Yesterday the barn went down for a XC schooling at Aspen Farms. I was so excited to go, despite being in the early group and having to get out of bed at 6:00 am. I’m not a morning person at all! And while I’ll do it for horse shows and the like, I’m not thrilled with having to do so.
The day started off awesome. Dandy was excited and full of himself. Wanting to gallop off during warm-up and buck on the back side of each fence. None of that bothered me. I could handle that. Heck, he wasn’t the only one excited. I got a little frustrated at the bucking and playing but not at him, at myself. I felt like I didn’t have the posture or the strength to stay with him afterwards but those are all things that I think I know how to deal with, they’ll just take time.
But then it happened. It was my turn to pop over a little log on the top of a hill for the second time. I turned Dandy away from the group and trotted down the hill when Dandy threw a hissy fit about leaving the other horses (I think that was the reason). I tried to turn him left so that I could pick up my canter and come back up the hill to the jump but he got light in his feet and resistant. My mind went completely blank as my trainer encouraged me to turn him in that tight circle. She immediately rushed over to me and walked me through it and back down to the starting point for that jump, she was calm and helpful and we worked through that particular session but by that point my confidence was shattered. Dandy hadn’t even gone up more than a hop but I had tears streaming down my face. My body was tense and my knuckles were clenched so hard around those reins.
It was basically the end of the schooling for us as Dandy started feeding off the excited energy from one of the other horses and then lost a shoe. I attempted to work on banks with the rest of the group at the end but when I had to walk away from everyone, he went straight up. I stayed on. I walked him in a small circle. And I got off. I was done.
When I got Dandy I was so excited. He was calm and eager to please. I took him all over NV trail riding and to other arenas and never had an issue. Not until that first hunter show. I thought Dandy was finally going to be the horse I needed to restore all the confidence I had lost as a kid on Sheena but if anything, he’s making it worse. I used to have no fear. I used to be that typical kid thinking she was invincible on her horse. Sheena changed that. Though we used to ride in the streets and go on trails and ride in fields next to busy highways all by ourselves, that mare installed in me the fear of stopping. She stopped at fences all the time.
My confidence is, and not so slowly, eroding away. I thought it was just show like atmospheres where we would have to work on our bond and my confidence in handling him when he’s being a goofball. I thought we’d have issues doing xc but they’d be mostly things like stamina and the various questions you see on XC. I never thought that I’d actually be scared to ride him across a course. And where does that leave me? Well I’m starting to be afraid that either eventing is just not the right course for us (despite the fact that he is loves xc) or that maybe I’m overhorsed.
We have a dressage schooling show this weekend and I need to concentrate on that first. But afterwards I think I’m going to have to do some serious thinking. I’m not sure how I come back from this.