Recovery

It’s so hard to believe it’s 2020 already, where does the time go?

I was excited to get to ride Ernie outside the day after Christmas. Since he came just earlier in the month, I figured we were inside until spring and honestly I was a bit nervous to see if he was different outside. He’s a good egg though of course!

Most of the items I’m working on in my riding currently, besides trying to keep my shoulders up which is a never-ending battle, are geared towards reversing habits and muscle memory from riding Maestro. I’ve decided this is called the recovery phase.

The biggest item is that I need to relax and ride the horse I’m on. I have developed a bit of anxiety which is not related to the fence I’m jumping but what the horse might do before (grab the bit) or after (buck, grab bit, squeal hop) that I’m working on losing. This anxiety causes me to hold too much tension in my knees and hips, and also to sometimes do nothing when I should be moving up to a distance.

One of the other things I worry about is getting the strides in a line. Honestly Stampede was the only horse that I never got nervous on for that because he was so huge that doing the strides required a quiet canter often. I’ve discovered that if I get Ernie to the right pace and just let things flow he has quite a decent stride (duh!), but I’m still in recovery there too!

Another issue I’m having is with the left to right lead change. This was the direction Maestro had issues, and he required a very weird and different ride for the change that Ernie does not need. Maestro liked you to ask for the change immediately upon landing off a line and to hold your ask for several strides while also lifting him and sending him forward. When I do this to Ernie he is obviously confused and a bit overwhelmed by the rush of aids and thus usually bobbles the hind change while getting tense. I was then conversely just sitting there and dropping my hands and failing to provide him any support off a line with a very short turn and getting the same result. So soft leg holding our course and hands lifted is all I need. I had good luck last lesson getting it right, but I’m sure it will take time to get that ingrained again.

Below is a link to two videos I posted on Instagram (click in to see the second one). The first one is me going down the diagonal line coming home and into a left to right lead change – you can see the tension I’m holding in my lower body a bit still, but even after getting in a little tight we find the strides out. My trainer had put out some poles as a guide to help me lift my hands and ride the corner better, so we execute the lead change correctly. The second video is of me redoing a rollback I had botched on the first two tries just due to not moving up to the distance despite seeing it. In this video I come around, put my leg on, and move up appropriately.

 

Regardless of everything else, I just keep going back to the word fun. I feel so lucky to have the ride on a horse that challenges me on the flat (trotting after cantering is hard guys!) but is giving me so much confidence back over fences.

So that’s my biggest riding goal for 2020 – just to have fun. I’m on a good horse who can allow me to improve and push myself a bit outside of the comfort zone I’m currently stuck in, why not enjoy it?

What about you guys? What riding habits are you trying to break yourself of in 2020?

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10 Comments

  1. Brianna

    Working through anxiety in the saddle is so tough. That’s pretty much all my lessons for the last year have been ๐Ÿ˜› So glad you’ve found a great horse to help you through!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I often just tell myself that my trainer wouldn’t tell me to do something I wasn’t capable of which is helpful for pushing through when I’m worried about a certain part of a course of fences. Ernie has already been so helpful, excited to see what we can achieve together this season!

      Reply
  2. Emily - May as Well

    I think it is always so hard when you realize how much a horse can screw up your riding. My old horse taught me to pull and ride with my leg off. Guess who needs you to support without pulling and with leg on… Buuut it’s done wonders for my riding. Sounds like Ernie will do the same for you!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Yes, and it’s definitely not something I’ve experienced before! I also feel like I’m talking bad about Maestro, but I don’t think he’s a bad horse. Just not right for me. I’m thankful that Ernie likes a ride that is more my default style historically, just need to get it back completely.

      Reply
  3. Stacie Seidman

    I think once you know Ernie better you’ll have more trust in him not to do those things your body wants to prepare for. But you’re definitely cognizant of what you need to work on, so that’s half the battle right there! So excited that you found the right horse at the right time!

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Yes every time we have a good ride it gets a bit easier to trust him and not worry about the what if items my body wants to expect. Crazy how mental riding can be!

      Reply
  4. martidoll123

    Ernie is adorable. Love him so much so eager and yet so laid back he looks like riding in the videos (I could be totally wrong but that is how I read him) so glad you have him to learn to have fun on and relax!! And so glad you got to ride outside!! I do this thing when i panic at the jumps where I throw my reins away and almost have them to my crotch. NOT SURE WHERE I GOT THAT but retraining my brain is taking a lot of time. And i have the same nervous anxiety too! It is hard to get through.

    Can’t wait till Spring for you guys! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      He’s definitely one of those horses who wants to do his job well and is quite happy to do it. Very forgiving too when I screw up, lol. Brains are just so weird, getting us to think and do all kinds of strange stuff! Today I was nervous about an oxer my trainer set, it just looked big to me. It ended up being the last jump in my course (and the out of a line) and by the time I got there I had completely forgotten about the fear, lol. We had a great lesson and quit after one course because it went so well. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  5. Tracy

    Ernie is so great for you right now <3 I had Moiya when I needed to work through some bad habits from Miles and it's soooo important to have a horse like that in your life.

    Reply
    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I agree, he’s a great fit to help me get my confidence back and work on myself. Plus he’s just a lot of fun to jump!

      Reply

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