Monday morning, half term, and the place is deserted. They’ve turned the heating almost off, and my hands are blue with cold. I can’t type with these claws. Jo has her coat on.
Yesterday I had a good lesson at the new barn, although I felt as though I would have but less effort into carrying the fat cob that I was on around the arena. Big, wide coloured cob, massive ass, stolid personality, and I felt as though I needed to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to drive him on. I probably looked like a Thelwell pony rider, with the legs sticking straight out to the sides of a fat pony. lol…
Everything was fine, that is, until she set up the first fence. I froze. You see, a long time ago I used to work in a hunter/jumper barn in Los Angeles. I did a lot of jumping, and it never bothered me. I gradually became a bit more nervous about it, and one day just couldn’t do it at all. Total panic if I tried. I didn’t have any bad falls or anything, I just no longer felt able to do it. I haven’t jumped since…until now.
The horse popped the first fence, as I didn’t have enough impulsion. (Popping is kind of like jumping at the last moment, and so going straight up into the air, popping up rather than making a smooth arc.) I shot up in the air, and on the second time around, I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t breathe, couldn’t unlock my body.
Being unreasonably afraid of something is a very strange thing. I know that, even if the worst happened and I fell, I wouldn’t very likely be hurt, or even winded. I’ve done it a million times. But it doesn’t matter. I’m going to continue to work through this, of course…I’m not a quitter. But it is very difficult. The most ironic thing is that I used to give lessons to the nervous riders…adults or kids new to riding, or ones that had lost their confidence. I was good at talking a student along into doing just a little bit more than they thought they could, and then leaving it at that until next time, a good experience to build on. I just can’t do it for myself.