In the spirit of giving thanks, I want to thank my current trainer, JLE, for everything she has done for me the past two years. Besides dealing with my crazy horse and helping me return him to the (mostly) sweet gelding I had purchased, she also gave me the greatest gift she ever could: she gave me my confidence back.
Last year at this time, I was coming home from every lesson ride in tears. I was so close to not only giving up on Dandy, but giving up on riding altogether. It just wasn’t fun and I didn’t see how it could ever be fun again. I was scared to jump. I was scared to go on a trail ride even with other people. In fact, it was a terribly failed attempt at going on a solo trail that really put me down this path to fixing my confidence.
Shortly after this horrible hack, I met with JLE to talk about what to do with Dandy next. I wanted to sell him. I was determined to be done and I had come to this meeting to hash out a plan to get rid of him. It was at that meeting that JLE first told me that it was okay to be scared. That was something that no one had said to me in the long year leading up to this moment and it was something I so desperately needed to hear.
You know the rest. I decided to keep Dandy, send him down to California like we had originally planned (if only to get a bit more training on him and hopefully sell him for more money) and see what we had when we came back. Things started to change, though sometimes the change came slowly. JLE knew just how much to push me and how much to push Dandy.
Being only an “owner” was sometimes hard this summer. I only rode a few times a week and I missed showing. But, being there and seeing how well Dandy did and how much he liked it also gave me back my drive. I didn’t realize it was missing. And I didn’t realize how much it tied into my confidence.
Getting my confidence back felt, at times, like an impossible task. I’d master one piece of the puzzle only to be faced with a million more. And there was no picture on the box to follow. JLE and I kept piecing it together until all of a sudden, it was there. The jumps didn’t look quite so big and his naughtiness didn’t make me afraid.
I had to do a lot of work to put my shattered confidence back together, JLE didn’t just hand it to me in a gift wrapped box but she was instrumental in helping me find which piece went where. And more than that, she is constantly working with me to strengthen the weak spots. I absolutely could not have done this without her.