Thursday, June 27, 2019

Confidence. My daily struggle.

I know we've all posted about this before at one time or another. The battle with confidence in the saddle is real and on going for many of us. I've always been a bit anxious in the saddle in certain circumstances but usually was able to compartmentalize it and do the thing. High school I was my bravest. College I started having some trouble qualms now and then but always womaned up and go through anything.

The older I got the less confidence I seemed to have but usually a good experience and I was fine (like jumping a new height at a show with Twister the first time. Knots in my gut turned into excitement with how easy we did it).

Since having  SJ, I have more anxiety when it comes to riding than ever before. I have this motherly instinct of self-preservation that takes over. Don't. Get. Hurt. I have a baby who needs me. It's really effected my riding and I know it's in part why Curtis can get so stupid.

Tuesday I went jumping at T's. The jumps were 18"-2' and yet, 5 weeks into weekly jumping days, I am still trotting them and holding him back. I know he would jump so much better if he cantered and if I got out of his mouth and started following his motion instead of grabbing mane and oh shit handle.

I don't NEED to jump so why am I? Because each time I get the tiniest bit braver. That as long as I'm still trying I'm at least not quitting. Because I don't want my daughter to ask why I won't jump. Because I'd have to tell her it's because I let my anxiety win.

It's not all teeth grinding, jaw clenching, knots in my gut bad. Usually after the 1st few I relax even if I don't relax enough to do a proper release or canter. And I do have fun. And Curtis needs to mix it up now and then. And T is a great cheer leader. She encourages me to step out if that comfort zone when I get stuck and exerts just enough peer pressure to keep me from sitting there going "nah I think I'll just jump xrails forever" (Curtis trots xrails not actually jumps so it doesn't even count lol)

We did our 1st baby oxer Tuesday and I rode in my cc saddle and rode like shit but Curtis was extremely forgiving. My person says if I can't trust Curtis I need to go back to riding Twister but the truth is at this point in my riding life I'd have a hard time in Twister too. I for sure did at both hunter paces last year until we were way into it and even then certain spots or jumps had me wishing I could just not.

My person I think tries to egg me on to get me to want to grow a set and do the things I'm struggling with. But I'd rather he just be positive about the little things we do great. He says if I've been riding horses more than half my life I should know how to deal with horses when they give me shit or shouldn't be afraid. But I spent so long riding school horses and never learned how to deal with super naughty shitheads. He has been riding since a kid and has nerves of steel and can ride any horse. Not everyone can ride like him and he doesn't get that. And my confidence has regressed with age. Maybe someday when SJ gets older I'll get it back. Who knows.

The way I see it is that as long as I'm doing the thing that sometimes scares me and give me anxiety I'm still braver than someone who quits. And when I get through it, it's the best feeling. Sometimes I wonder if I should give it all up. But then the weather sucks for a month and I can't ride and I miss it so bad, anxiety and all, that I know giving it up isn't an option.


  1. you don't need me to tell you that confidence is such a fickle b*tch UGH. blargh. you guys look great tho and i'm so glad to hear the weekly jump play dates are going so well! wheeeee oxers!!! confidence takes so much time to build, time and repetition. it's hard to be patient, esp when other folks don't necessarily share or understand the anxiety. but patience and persistence usually pay off ;)

    1. My riding friends get it even if my person doesn't 💁

  2. I totally get this. FWIW, you look fantastic :)

  3. I think it takes a lot of bravery to continue to do something that scares you. The bad thing about getting older is that the fear of getting hurt is harder to get out of your head. The good thing about getting older is that there tends to be less pressure on you to do all the things, and you don't really care if someone thinks you're a big wuss. As long as you are having fun, who cares how slowly you get there?

    1. I really don't care so much what people think. I take the term adult amateur to a whole new leg and I'm proud of it 😂 it's not all scary. I do have a ton of fun riding but it's not all rainbows and butterflies.