2019 was, in some ways, one of the strangest of my riding career. It was our first year in KY where I really had the time, schedule, and situation to regularly take lessons… I think I can count on one hand the number of lessons I missed… and nearly all of them were made up with pro rides for May.
We came out of the box strong with our first recognized event in several years AND my first two day eventing competition. After finishing in 2nd on our Dressage score at Starter, it was deemed that we were no longer a Starter pair. So the jumps went up. Our dreams went up.
A sick dog derailed our Spring and Summer show plans, but I am eternally grateful that the issue only cost us time and money. Things got kicked down the road.
We did make it to another show. Basically the last one of the season. But it was my first overnight show with May. Our first time back in the BN ring since May of 2016 AND we finished with just one rail added to our dressage score. My dream of galloping across the KHP and splashing through the iconic head of the lake were realized… and I did the whole thing with my team AND in a tutu.
Lessons continued, but something else kept creeping in. Doubt.
As the jumps went up, May started to demand a different ride. Our perfect 2’6″ courses turned into 3′ courses with issues. Videos that used to be slowed down for perfect screenshots were now being slowed down, frame by frame, to analyze every moment of imperfection.
How could I not notice her shoulder falling out there?
Why are 3″ causing my entire equitation to fall apart?
Why can’t I ride like I was JUST riding?
It has taken me a while to even write this post because, to be totally honest, I am not sure what the solution is. Part of me knows that this is all a normal part of the process. That sometimes things are a bit ugly before they get better. It isn’t dangerous. May isn’t losing confidence.
But you know what? I am. The last time I felt really confident on a SJ course? This one in early October. Was every decision perfect? No. But I MADE decisions that made sense.
Part of this is just because we really haven’t jumped much. We had our competition in October. She got a bit of time off. Then between holidays and frozen ground – we’ve only had 2 jump lessons.
So here I am. At the end of the year. At the end of the decade. I know what I want. I want to feel confident and comfortable jumping my horse. I want to enjoy the ride. And I am not sure if the pursuit of higher fences is really what I even want to be doing. So lessons will continue, I am already starting to look at the calendar for 2020 shows, and I am desperately squirreling money away for the unicorn saddle.
But all the mental gymnastics I did in 2019 were 100% worth the moments that went right. I would take 1,000 moments of doubt for just that one moment of success you feel after an amazing XC course with amazing people cheering you on.
So for one last time in this decade, I wish you all a Happy New Year! May your 2020 be filled with all your 12 yr old, horse crazy dreams coming true.