My second to last lesson wasn’t the greatest. Well, I’m pledging to focus on the good, not the bad, so my fall will not be the highlight of my lesson. However, I did have a fall. My horse bucked twice at the canter going one direction; I sat it fine. My horse bucked in the other direction; I got unseated and fell.
I was upset, frustrated, confidence shaken. But I wasn’t as timid about getting back on. I just hated that I fell. I hated that this horse was handing me my ass on a shiny silver platter. I hated that he was exposing me and my weaknesses and my lack of motivation.
I have not been riding as consistently due to my riding funk, which I have talked about extensively, my lack of motivation, the weather, and my horrible, chronic health issues – so, understandably I am weak. I’ve found myself asking “Do I really want the success?” “Do I really want to have to give up one of my horses in order to one day get a true jumper?” “Do I really love riding?” “Is this really my passion?” “Do I really want to do what’s best for me and the animals I own?”
Despite my recent health issues (I had a two week migraine in February, followed by a cold/sore throat stint at the end of February), there were a few times I could’ve gone out and ridden through a cold, especially after popping some Advil and getting my fever down to a manageable level.
After my fall and me getting back on, my trainer gave me some tough love that day.
She said no more excuses (truth). I fell because I hadn’t been riding, and my legs were weak (truth). Riding while having a migraine was one thing she didn’t want me to do because it was dangerous (truth), but if I had a sore throat or a stuffy nose or a mild fever, pop some Advil and force myself to come to the barn (truth). I needed to ride to be strong and make progress (truth). I needed to be present (truth).
That really stuck with me. I needed to be present. I have all these lofty goals, and I am allowing a little funk get in the way of them after all this success and progress I’ve had and made. My trainer (nicely, even though she doesn’t have to be) calls me on my bulls*t and lets me know when I am effing up. I really appreciate her for that. And I know, or at least I hope, she does it because she believes in me and my (somewhat hidden) talent and ability and wants me to get better.
We all go through phases and riding funks. Sometimes we have to take breaks or sometimes we have to force ourselves to get out there and just do it. That’s what I need to go, and that fall was my reality check. I shouldn’t have fallen, especially because I had sat two bucks perfectly prior to that. My horse threw a buck afterwards again, and I sat it and dealt with it perfectly. There was no reason I should’ve fallen.
I hated knowing that I had disappointed my trainer. I see her as a role model and a rider I would like to be like one day. I see her as a friend (hopefully our friendship never ends badly – my biggest fear), and I see her as someone who wants the best for me and my horses. I see her as someone I trust and as someone who pushes me to be the best I can be, even when I doubt myself. “Practice guts,” as she says to quote a well-known blog post.
Be present. Have guts. Push yourself.
And sit that buck, dammit!