I’ve been showing since I was 15 years old. I’ve been jumping since I was 16 years old. I’ve never felt nervous about going into the show ring or riding a course. Of course, I’ve felt the surge of adrenaline and the buzz of anticipation, but never have I felt “nerves.” I’ve given speeches, sang in front of full auditoriums, and ridden down centerline for my first dressage test ever (which just happened to be a USEF/USDF recognized show) with never a twinge of dreaded nerves. I took the Old Man over his first-ever cross-country course at Beginner Novice without ever in his life schooling him. Of course, we’d been a team for 14 years, at that point…
|It's all cool. What's next?|
I showed up for cross-country schooling, warmed up the mare, and then followed my coach to the first starter jump. Quite suddenly and inexplicably, I was petrified! Coach knew it was the mare’s first XC experience. She said, “Just let her walk up to it and check it out. No, really, go on the buckle and walk her right up to it.” The mare chested up to it and started trying to climb over it without even checking it out! We started trotting it, and Mare happily hopped right over and cantered away. I was everywhere in the saddle except where I needed to be. Perhaps this was the source of my anxiety? My leg slid back, or I locked my elbows, or I sat down in the saddle to early, or I landed in my knees… We did this one several times until my position
solidified became a little more stable. Coach says, “She’s got this! Now, take the beginner novice one!” Since when did 2” make such a difference? Why was my heart suddenly back in my throat?
...maybe because I was supposed to be doing this with the Old Man...
|Just another party!|
We hit a few more jumps. Some of them were even Beginner Novice. I chickened out at the roll-top. We played in the water, and even jumped a little jump out of the water! Oh, what fun that was! We even jumped the big (ok, it looked big on 14.1 hh) barn that was 3 strides out of the water several times. We had one awkward landing because I put on the brakes before we had completely cleared it, so she landed on all four feet. Oops! I didn’t mean to put on the brakes… Why was I so petrified?
I melted down at one more jump that I just could not make myself go over. What was my problem??
Coach put her right over it. It's ALL me! I have been struck with the "nerves" problem. I've never had to face it before, so I don't know how to deal with it. And I had to take her through her first horse trial the next day... I am soooo glad I didn't eat before cross-country schooling!
|looking the part of "eventing pony"|
1) stay on the pony!
2) finish with a number...