Onward and Upwards
|Everyone needs a little post-braid pony 'fro|
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.