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Feel the fear and ride anyway – Spring 2019

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It’s confession time – I’ve broken nearly all my New Year’s resolutions. I’m no thinner, I haven’t made the effort to look less like I crawled out of a hedge and I rarely wash or moisturise my face before bed. However, I’ve cut out mid-week alcohol consumption, and I’ve been more productive on the riding front. 

All geared up

Motivation to save is at the top of my to-do list. I’m feeling the financial pinch and, despite having two jobs, I still haven’t managed to fund my lorry’s MOT or British Eventing membership. 

The funny thing about motivation is how quickly it comes and goes. Things can side-track you and I often find myself putting things off in favour of unproductive social media scrolling.

My motivation with the horses has been better, though, and I’ve tried hard to ride at least one of them every day. Clipping Pat means I’ve had to get my backside in gear, too. He was so hairy and getting so sweaty that I couldn’t put it off any longer. But now, I really have no excuse, which has spurred me on to do more with him. 

Helping hand

Having my husband around over the holidays reminded me how much fun it is to have someone cheering you on. He builds huge fences I’d never dream of jumping alone, and he videos and photographs so I can watch it back and improve. Take it in turns with a mate, ask your mum or your partner – you’ll be amazed how much more you can achieve. 

Get up and goal

This newfound motivation to ride has boosted my confidence, too, and riding more often is helping me diminish my nerves. I’ve also made some changes that’ve helped my mindset…

banning the dressage saddle I invested a lot of money in a jumping saddle last year – it’s secure, grippy and fits both horses really well, but I still favour my £150 dressage saddle at times because I can’t jump, gallop or do silly things in it. It’s an excuse to walk and trot in circles, but that won’t improve my confidence

new jumps for the field I bought 10 blue barrels and, at just £50 for the lot, they’re the best purchase I’ve made in years! I’ve jumped them all – with and without poles, standing upright and laying on their sides. I’ve made skinnies, grids, fillers, courses and oxers.  They’ve been great for de-spooking Pat and I have to be brave because the height options are 75cm or 1.05m. Jumping over a metre each time will set me up super-confidently for BE90s this year

having Pea to boost my confidence Pat’s a spooky horse and tricky to get the best out of – often leaving me feeling inadequate as a rider – so having Pea to ride as well is making me feel better about my capabilities. She isn’t easy to get a tune out of either, but when I ride her correctly, she’s soon working well. Even after just 20 minutes of schooling in the field, she makes me feel amazing

a secret goal Last year, my goals were wishy-washy and I wasn’t focused on what I wanted to achieve. This year, I have an event and height in mind without the pressure of thousands of people knowing. This takes away the fear of disappointing people and also means I feel less pressured to do well. Ending last season with a cross-country refusal at BE80 has certainly made me want to prove to myself that we’re capable of more

Time to reflect

Thinking about that last point, if you have a rubbish day on paper, or you feel that you’ve let yourself down, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just get out and train harder, be the rider you know you can be and take courage from it. That’s what I’m going to do this month – there isn’t long before my secret goal’s out in the open! 

Until next time, 

Vic, Pat and Pea

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