Monday, 19 November 2007

It's all in your head...

Anyone who is now somewhere in London vicinity will know how dreadful the day has begun. You don't really want to get up in the morning when it is as dark and gloomy as if the evening was already there, rain bangs against the windows louder than the boiling kettle and you hadn't really had enough sleep.
So that is how my day started ;) Far from nice.
I hoped for a nice ride but it looked like it was going to be either swimming session or none at all. Then, just when I left the office at noon, the sun came out and there is not much that can beat the joy of sunshine in the middle of a grey, miserable day!
Needless to say I was very happy that my ride was rescued! To be fair, it did get a little rainy when I got to the yard but nothing too bad.
Hamlet was lovely to ride. Loose, willing to go low and take the rein, soft and cooperative. For the last several months I have been riding being watched by various people and I noticed I started being over cautious of what I have been doing. In many ways it has been good as I have been working on my bad habits and trying to sort out various issues. Unfortunately, it also added to tension and I noticed I over analysed things as I went. The analysis of what I do is something I struggle with: on one hand I want to do it as it helps me to teach but on the other hand it stops me from being instinctive with my riding.
Therefore today I just decided to enjoy myself, stop trying to figure out what happens when and just 'be with a horse' once again. It certainly worked today and it was so nice to just get on with it. I really must do it more often and only do my analysing sessions once a while.

After the ride I chatted to Jenny (Hamlet's owner) and she said that her sister rode Hamlet on Sunday and he was very supple and loose. Just for the record, Jenny's sister is one of those people who don't even ride very often but get the tune out of a horse; as Jenny said 'she just sat there and he went beautifully'.
Maybe this is it - once you have acquired certain skills and can do certain things the missing element is hidden in your head - however you want to interpret it...
For me, it is trying too hard. For someone else it might be general tension, undefined stress etc

I wish I could just programme myself now and always ride in such a good state of mind like today.


Suzie said...

Riding in front of people is the hardest thing! I don't mean in front of instructors or judges, but just other people at the yard can be so critical. Or at least, in my head I think they can! I find myself worrying about what other people think of how I'm riding, or how my horse is going. They're probably not interested, and I should just ignore their presence!

Remember that there is a (distinct) possibility that Hamlet went so well partly because you have been working on him. Give yourself some credit!

Unknown said...

Oh, thank you :) I am not too good in giving myself credit:)

Dressage Mom said...

As I was bringing Kaswyn back from his injury my trainer commented that I was riding too carefully. She said "Just sit down and ride, you won't break him!" Even though I am aware of this I sometimes still ride him like he's made out of glass. That doesn't help either one of us!

So when all else fails I sit down and ride!

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