I have a confession to make. I, Olivia, was a total weenie.
I cried my way through horse shows, refused to jump anything higher than 2’6″ because I was convinced my (incredibly well-trained and quiet) horse might spook at it, and generally was the most frustrating client ever. My poor trainer.
When I started up lessons again, I planned on taking things very slowly- I would maybe trot a little in my first lesson, work our way up to cantering a few weeks later, and then a couple months down the road we could maybe tackle a crossrail. After all, I knew what a weenie I was.
But somehow, I jumped a full 2’6″ course in that first lesson. And in the lessons since, I’ve been asking my new trainer to put the jumps higher. I’ve been asking if I can try that course again. My pulse has been racing not because I’m terrified, but because I’m so excited to challenge myself.
3’3″ oxer? Bring it on! Rollback to a rolltop? Sounds like a party!
What on earth has changed? I have a few theories.
- Mom and Dad aren’t paying for this anymore. I’m a fairly practical person, and we all know that this sport don’t come cheap. It’s hard to justify taking time out of my lesson to be scared when I can see my bank account draining. Cynical? Maybe. True? Definitely.
- I’m a grown-up now (what?!). I have a lot more sympathy for my trainer now than I did when I was a kid, simply because I understand more how much hard work she puts into teaching. I shouldn’t expect her to be my therapist as well as my riding instructor.
- The pressure is off. I’m planning on showing soon, but I’m not worried about chasing points, or qualifying for a medal, or winning. I’m doing this because despite my weenie-ness this has always been my passion, and I’d rather be at the barn than any other place on earth.
- I trust myself more. I know how to sit a buck and control a galloping horse. At some point I will not, and I will fall off, and that will be OK. But I have the tools and the technique to handle a lot. I’ve learned to trust those skills to carry me through a ride safely.
I think all of these play a part, but there’s always that X-factor that I’ve never been able to articulate to my non-horsey friends. How do you explain that feeling when you and your horse just “click” and you can fly around that course? How do you describe the smell of snuffly nose kisses? Whatever that X-factor is, it is something that I need. And no matter why or how or where this confidence came from, I’m just glad to be back in the saddle.
Now, let’s see how high Addy and I can go…