I’ve been riding my horse almost every day for two years. After a move to a new barn a year ago, we’ve faltered, have had hiccups, and have fallen behind. I ride almost every day, and in the duration of one year, we’ve barely progressed. After spending 12 months trotting in circles, being scared to canter, and not even considering jumps, we’re just now starting to make progress again.
But let’s go back for a second.
Two years ago, I owned a yoga studio, ran an online yoga membership program for equestrians, brought my well-mannered and always-willing mare to two jumper shows with successful results (her first time showing, and my first time back in the show ring in about 13-14 years), and felt like finally, I was going somewhere.
When I decided to move to a different barn, it suddenly all came down to me and I let my thoughts (and in-action) get the better of me.
I became feeling intimidated by more established riders, self-conscious of my abilities, questioning my decisions, and paralyzed in my actions. The thought “who do you think you are?” became the new norm, and not only stifled
my our growth, but actually made us go backward.
My well-mannered and always-willing mare became anxious, irritable, and sometimes even dangerous.
In early January of this year, Sota threw me off (and it wasn’t the first time). We were having a lesson and I was asking her to do something that we hadn’t been practicing while being tense and unsure about it in my own body. Sota had enough of my incompetence so she did something about it. And after that night, I did too.
I realized all the stories I had been telling myself; all the excuses I had been making; all the limitations I had set. I realized that I had expectations for something that I hadn’t been willing to work towards, and I realized that I was keeping us small by letting fear take over.
I was so afraid of failure that I was subconsciously keeping myself safe by not even trying. (‘Cause if you don’t try, then you can’t fail)
I’m not sure of the exact moment that the shift started to occur; perhaps it was a long-time crack that had been there for a while, just small enough not to make an impact, until it finally started to break away and become unavoidable. Whatever it was, it’s now big enough that there isn’t any going back.
My horse was bored with my self-consciousness; she needed a partner, not a liability.
It’s like those people that always complain about being stuck in life, and how nothing good ever happens to them, yet they always stay in their same safe space and never try anything new… Eventually, you get tired of listening to them complain and you stop meeting them for coffee.
Something shifted in my self and I’m realizing that I do deserve to take up space, I do deserve to try (and fail, and try again), and my horse deserves that same grace too.
So here I am, writing this blog, and pressing publish. Setting up poles, cantering circles, and looking between perked, enthusiastic ears. And reminding myself that age-old quote,
Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.Henry Ford