Two years ago I had decided I was going to start BE – I tried BE before my 2 now teenage children were born – but back then the entry level was pre-novice with heights of 3’7″ – that’s approx 110cm. It was just too big for me – I was happy doing up to 1m show jumping and xc at local competitions but 110 was just too scary!
So, I booked onto a series of clinics to prepare us for the 2016 season. An initial lesson with a new instructor over an 80 arena eventing course didn’t go well – we were whizzing over all sorts when I just got jumped out of the saddle. I landed on my back but my head took a bit of a bashing. I took my time to come to then sat at the side of the arena whilst my poor new instructor took my horse around the course. I don’t remember anything for the first half hour after the fall.
An enforced trip to A&E (enforced by my mum!) passed me as ok. I was definitely NOT ok! I was too dizzy to drive for 3 weeks, had dreadful spasms in my back for about the same time, was very slow to communicate with people and obviously couldn’t ride! Whilst I returned to riding after 3-4 weeks, I was still getting dizzy spells – I bent over at home and fell on the dog one day and brushing my horses legs could get interesting! I didn’t jump for 6 months.
Along came Wobbleberries late Summer 2016 – perfect timing for me and I completely embraced it. I hooked up with a top instructor who was known for getting riders’ confidence back. I started in October and kept up regular lessons throughout the winter. Learning to jump again was THE hardest thing I’ve ever done – EVER. I had to force myself just to drive to the lesson, clock watched the whole way through and initially had regular melt downs when the poles went from on the ground to 40cm cross poles. It was VERY hard, however I managed to jump some whoppa fences with my instructor – both show jumping and cross country, including the one in this post.
BUT I really struggled on my own – I worried about the heights (apparently that is A THING) and the spreads. I’d have to take a deep breath before each fence and had a tendency to stop riding a few strides away resulting sometimes in a refusal – all my fault! I was happy at 70 – I just couldn’t stretch that to 80. I’d been SO confident that I’d achieve a BE 80 in 2017 but as the months went by I just always seemed just a tiny step away.
We had an enforced break over Christmas with a month in Australia for a family wedding. Tough I know! I think it’s been a big help! Initially I was concerned that I was starting late and would be on catch up. At our first session jumping, Minty was completely wild. I was really concerned about just cantering him! I’d told my instructor that whatever happened I HAD to jump, even 40cm on the lesson – it was all a tad nerve wracking!
I followed that up with a lesson over a few fences. Minty was back to Mr Chill and I actually enjoyed it!
It then dawned on me that I was SICK and tired of allowing my fall to adversely affect my jumping AND stop me from doing what I want to do – a BE80. I happily referred to it whenever and wherever I could. I realised I HAD to stop talking about it – it has to be released from my brain. It CAN’T define me any longer. I have to discard it and allow my brain to ENJOY jumping and focus on achieving. – Doh – why have I allowed it to affect me for so long? 2 years is plenty long enough. It’s time to let go.
And so I set up a plan to gradually increase my jumping height up to 80cm. This week my target was 65cm. Well I SMASHED that. Minty was just blobbing over the 55cm fences so I told my sister assistant to raise them – up to 65cm, then higher still – to 78cm. First attempt was not decisive – forgot to use my legs but after that we did a couple of great jumps.
I KNEW I had to consolidate that so tonight we popped it again……. AND I didn’t have to take a deep breath – just got him into a nice rhythm, kept my eye on the fence and RODE to it! Ah and he popped it very nicely.
I feel that I’m finally free of the burden that was holding me back – EEK Bring it on!