So I had a disastrous lesson on Saturday. Let’s put it this way, it was the first time in a LONG time that I didn’t even want to get on! Now, the good thing about being with the same trainer for almost 15 years is that she knows you so well that even when you have an issue filled day, she can still get you though it. So what happened? This is going to be a long story so bear with me.
My friend Ktyln615 came down for a visit so I was looking forward to using my lesson to show off to her how well I was doing. She has been my friend since I first started riding dressage so I was hoping that she would see all the progress I have made in the last 9 years. So I get to the barn a little late and I see my trainers trainer tacking up. I start to stall. My trainers trainer is a professional and she is super focused when she rides. Even on a good day in a lesson I do not have half the focus on my trainers trainer. You can I am sure see how a focused rider and an unfocused rider could have some trouble in the ring! So I stalled. Instead being 10 minutes late to my lesson (which is normal for me) I stalled for a full 30 minutes! My trainer finally came down to the barn and with Ktlyn615’s encouragement as well, I headed up to the ring.
My confidence was already shattered at this point. I turned into a giant worry wart and as we all know, confidence is a HUGE part of good riding. So the snow was dropping off the roof of the indoor as we walked in the ring causing the poor SchoolMaster to have a heart attack. This caused me to have a heart attack. Not good people, not good.
I really wanted to ride still though so I put my big girl panties on, took a few deep breaths and got on. I don’t know how to describe what I was feeling. I don’t want to say that it was a loss of nerve because I got on and wanted to ride. It was a loss of confidence of some sort though because I was sure that I couldn’t handle it if the SchoolMaster was bad, and thus I was freaking out trying to prevent him from looking at anything so he wouldn’t be bad.
Lucky for me the SchoolMaster was bored after having done nothing all week so he didn’t care that I was a nervous wreck, he just wanted to be ridden. He is so freaking cute! He set about doing his job and I set about becoming the most tense rider you have ever seen. The worst part of it all was the fact that I KNEW this was my issue and that I was the one reason I was not having a good lesson.
It was so horrible. I really wanted to show Ktlyn615 how far I had come and instead I mentally let myself revert to the worthless rider I was a decade ago. If that is not self torture I don’t know what is. I stayed on a 20 meter circle most of lesson and the goal of my 20 minute ride ended up being just to relax enough to stop jumping at every noise. I am lucky that the SchoolMaster is such a good boy because instead of feeding off of my fear like a normal horse he kindly just ignored my fear of every shadow. We always joke that the SchoolMaster sees dead people, well on Saturday his psychic power was done and mine was all the way up 😛
The level of self loath that I felt as I barely trotted around is hard to describe. Once I had finally calmed down enough to have a nice relaxed walk on a long rein I called it a day. I thought my trainer would want to kill me, and I know that part of her did, but the rest of her was totally supportive. Her trainer even paid us a complement and so did Ktlyn615. It didn’t matter to me though. I knew I was a failure no matter what they said.
I guess the best way to describe my riding right now is fragile. It is like, when it is just my trainer, the SchoolMaster and I, I am fine. We do all sorts of crazy cool upper level things in those lessons. As soon as I lose what little focus I have my confidence is shattered. It shouldn’t matter who is in the ring with me or if the snow is coming off the roof. Yet it does. It is almost like I feel like my time with the SchoolMaster is so obstacle free that I am creating my own obstacle…myself.
I have ALWAYS had excuses in the past as to why I was a poor rider. I was riding my crazy Gen, or X who was being rehabbed with the broken hip. Phoenix was green and an Appy so no one cared if I didn’t do well on him. My show career is littered with great horses who had some big issues. The SchoolMaster is pretty darn close to perfect. I can’t use him as an excuse at all. So instead of elevating myself and being a great rider I am now making myself crazy and turning my craziness into an excuse. It is pathetic and I hate that I am doing it. The worse part is that I didn’t even realize that I was doing until Saturday.
All I have wanted was the gift of a fancy horse that knew stuff. I have it and now it is freaking me out.
I don’t have a lesson this weekend so I am going to have to wait another 12 days to ride again. I am sure I will spend a good part of those 12 days in a state of self loathing for being such a baby. I really like the SchoolMaster. Why can’t I get my act together?