The lesson last night was wonderful. I’d been nervous about it all day; the “j word” (jumping) was making my stomach twist. But it was wonderful.
We started with flatwork, of course, and then trotting poles and crossrails. Baby stuff, but it’s stuff that I’ve built up this huge fear over. Larkin was wonderful, the trainer was great, understanding without coddling, pushing me on. After a few jumps, she raised the fence (something that would have made me stop and say “no, I can’t do this, I quit” before) and I was fine. More than fine, actually, as I was having the most fun doing it. I felt like I used to feel, before all of this…I remembered why I started riding in the first place.
Having this unreasonable fear is the closest I’ve ever come to understanding how it must be to develop a mental illness…perhaps you know that what you feel is unreasonable, but you can’t help it. I was actually working as an assistant trainer at a H/J barn when I started not wanting to jump. No bad falls, never got hurt…just stopped wanting to do it, and then started to actively fear it. Understanding that there was no basis for it, but unable to help it. It was like watching the progression of cancer, watching every setback and the progression further into illness.
Fear is a strange emotion. Most of the time it serves no purpose in our daily lives, but it still exists, from reasonable fears such as losing a job or a mate, to unreasonable fears like wanting to curl into fetal position at the thought of jumping a foot-high fence.
Anyway, I was on a high afterwards. Although EVERYTHING hurts this morning! Larkin loves jumping, although she’s lazy in her flatwork. I think that’s a large part of what gave me the confidence…knowing that she wants to do it, that it is what she loves, and she’ll never stop or duck out. As long as I can manage to stay in the pad, she’ll always go over the fence.
I want to complete a horse trial in the coming year. Not a three day event, nothing that ambitious yet…I just want to go balls-out in a horse trial. No expectations about winning, I just want to know that I can do it, and enjoy it. I want to be brave.
That’s my goal. :)