Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, November 14, 2011

In the Arena # 88 -
Do we think we're better riders than we are?...

Are we better riders than we think we are?

  • a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances
  • faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper, or effective way
  • the quality or state of being certain

It's been a long time since I was a confident rider. As a kid, I was supremely confident for my first half dozen lessons. Heck - I was jumping by my third lesson. (?!) Then - surprise surprise - there was a bolt and fall where I got knocked out and dragged around the ring a few times. Things have never been the same. Fast forward...

Val and I had our best ride ever this weekend. We totally got into a groove. I think I coordinated my aids more effectively, concentrated on my position, and approached having soft following hands. Our 15m circles that were round and fairly balanced. We did bunches of smooth figure eights. We rode deeply into our corners. And best of all, Val reached for contact, (hallelujah!) without me doing anything except being there for him, consistently. It felt effortless. I spent the ride laughing and thanking my horse with lots of pats on the neck, and he motored around snorting and blowing contentedly. Afterwords, while I cleaned tack, he groomed me top to bottom, both sides.

"Hello - this is how I'm supposed to feel when I ride!". Not apprehensive, not anxious, not slightly nauseated. Please don't get me wrong - Val is not the kind of horse to be afraid of. He's so sweet and easy going. I've felt these feelings ever since I started back riding again. And I've had plenty of enjoyable and positive rides with him, but we've also spent entire sessions battling about who the boss is, or more importantly, why does she have to be so uptight?! Being un-confident and a perfectionist is a stressful combination...

I'm not quite sure what to attribute this progress to - we haven't had lessons in forever, but we've been moving steadily forward in the last few weeks. I can't offer any explanations, wise words or suggestions. But I'm psyched. I'll take it - and more of the same please!

one of my favorite things

less pictures - more cookies

told you I worked hard

so where's my cookies?!

check my new kicks

these puppies have some serious velcro

kisses go here


  1. Love the whiskery muzzle! Sounds like you're in the groove . . .

  2. great ride! Glad you found that perfect balance that leads to laughing while riding.

    Love the "kisses go here" photo and the cute story of Val grooming you while you cleaned tack. He is a sweet boy.

  3. It's great when it clicks isn't it!

    Love the photos! Especially the "kisses" one =)

  4. Aren't those just the best rides, when two are one? So glad you had a great time, and here's hoping there are many more around the corner!

  5. Life is good when the ride is that much fun!

  6. All the photos are just wonderful! Val is so photogenic.

    Glad you had a really good ride. You both deserved it!

  7. I love rides like these! When you get out of your head and just start...riding! And love the adorable muzzle with whiskers.

  8. Val is so adorable in all his pictures. It's so nice when your in the groove and having fun. That's how it should be all the time. I try not to over think the good times on the back of a horse. When it all comes together, just enjoy it and lots more great rides will follow. (in theory anyway) Glad you feel so psyched.

  9. Congratulations on your progress. It sounds wonderful. I know what you mean about the 'uptight' thing. I'm still holding so much tension in my body much of the time, and Rogo doesn't warrent it :) Your post has inspired me to believe it can go away. So nice to read that Val is reaching for the contact and responding so well for you.
    I love your pictures! He is SO good looking.

  10. Oooh...jealous of your arena! Love it.

    I was a confident, albeit maybe a tad bit on the reckless and crazy side, young rider (okay, well into my early 30s), but it seems lately that my self-preservation mode kicks in a lot more often than ever before.

    I'm afraid of breaking a bone, or worse, landing on my head. I'm not afraid to get up and take on the "hard ride," but I tend to be quite a bit more conservative in the ride than ever before. Cantering down hills NEVER worried me before, now, I'm much more wary of taking a bad step and an even worse fall. Ugh. Aging SUCKS!

  11. I really hear what you are saying. I have a 14.2 QH and just bought a 3-1/2 year old Friesian cross (he is in training for the next six months) but I know I am not the same rider I was 25 years ago. My mind has kicked in and, I guess, my awareness of my own mortality...

    I think logging LOTS of hours AND knowing my horse knows I'm the boss... which means quite a bit of ground work. I do all sorts of things on the ground (Natural Horsemanship - if you want to call it that) but MANY times I have come across a "state of mind" my horse was in and I am glad I was able to see it before I got into the saddle.

    Great question, keep riding, and you know, maybe youth's recklessness isn't always the best approach (although I never got hurt in my 15 years riding as a kid...)

  12. I am headed there, little by little, I swear! I think it's the laughing, personally.

    And, yes, letting go of being uptight and perfectionist-y. I am speaking of myself, of course. You are doing FANTASTIC. :)

    Love those big, snuggly TBs.

    Oh, and Val's withers look just like Calabar's! Or, rather, the after-image--Calabar in white. :)


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