It’s The Small Things

I DID IT. I DID IT. I DID IT!

I JUMPED A COURSE.

Time to open that bottle of wine and celebrate!

This Monday’s lesson my coach simply focused on jumping. I knew it was coming all day. I even thought about it at work. I was calm, cool, and collected all day until I pulled into the road to the barn – then the nerves hit me. But, I told myself “RELAX”. I seriously need that word tattooed on my hand or something.

We only jumped like baby jumps, maybe 2ft (if that honestly) but, that’s what my brain needed. I get so worked up at the sight of a pole, so to have successfully make it over poles and verticals is a HUGE deal for my nervous self. There were other people in the ring just schooling and I didn’t even get worked up that I was being watched (another big thing of mine that freaks me out). It was such a positive environment that evening. Positive thoughts, positive comments… HOLLA!

I was actually seeing a distance (I think, OH GOD. MAYBE I WASN’T AND I JUST GOT LUCKY. DO I EVEN KNOW WHAT A DISTANCE IS, DO I EVEN KNOW HOW TO HORSE – that’s my anxiety talking). I could tell when we were taking off, and when to lift my eye up and look past the jump. I still black out the moment my horse leaves the ground but it’s nothing like it was last winter. I am able to focus on the little details when approaching and not just remembering to “come to”. It’s not like actually blacking out but I think more like tunnel vision. Staring straight ahead, focusing on not breaking anything. To be honest I’m not really sure? It’s the one thing that I can’t seem to shake or figure out. It’s like my brain for that split second freezes and is like “oh shit, this again”.

I was so proud of myself for not having a mini mental meltdown and for actually doing it. Working to overcome this fear is going to be such a struggle but having just the one positive lesson where I didn’t allow myself to freak out, is so reassuring that I can do this. I can learn to enjoy jumping again. I can learn to keep myself out of my head. I can continue to fall back in love with this sport.

It’s funny how one (or in my case, 2) bad falls can really bring a person down. I look around at all the other riders I school with, show with and see on social media and think “how are you not falling, HOW DO I GET THAT SEAT, YOUR LOWER LEG IS AMAZING!” And why does it seem like I am the only person that falls and ends up breaking something? No one else at my barn has had this much trouble. Well, except for another lady, she has had some bumps and bruises, but no badly broken bones. She has not stopped and continues to ride and fight her nervousness as well.

It’s the thoughts and the judgements on myself that really get my anxiety racing and then I struggle to remember the times when nothing bad has happened. And that I do actually know how to horse. I have had plenty of falls where nothing went wrong, but my brain is not letting me past my broken arm memory (and back). It’s like my anxiety knows I ride a thoroughbred or something and it wants to compete with him. I am 30 years old and I am riddled with anxiety. I feel like at 30 I should have my shit together… WELL.. I DON’T, like at all!

Focusing on the positive! I JUMPED. I have proof, check my videos on Instagram – it really did happen, I swear! I survived another day on my horse. I survived another Monday lesson! Another lesson that pushes me to continue, to keep me coming back, to keep me working hard to show myself I can do it.

And for the big win of the night… Another lesson where I didn’t fall off! (that deserves 2 bottles of wine)

❤️ The Nervous Equestrian

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