For one reason and another, my riding has suffered. Stress and a drop in confidence really has balled me over in the school. My hands are tight and I’m afraid to do to much and just generally being tense is not helping.
Last week’s hacks did me a lot of good but back in the school on Thursday and the tense rider who felt incapable of anything was back. I had little control over the horse and was letting him get away with anything and everything.
Confidence is the part of riding we don’t think about but when it isn’t there can be horrendous. I felt out of control on the horse I can happily hold steady on a canter now, but in the school, I felt at a loss.
During parts of my lesson though, I was finally getting there and after a talk with my school instructor we got to the bottom of my confidence drop. Personal stress has greatly contributed and hopefully that is behind me now and I can move onto this week’s lesson with a fresh mind.
Yesterday’s hacks helped me further that belief to.
But first, a lot of stable time.
I regularly go up early and help now on a Sunday. I brushed Shadow first, then a lovely pony called Jim and then another first, our little Bella. Tacking up is natural now and when one of the lesson girls couldn’t put Big bella’s bridle on, I offered to help her. Bella knows what she can get away with with people and if she pulls a face and someone backs away from her, she knows she can get away with it. Unluckily for bella, i cannot see her ugly looks and so i just walked in and put the bridle on, no messing, patted her and told her she was a good girl. I’m probably a little stupid I know, but on the ground, I have little fear. this is either a good thing or a very bad thing, I’m not sure. 😉
I rode Shadow first and had a blast on him. He was lead file for most of the ride and a little child was on a pony behind us. His trots were nice, his walking pretty good and I felt a ton different to how I had in the school on Thursday. I need to take that confident rider into the school this week and leave all the past behind now. My hands were good, my position was good and I was relaxed.
I actually cantered on the flat to yesterday which I haven’t done for a while. Felt good and easy. Who would have thought I’d ever say that?
I actually admitted to my hacking RI that I was a decent rider.
This is what lead to that.
I was at the bottom of the hill we canter up in a forward seat. the young child and his leader had gone up doing a trot as then I have an anchor point to where to stop. I was waiting with my lovely Shadow at the bottom and he was raring to go. He wasn’t as dancing as he has been but he’d just had a lesson so I didn’t expect that. However, when I loosened my reins to hand my crop to my hacking rI, he tried to walk forward but I stopped him. She took the crop and as we started, he saw the crop behind us and fled into a very fast canter. Not for one second did I feel unsteady or unsafe, and I collected him back into a lovely, forward but contained canter. At the top I joked and said it’s a good job I’m a decent rider or else I’d have been off on the floor. She’s holding that sentence against me for the rest of my riding life I believe.
I loved that speed and feel more confident out of the saddle to now.
He was a little sluggish on the way home but I kept my leg on and gave him lots of cuddles in his stable.
I asked to ride Bella next. I knew I had to do this as i’ve not ridden her since my unblogged about low confidence ride a few weeks ago.
I had felt I’d lost my Bella knack but yesterday she’d prove to me that I’m just very wrong about that.
She was third in the line, Bella hates being lead horse, especially with me. Her trots were beautiful, I only had to ask once and it was a very relaxing ride.
She did the odd stride of canter up the hill but I think part of her only doing one stride was my fault, I think I pulled back on her reins a little when she tried for me. But I was chuffed to bits with her and with me as she tried for me and I kept asking. And when I did I’d get a stride. That’s progress in my book with that pretty mare. Definitely not so down on myself and know that I’m not a bad rider. Bella is a very good mirror for your mood and she showed that to me over the past few weeks.
I really hope I have her in the school again as she’s my comfort blanket horse in the school. I love that mare in ways I can’t begin to describe to you and I’m determined to get her cantering for me again soon. The day she cantered with her son out on a ride with us was just amazing. I still believe she was showing off but I will get there with her. Beautiful horse that she is.
Looking forward to my lesson this week and definitely looking forward to my hacks to.