Sunday, October 04, 2009

Gotta get on and ride

I've never been a huge risk-taker, as far as physical things go. I have done risky things, sure, but usually because circumstances arose that made those risks necessary. Apparently, my self-preservation instinct is very well-honed--possibly too well-honed.

This thought process, and my ride today, led to this conclusion: The ground work is important, particularly as Bar gets his fitness level, balance, and confidence up, but I need to get up there and ride. For him, for me, for both of us to grow--him as a horse, me as a rider.

I need to push past the fear and trust him--and myself--more than I've allowed. Bar has given me every indication that he is ready to work with me and I've been too scared to accept it, to trust it. That means we're both missing out on the relationship we could have, not gaining knowledge and skills both of us need.

That's not going to get either of us anywhere and today was a prime example.

We were forced to use the outdoor arena--or give up and not ride--so down we went. I worked Bar in small circles around me, letting him come in for a second before sending him back out the opposite direction he'd been going, until he circled at at trot consistently before being called back in. This is hard for him, though I don't yet know why. Then we did pivots around his front end and side passes, just to be sure he was loose and paying attention.

He was, which meant no more excuses for me.

I was so stiff, so out of balance, and Bar never once took advantage of it. He kept at it, responding to leg cues that weren't great, and accepting my truly horrific attempts to post with relatively good humor.

I'd laugh, if I didn't feel so much like crying.

Steve asked me what I'm so afraid of. It isn't even so much getting hurt--though there's no denying that thought floats in the back of my head--it's the risk of sliding backwards with Bar, of having another accident that sets us all back to square one.

But that risk exists no matter where we are in our training, so it's not a good reason anyway.

I'm not Steve, I didn't grow up pushing my limits, and I didn't grow up riding and falling off horses, either, so learning to push just far enough is a new path to follow.

It's the right path, though, for learning, for growing--for Bar, and for me.

3 comments:

terrie said...

It sounds like you've got a pretty good handle on things!

I think there's a couple things that you're also potentially dealing with. One is your body's memories. I'm convinced that our body's have memories of when we were put in danger in our past. Confronted with the same situations, our anxiety rises even though we don't think, rationally, that it should. Bodies have memories, and we need to honor that with compassion before we can move on.

The other thing that could be at work is your intuition. I'm still learning myself that when my rational brain says one thing but something else nags at me, that maybe I should listen to that nagging voice. It may be that it just needs some friendly reassurance. But it's also ok to just sit with the uneasiness and see what happens instead of pushing through it.

I am in AWE of what you're doing with your horses. I almost can't believe you're the same person I met so many years ago. Wow!

Kate said...

Wonderful thoughts and progress! Just do what you feel comfortable with and know you can succeed at, and then push the boundaries a little bit at a time - and expect reversals from time to time. It sounds to me like you're doing great work with the horses!

Jessica said...

Thanks, Terrie and Katie, for the encouragement and support--it really does help! A lot!!