There has been allot going on in my head since my last blog. First I must address something that plagues me and just about every rider out there, no matter what their sport. I have been lucky enough to have been competing a great horse named Vintage Trial. He is for sale and was sent to me because his owner is going to college and the family needs to sell him. He is an amazing horse. He is good on the flat, a very scopey jumper, and bold on the cross country. However this past weekend his score did not show how great of a jumper he really is. This is due to me not riding him to the best of my ability.
I must admit that I do struggle with my show jumping, however I know that my mistakes are just that, mistakes. There is no catastrophic issues that I have, no mental breakdowns, no drastic bad habits, just simply mistakes. However when my mistakes reared their ugly head this weekend, poor Vinny was unable to fix them for me. This is the hard part for me and most riders out there. The feeling that you let your horse down. That feeling when you come out of the ring and you know that what just happened was the result of your horse listening to you and you telling him or her the wrong thing. It makes that area in the bottom of your stomach just cramp up and at that moment you just wish you could wiggle your nose like Samantha off of Bewitched and poof be gone! For me it is not so much that others were watching, while it is embarrassing, it is more about the communication with your horse. The fact that you train so hard, you push you and your horse to keep getting better, and at the moment when you want to show how great your horse is and how hard you have been working...and your silly mistakes cause your horse to look bad. I must say Vinny shook his head when I pulled up after show jumping and I gave him a pat, said thank you and I'm sorry all in the same breathe. Of course Vinny went out of XC and rocked it! The footing was rather hard and therefore I did not push him...he is such a fun horse and I wish I could just buy him myself and keep riding him. He is so much fun and talented.
We all have bad days right. I mean look at Prince Harry falling off at a charity polo match...at least when we make a silly mistake it is not on ALL the news shows out there. Could you imagine if every little mistake you made was broadcast all over the place. I think that the only thing worse than having it broadcast all over the place to the masses, is to keep letting it get broadcast in your head. It is no secret that Vaunted and I do struggle in show jumping. While he is not the most careful horse in the world, I am not the most confident in the show jump ring. I spoke with my future boss, (in 3days) Will Coleman, this weekend and he told me to stop trying so hard and stop being so hard on myself. We chatted about it and I know what I did and could tell him immediately what I did, he said you know how to ride and you ride well so just do it. That is allot easier said than done. I am a bit of a perfectionist and I understand that everyone has bad days and everyone makes silly mistakes, however, how do you take that mistake and learn from it without harping on it. I believe that being honest with yourself, not making any excuses, and facing the issue head on and calling a spade a spade is the best way. Therefore, since Vinny is for sale, when people ask me why at this one show he had rails when he has not had rails in his past at all, I will say it was my fault. I plan on really just changing me, not the horse in the future training. I like to think that really there is no bad horse just a poor communication with a horse.
If Prince Harry can pick himself up with a smile so can the rest of us! I am very excited about my joining forces with such a show jumping king as Will. We have been working on getting a few things off the ground together. We would love to have more students and working students in the barn. With my ability to teach younger students and adult amateurs and Will's extensive ability to get allot out of the horses, we believe that our collaboration will be a force to be reckoned with! I am also looking forward to being able to help him with the young horses and getting the basics on the youngsters. I will be sure to share any and all help that I get...as we eventers have to stick together! In the meantime, I'm just thankful that when I fall off my front door steps, you don't see it on Good Morning America...