Onward and Upwards

Everyone needs a little post-braid pony 'fro
I want to thank EVERYONE who commented on yesterday's post, and texted me, and send me kind messages on Facebook. When I started this blogging thing, I had no idea how many wonderful friends I would make, and how much support I would have from all of you - whether I know you "in real life" or not. THANK YOU. Seriously. Reading your comments yesterday made me get a little teary-eyed more than once, and it's a wonderful thing to know that you all are on my team!

I stayed home from the barn yesterday, mostly because I had a large amount of work to do, but not independent of the fact that I just needed a mental break from riding and the barn. Dino usually gets the day off after a show, anyway, and the world wasn't going to end if I didn't go over and pet him and clean my tack.

I also talked over Sunday's events with a lot of people. I came to some conclusions, and I made myself a plan. My plan does not involve quitting eventing forever and only trail riding bareback at the walk, although I will admit that the thought did tempt me for a moment.

After giving myself some time to wallow in self-loathing and sadness, and drink some beers with my best friend over FaceTime, I stated thinking and talking about where Dino and I go from here. As much as I want to believe it right now, I'm not the worst eventing rider who ever lived. I have been really REALLY stressed and overwhelmed in my work and personal life lately, I put a lot of pressure on myself to perform, and it all came together in the perfect storm of a mental breakdown on the SJ course. My mind and emotions were pushed to the limit already, I had used up a lot of my focus in the dressage, and when Dino spooked at that flowerbox on the rail I came undone, and couldn't handle the deviation from the 'perfect' round I held in my mind.

In hindsight, it's probably a good thing that I never got past the first fence on XC, because that kind of mental panic and freeze could have gotten us hurt.

As discouraging as Sunday's show was, I love riding. I love jumping. I love competing, and I LOVE eventing. Dino loves eventing - I tried to do a lot of things with him, and he's told me pretty clearly that eventing (and foxhunting!) is what HE wants to do. I want to keep doing this. So how do we do this better, and put me in the best possible mental position for our next competition?

Practice makes perfect, y'all. In this case, practicing jumping, and practicing good thought patterns concerning jumping. I've been working my butt off this year in the dressage, and that's clearly paid off (that test is hanging on my fridge right now), so it's time to switch gears a bit and get my mojo going over fences.

This looks like as many lessons as I can afford, as many schooling outings as I can schedule, and a jumper show or two if I can swing it. It's going anywhere and everywhere I can that will let me jump new jumps in a new place. It's getting my trainer's voice in my head, instead of my own doubting words. It's getting in a confident frame of mind, with the attitude that We Can Do It, and if it's not perfect, that's okay.

The thing they don't tell you about riding is that it shows you who you are, for better or for worse.


  1. Dude. Been there. I'm slowly learning that if I'm completely personally overwhelmed, I just need to step back and not try hard things on horseback as well. Evidence: my entire non-season last year caused by too much stress thereby frying my poor horse. Whoops. Take two.

    I like your plan. You've got this.

  2. This sounds like a perfect plan! I'm so proud of you for looking ahead and taking charge of your jumping mojo. While you and Dino don't need "show miles," I think going to different venues and jumping new jumps in new places will work wonders for your brain :) You and Dino will be rock stars at your next HT!

    Also, curly-haired Euro Pony is EVERYTHING.
    And the last line of this post needs to be on some kind of motivational poster or something. Seriously.

  3. Sounds like an awesome plan, you are on the right track with replacing your own doubts with your trainer's words in your head, I'm working on the same thing!

  4. This is a good plan. Y'all will overcome it and this show will be a distant memory!

  5. you can do it!!!!!! (also your pony wins for cutest 'fro!).

  6. You've got this homie. Ain't nobody bringing you down!

  7. We are all rooting for you! You have a great plan. =)

  8. Sounds like you guys are on the right track. There is so much determination in your riding, you guys will be back in action very soon.


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