. I see Pickles in him and that is a great memory for me. Of course there are zillions more but I like Mary cause she loves her horses and the game the way I do. Very simple. And I see Pickles over and over..God how we miss him. The Dvds seem to enable me to see balance and how the other riders manage the jumps before them. Watching them repeatedly almost makes me feel as if I am riding .
Today I jumped again. I had Pickles and Apache Sauce there with me and I was very pleased with the way things went.I had my flow back.I am not yet ready to ride to the stage I was at before the crash ,but I am getting closer. I am two weeks out from my first competition. I chose to downgrade a level from where I was just to make sure I can manage all the parts of a competition with confidence and balance.There are so many stages at a horse trial. Then I am entered back at the Intermediate level again, aiming for two star.
We are on go....Harry is not a great fan of the heat. But he is hanging in there. Stay tuned and remember to hang in there when you are in a "rough" stage. The good ones are well worth it.Push through the bad for the good.It will come.