….that is the question. I just wanted to show you that I am a well rounded cultured person so I decided to get a little Shakespearian on you. Lol. I am really trying to make this decision though. I have had 2 jump lessons since my last riding post and I am really proud of them. Well, I am REALLY proud of the one and just regular proud of the second. Lol.
The lesson that I am REALLY proud of was on Friday. TS was at an away show so TD had to cover my lesson. TS is who most people think of as the “main” trainer at the barn because she is the one who still does the training rides and shows and because of that some people prefer to lesson with just her. I do love lessoning with TS but I also really love when I get to lesson with TD. Just because TD isn’t full time riding now doesn’t mean she hasn’t been there done that. She has a great show record but since they are sisters in this business TD focuses more on the management of the barn and not hardcore training aspect but she still knows her shit! Anyway, I really like riding with her sometimes because she sees different things than TS does. Plus I think that I emotionally connect with her a little more because I know that she has had some riding anxiety issues too. Like I said, she has shown it all but I think that she experiences a little anxiety like I do whereas TS is SUCH a confident rider.
Winifred was a little up because he hadn’t been ridden a lot while I was gone so of course my nerves were perked. We had the same super fun grid set up that we had a couple weeks ago (trot in to a 1 stride then to a 2 stride). Did the hunter course with that as our start and it went really well. Since he was so up we made him do the adds to keep him somewhat contained. He was pretty focused at the jumps but around each corner he was…..as J put it…..’animated’. Lol. I love the words we come up with when we want to describe a naughty horse without calling him naughty. As animated as he was on the corners and during his lead changes he became laser focused when he locked on to a fence. J went then TD put some of the fences up higher and all the oxers up, looked at me and said, “ok I know that you have had some issues this winter but it is time to get over them now! You will do the same course and you WILL give me that EXACT same ride. The jump changes do not matter.” And we did! Well… not quite the exact same. I did have a flub in the grid (thank you Winifred for being so damn athletic and saving our asses!). I was actually being too soft coming into the grid so instead of fully jumping the first fence he tripped over it but bless his athletic heart he was able to get us out without a single issue. TD said I could ride it again but I was so happy with the rest of the course and since it wasn’t my normal tipping issue I decided to end on that. I knew what I did wrong and it is an easy fix.
Tuesday we were back with TS. I was feeling good, Winifred was feeling good but then on our last line which was the diagonal home I made a critical mistake. We jumped in great but in my effort to be nice and soft with him I did not pull up fast enough to make the 5. We were clearly on a pace to do a 4 so I pulled up at our third stride and even when I did my thought was, “awe shit that was too late!” We ended up on the half stride, no big surprise there when your rider is a potato, and he slammed the breaks. I knew it was coming though and didn’t tip so I stayed on. TS knew that my thought was to be soft with him but she reminded me that you cannot be soft with him. If you are soft with him he will take advantage of you every time. Now I am not saying that you have to yank the crap out of his mouth every single time but you do need to have good contact and in this case more than just good contact because we were on the line headed straight for the exit. This is something that I know but I was so happy with how he had been I let that side of me falter just a little. I am happy though that I didn’t let it get to me. I gave myself credit for recognizing my problem and for sitting back so I didn’t fall off then I circled right around and jumped the line again this time taking control of him and doing the 5.
Now we return to the original question. We have a home, indoor show March 23-24th. Do I show? I asked TS after the lesson and I didn’t get the most positive answer. I got, “well what do you want to ride in?” She said that she was fine with me doing up to 2’3” but nothing bigger since we are just getting our groove back and haven’t done a ton. I was already questioning if I wanted to show because I do feel like we are just getting our confidence back and I am concerned that if it doesn’t go well I will be back to where I started. He is already a nervous horse, horse shows make it worse, and then indoor shows are even more terrifying to him. Let me change that, outdoor shows don’t really make him nervous he just gets very excited and when he gets excited his response is to RUUUUUNNNNNN! He loves jumping so much he just wants to get there sooner but that makes me nervous and that is when I tip. I just do not want to backslide just as I am making good progress. I talked a little with TD about this yesterday and she put me a little more at ease with first let’s just wait and see what the weather is like and second if we only do a warm-up class then, hey, we only do a warm-up class. What do you guys think? Should I risk the new confidence or wait until the show at the end of April show?