|When shit gets hard, go trail riding.|
In the three days Annie had off due to her chiropractic adjustment, I busied myself with chores and taking Spud out. It was a nice little vacation, but as soon as Day 4 rolled around and I knew the mare was ready to go back to work, I sucked back at the opportunity to ride.
I mean, I still went out and rode the horse, but that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach wouldn't budge.
I have went through a mish-mash of emotions with Annie, and while she hasn't done anything necessarily bad, I feel myself expecting the worst and fearing the worst.
My poor mental state at Percentage Days/ Clear Rounds was kind of the nail in the coffin, I guess. Ever since then, I have had mixed feelings about getting in the saddle.
To be fair though, the horse hasn't done anything wrong. I realize she was very well behaved at the event and it can only go up from here. But, my anxious personality and "what if" mantra think otherwise.
And it is frustrating, because it can be downright debilitating.
Especially when the horse hasn't done anything wrong.
|Pictured: not doing anything wrong.|
But it didn't.
And I still pushed myself to ride, especially when I had those feelings.
And in a way, it made a huge difference when I started to accept those feelings instead of being ashamed of them and decided to experiment with what made me uncomfortable and why.
A short hack around the neighborhood wherein Annie called out twice nearly gave me a panic attack because ohmygod she's gonna bolt and slip on the pavement and we are both gonna die...
But guys. The horse is fine (Emma knows this mantra all too well, lol).
She is more than fine, actually.
She has a head-case of a rider who makes up shit in her head to be afraid of and the horse still shows up to work and still does the thing. Yes, the horse is starting to test the boundaries, but she hasn't crossed that line. So why am I on guard all the time when I go to put a foot in the stirrup?
Trust is a difficult thing to come by, and it's kind of like a game of tug of war. Nicole said it best with her Trust Bank metaphor, and I really have delved into what it all means and how it actually plays an integral role in mine and Annie's relationship.
Right now, we are chugging along and had I wrote this post when I had truly felt the crippling effects of the fear, it probably would've had a different tune. But now, I'm starting to get over it little by little. The trust bank is building up again and my mind is starting to feels the effects of it - I'm still riding the horse and if any of my followers are on my Facebook or Instagram, you will see that I am so very much enjoying my little mare.
|A sneak peek...|
Sidenote: I did not lose my stirrups, we were working on stirrupless.
Hilarity aside, I immediately felt braver and was able to crush down the anxious feeling by literally pretending I was an Olympic Gold medalist just causally hacking around the bush on a amateur friendly baby horse. It even transformed into my riding at the arena - when I asked for things I meant it, and I found myself asking properly vs just trying to voyage my shit-canoe around the arena.
It isn't a permanent fix obviously, but it is getting better. My random bouts of fear don't just attach themselves to horses - more recently they've attached themselves to my new job and the fears associated with that. Living with anxiety is a work in progress and I feel so very fortunate to have a horse that doesn't really feed off of the emotions I project. For a baby horse who could have all the excuses in the book, she plays pretty damn fair.
|She has finally attempted to graze undersaddle,|
but doesn't know what to do once the grass is in her mouth.
She carried it all the way from the riding arena back to the
barn and waited until I removed her bridle.
tldr; I was afraid of baby horse when baby horse did nothing wrong, or did regular baby stuff. So I summoned my inner Gold Medalist Dressage Queen and did the thing.