You all know that I deal with confidence issues and you all know that lately those issues have reared their ugly head again. When I first started riding with super trainer, LT, I told her that I had some past issues that I needed to work through. She told me she couldn’t tell. Well, that’s because I was riding tough. I knew I needed to.
And then, something happened at the clinic and I stopped riding tough. I couldn’t tell you what. But finally, LT, saw what I was talking about. I’m not proud of that. I wish I could have kept riding tough and that it would be a lot longer until we got to the whole confidence thing.
But such is life!
As I walked down to the stadium warm-up, passing the ring and watching my team mate almost have a nasty stop at the second fence, my heart started shrinking. Those fences looked big. Bigger by far than the XC fences we’d be doing later. And seeing my team member almost stop at a jump with hay bales under it? A fence I was already worried about? Not confidence building.
From the beginning, warm-up just felt like a disaster and it didn’t get better as we started jumping. We got over every single fence, not one refusal, but they weren’t pretty.
Not pretty. Not pleasant.
LT pulled me aside at that point and told me to ride tough. I told her I didn’t want to do it. Not that I couldn’t ride the course, but that I didn’t want to.
“Do you want to scratch?” she asked. I didn’t say anything for a minute. “You can if you want. I won’t push you in there if you don’t think you’re ready. I do think you are though. I wouldn’t let you be here if you weren’t.”
But I didn’t want to scratch. I’m not a quitter. And I still wanted to ride XC (don’t ask me the logic behind that, I could not tell you). So she set me up to the fence again and told me to sit back, heels down and kick on and do whatever I needed to to get Gus over the fence. So I did. I pony club kicked, sat my butt down, and told him to “GIT UP THERE.” I think I scared a few trainers but we went over beautifully.
Then it was my turn to go in with these words of wisdom in my brain: ride forward but not crazy, heels down and leg on, and don’t get in front. Got it.
It wasn’t a perfect round but it was pretty darn close. Or at least as close as I can ride it right now. I rode hard to the first two fences, which also happened to be the ones with the most filler. I didn’t give myself time to think about stopping, hoping that it would keep Gus from stopping too.
It seemed to work!
Fence three was beautiful but at fence four I started getting ahead.
This led to me riding a little bit crazy to fence five… a big mistake as it was already on a tight turn and had been coming down all day. We brought it down too. The hesitation from Gus wasn’t so much from nerves but because we got a really really bad distance. And still, with legs on, Gus went for it.
We went for it on fence six as well. And this one the hesitation came because it was a scary fence. I felt him back off as we came around the turn but I pushed on and we got over.
Fence seven and fence eight both rode okay.
Then we came around to the last two stride. It was PERFECTION. Gus and I got our stride and rode through it like no big deal. I was so happy with the big guy.
Even though we had a rail down I was beaming from ear to ear. Maybe not the stadium round I really wanted but I couldn’t be happier with Gus continuing to try and with myself for riding tough.
Super trainer was right. I can do this.