The Roller Coaster of a Rider’s Emotions- I’m on an Upswing Again

Maryann and I were supposed to have a lesson at noon today but she backed out because her dog was sick (he’ll be okay) and it was predicted to be above 90 deg, so riding any later was out of the question.  But my lesson was anything but lonely.  There were Pony Club kids everywhere, which only solidified my belief in PJ, who didn’t bat an eye at all of the activity and near collisions.

The long-and-low method seems to be the way to go in getting PJ to move.   We even cantered long-and-low and he was great.  Once he was moving, we worked on leg yield and almost got some crossing.  Progress!

At the end of my lesson I told Barbara my reservations about PJ and me.  She told me that while she originally thought I was crazy for choosing a (then) coming 5-yo, Friesian-Saddlebred cross from far away in CA, she now couldn’t think of a more perfect horse for me.  I can get him to work and once he’s moving he looks good and we should score well at the shows if we ride like we can at home.  She said he doesn’t back me down at all, which helps me get the job done – I’m not afraid of his reaction when I need to get after him.  I understood that because horses take advantage of hesitation more than any other rider mistake; I’ve been scared of other horses I’ve ridden and that’s when the problems came in.

She said regarding my riding, the only thing I can do is to keep looking in the mirrors and making adjustments as I see them.  That’s the best anyone can do.  She also said I should not set myself up for failure.  Specifically, we were talking about going to shows.  I was considering going to a recognized show.  She thought that was a bad idea because they are high stress environments and you should show a level below what you are schooling at home.  Stress can impact an otherwise perfect rider-horse combination.  She thought it would be better if we waited to show TL at a recognized show until we thought the tests were “easy” and not just doable.   She’s right, so this year it will be schooling shows and next year, hopefully, we’ll think TL is beneath us and that’s when we will show recognized.

I feel much better.  I really do love my horse.

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