Ain't No Quitter

Because no new media, and I LOVE THIS PHOTO! 
Thanks for all of your well-wishes after my fall the other day! My right arm is in a state of decreased usefulness at the moment, but I'm 99% sure it'll be fine.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not afraid of falling off.

I've fallen off a lot. By the time I was 17, the count was at least 50 times. Yes, I realize this is abnormal, but I learned to ride at a barn with horses that were of questionable sanity and soundness, and falling off frequently there was the norm. That said, hitting the ground (even as I age and take longer to recover than I did as a teen) doesn't faze me. Falling or otherwise injuring myself doesn't really factor into all of my weird anxiety and irrational fear surrounding jumping. I rode my pony yesterday for a little flatwork and hacking around, and ended the ride wishing I had jumped over our little coop once or twice!

What, then, does scare me?

Loss of control, and not knowing how, why, when, or if a "bad thing" will happen.

What's scary to me is cantering down to a jump and not knowing if we have enough or too much speed, not seeing a distance, feeling that Dino is on the forehand, not having a plan, not knowing if my pony is straight or not. I'm not a "hang on, kick, and hope for the best" type of rider - I need to know what's going on at all times. Knowing that a refusal or a run-out was a strong possibility but not knowing WHY they happened or how to prevent them was the most frightening part of my struggle with fear and anxiety when jumping, and fed into a vicious cycle of lost confidence, poor riding, more refusals, and on and on. But thanks to some fantastic trainers in my life, I've gained a better awareness and understanding of why things happen the way they do when I jump, and much of that anxiety has gone away.

And that's why I'm also not fazed by my forceful meeting with the earth earlier this week.

It wasn't the continuation of a pattern, or caused by fear or pain in horse or rider. It was Dino checking in the way that only ponies can to see if stopping was still a behavior that was effective in getting me to back off when he didn't feel like participating.

Newsflash: that trick no longer works.

In my past experience with Dino and his uncanny ability to slam on the brakes, one stop often leads to full on Stop Mode. He gets behind the leg and nappy, and is soon refusing anything and everything, which is only compounded by feeding my own fear of uncertainty and loss of control.

That didn't happen this time, and I truly believe it was a one-off, pony'tude, "Let's just see if this is still a thing" kind of event. Especially since I was able to get back on and school the snot out of him, I'm really quite confident that this is not the beginning of another rash of refusals.

I still enjoy jumping Dino, and I think most of the time he enjoys it too! My plans to show him this season and be the best darn Elementary-level eventers we can be remain unchanged, and I am not about to let one little bump in the road keep me from doing fun things with my favorite pony. After all, progress is never, ever linear, and I think we've made far too many huge leaps in our confidence and partnership over the past year to give up now!


  1. That feeling of not really knowing is the worst, I agree. And being unable to figure out a pattern also really bothers me. So it's good when behavior (mine or pony's!) has an identifiable cause and fix. That always makes me feel better.

  2. i love your attitude and resolution to continue forth with that pony! i hope your arm feels better asap and look forward to seeing Dino out and about bombing around like nbd again!

  3. I agree with you. I think he was testing the waters. Go get 'em this year!

  4. They do try to test us when we least expect it. That is exactly the reason why I laugh my a** off when people say riding isn't a sport. Really? When does your ball have a mind of its own?

  5. I agree- it's the not knowing if the horse will do what we're wanting. You can do it though.

  6. I can relate to the fear of uncertainty. Houston made me feel that way about XC 85% of the time until our last event. Glad you're ot hurt!

  7. ugh i hate the unknown too. Having fallen off at least 3 times at events no less last year (But yay no hurting of myself was done) i got a bit more used to it but i always hate that feeling right before you hit the ground. UGH...I am glad you are doing okay and i know you and that pony are destined for GREAT THINGS! :)

  8. You definitely should not give up! You are gunna kill it this year!

  9. I'm not afraid of falling off either. I mean falls happen. I am afraid of being fallen on and that has happened now more times than I care to remember.


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