Friday, June 24, 2022

in search of sunrise

Happy Friday, y'all! TGIF! For any of you who have been following along for a while... it's not much of a surprise that I'm kiiiiiiinda a head case. It's part of my charm, I swear.

instantly snoozing the second i hop off after our lesson last week
But I wrote about how last week's CT at Thornridge was kinda proof that all my work on slowly tediously methodically trying to create a better mental game was finally paying dividends. 

sir. you are so #earthbound sometimes.
And guys. It has been a process. Probably will *always* be a process. Ahem. See blog title.... 

For real, tho. Who really knows what leads to a crisis in confidence. A million different personal factors. Everyone's story is kinda a little bit unique in that regard, I'm sure. But... As far as I can tell, the solution isn't really all that complex. Just.... long.

trit trot at tranquillity!
For me, it had to start by acknowledging the crisis, not stubbornly trying to push through when it clearly wasn't working. And giving myself space to step back and reevaluate. Bc .... most of my issues aren't really about the horse or the jumps or the ride or whatever, it's about some sort of vague existential sense of like, idk, failure or some shit like that. 

oooh actually jompimg!! just ignore the flying rail!!
Which in a way is lucky for me, bc once I realized that nobody else really cares the way I do about whether I succeed or fail, it became a lot easier to kinda start releasing those feelings and assess what it means *to me* to be successful.

i swear all the jumps were raised for our final course, but phone ran out of storage :(
I've always known that my confidence in jumping is a pretty simple function of making it feel routine and mundane. I was at my absolute best when I was taking two jump lessons a week --- it was like this glorious halcyon age during my Isabel days.... 

excited about finally seeing combos and oxers in these lessons with Kelly tho! 
That's not super realistic now for a lot of difference reasons. But finally finding new trainer Kelly has helped a lot. Sure, shipping out for lessons again definitely kinda sucks. But she hustles for us and that alone makes it worth it. Having a lesson on the schedule keeps me accountable, especially when I don't do much jumping outside of lessons.

video of a couple snippets here, sadly cut short from lack of phone storage bleh

But.... That actually takes me to the next stage in .... recovery? Now that we're feeling back in a regular groove, we've gotten our sea legs back, we've been back at shows, doing our thing, and feeling ok about it.... I'm ready to take the next step.

oooh jumping at home again!! 
Which, for us, means doing more jumping at home again. It's honestly something I've kinda not enjoyed for the last couple years bc Charlie can be an uninspired slug at home, and often requires a jump crew me dismounting repeatedly to reset fences.

yessir, much better with less splat at these big X's! 
Plus.... When I'm riding solo and not feeling super confident.... I tend to... Idk, it's hard to explain. It's like I let things slide until we have a big mistake. But the big mistake makes me feel more fragile, or like, "Damn see this is why I don't do this, I knew this was a bad idea!" And then I don't want to do it all over again the next week.

you'll have to take my word for it that all the jumps we put up to Nish height were too close to the camera to see
It's much easier when you've got somebody coaching you around. Sure, I still make the big mistakes in lessons.... But I've got somebody there whose literal job is to work me through it and help me fix it. 

like so --- but look at that good boy!!
And go figure -- that process works. Because now I'm kinda at the point where, if I'm going to be shipping out to lessons and paying that extra $25 for ring rentals etc, I'd like to skip the big mistakes, thanks, and get straight to the good stuff, ya know? Work on challenging ourselves and stepping it up, not like... Splatting over our stupid tiny warm up fences bc I didn't bother to get the horse in front of my leg in the first place.

tinkering with tiny twos! 
Getting more consistent about jumping on my own has other advantages too. For instance, unlike the overly orchestrated coordination of shipping out.... I can be more improvisational at home. Like yesterday, after it had rained the whole night before and all morning, I was like -- Ah, yes! Soft ground!! Today we jomp!!!

lol first time down this line i absolutely stuffed charlie into 6 strides. went back to fix it, but joke was on me bc i overcorrected and managed to stuff him again, this time in 5 lol....
homeboy can ADJUST (and emma needs to relearn calibration lol)
Bc obvi the other piece here that I always stress about is Charlie's soundness and fitness -- which are two deeply related but also somehow occasionally oppositional forces. Charlie must be fit to be sound, but it is absurdly easy to lame him in the quest for "conditioning."

And obviously worrying about my horse's soundness is yet another direct route to hell mental insecurity. I *hate* rolling up to a big lesson or show or whatever and being like, "eh I hope Charlie is physically prepared for this!" He obvi knows his job... But it's the practice that ultimately matters -- making sure he is physically conditioned to the speed and the effort and the distance and all that stuff. 

I feel like I've learned a lot about how to manage him over the years, tho, and especially about how to NOT overdo it -- tho we've certainly trended too far into under-doing it LOL. 

Idk, tho. Right now, in this exact moment, I'm feeling a strange but pleasant sort of calm about it all. About where we are, what it means to me, and what I want to do -- regardless of if it's "perfect" or whatever. And I like it! So here's hoping for a season of renewal after what's been an undeniably shitty set of years for like, wow, the globe LOL. 


  1. I have never figured out how horses can go months without jumping and still see the distance, adjust, get it done. I go a week or two and can't see a distance, can't sit up, basically can't function.

    I'm so glad lessons with Kelly are going well and worth the hauling out!

    1. dude, right??? for me, i always feel like if i didn't do a thing like... *yesterday,* i might well have never done it before in my life. meanwhile charlie's like, sure, yea, haven't jumped 3'3 in years but let's have at it!

  2. I love that you're having fun again! And not just because I live vicariously through you lol

    1. ha meeee tooooo. turns out, maybe charlie has more fun when i'm having fun too -- go figure LOL

  3. I'm happy you're happy and having fun with Charlie.

  4. strange and pleasant calm is one of my favorite feels.

  5. I notice a huge difference in my confidence if I get to jump twice a week. And like... it needs to be spread out properly too. I was lessoning Al when I was boarding Friday and Sunday, but for Friday's lessons I was always SO anxious because there were so many non jumping lessons before. I like Wed/Sat ideally.
    Anyway, enough about me. I'm glad things are going so much better for you guys this year! Sometimes just having someone on the ground is so reassuring. You and Chuck are looking great!


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