My last lesson started out as a bit of duh-saster, and I mean that in every sense of the word (mostly because I derped it up). I’ve been warming up at the trot on a really loose rein (for real — one hand on the buckle) and doing serpentines around the arena with just my seat and legs. I’m trying this to help Murray and myself be more responsive and accountable to where the weight in my seat is and my leg movements.
Murray hates it, because he predicts where he thinks we’re going and then I change the game on him. If he starts to veer right when I’m sitting straight, I make us go left. If he doesn’t listen… well, cranky pony ensues. This cranky warm-up pony led me to a cranky jumping pony who straight up refused the first jump. First time that’s happened in a while.
Anyway, Murray refused three more times during the lesson as I was all up in my head and thus getting ahead of him. I’ve come to trust my little push button jumper pony so much, and I have this tendency to try and throw him over the jump with my upper body anyway (SO SAFE AND EFFECTIVE! Never try it.), to which he responds “NOPE!”
So what was I all up in my head about anyway? The thrilling and exciting first jumper show of 2015, a local schooling show that is held, without fail, on the last Sunday of January. A local facility holds schooling shows pretty much monthly, so there’s lots of chances to get out and get experience, but I don’t have a huge show budget so I can’t really go to every show our barn travels to. Last year I only managed to travel to the first one, and Murray luxated his patella two days before the show so all I did was haul him there, tack up, and walk around the property as a travel experience exercise. I had only planned to do the one class anyway — the X-rails warm up — so I wasn’t exactly missing out on a ton.
We’re ready to compete at 2’9″ this year, which is super exciting to me. And in a recent lesson, we put some of the rails up to 3’3″ and Murray hardly even broke a sweat. So as I was driving to my lesson I was like “wait, what if I could even ride in the 3′ class?!” Then I started to get that feeling in the pit of my stomach. You know the one — where your guts knot up and you start to get the shakes a little. So I threw a halt on that line of thinking, but it kinda got to me in my lesson and I admitted it to Alana after I’d had a couple of refusals.
She laughed with me and reminded me to get out of my head, and that I would not be riding any 3′ classes jumping like this. And it was true! I snapped out of it and the rest of the lesson was good. It’s too easy to get in your head though — especially for me, at this stage. I’m riding at the highest level I ever have, and sometimes the desire to rush and achieve gets a grip on me. I think about competing at 3′, and when 3’3″ will come. I wonder about the Novice dressage test, and if we’ll get dinged for my insistence on riding sustainable dressage instead of eventing dressage. I wonder if Murray will still attack the first jump he sees that it’s gone up to 2’11” instead of the more-inviting 2’7″or 2’3″.
Part of it is driven by finances. I can’t afford to go to ten jumper shows a year, even if they are cheap, schooling shows. So I have to make the most of every opportunity to get off the property that I have. But a big part of it is just human nature, I think. I want to do awesome things, and I can see them in my sights! So I want them. And I want them now.
I just have to remember not to get ahead of myself — in a jumper round or just thinking about them. Things will come when they come, and there is nothing wrong with taking things slowly. I’m not doing either of us any favours when I try to make things happen before they should. Murray and I will get there, and there’s no rush to do it.