No Pretty Riding

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“There’s way too much pretty riding going on! She’s pretty enough already!”

Now….. there’s a quote you don’t hear everyday.

And it’s a particularly odd day when BadEventer gets accused of riding “pretty”.

But there it was and things weren’t going particularly well.

I had fallen off during my last cross country school – which unfortunately was also my first time jumping since breaking my leg…..

and this time I was mostly just trying to stay in the tack.

But in this sport concentrating on staying on, doesn’t leave room for concentrating on getting over the jumps.

And we didn’t get over them very well that day. Of course it was the last outing prior to the show.

3 days later I was headed to warm up at the show and it was the first time I can remember in AGES where I thought I might throw up when I stepped into the stirrup.

It wasn’t because I didn’t know what I was doing.

It made me think of my arrival to Florida as a working student.

I had always imagined that you would be particularly fit if you rode horses all day everyday. So when I arrived at my working student gig and found out that the fearless leader rides all day and then…………………goes to the gym

I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

At the time I couldn’t imagine working out after riding 8 or 10 horses.

And then little by little I got fitter

and my riding got better

and I got even more fit

and my reflexes got better

and then I realized that it’s not really about how¬† you do when things go well, it’s how quickly you react when they don’t

and that has everything to do with fitness.

This weekend I really pulled it all together in my head.

I was thinking about tossing up my breakfast on the way to the show jump ring because I knew I wasn’t strong or quick. In the past when I felt that way I didn’t understand that it was because I was a slug.

A smart person once said there are four reasons people get out of horses. Fear, frustration, feeling like a failure, lack of fun, and therefore lack of funds.

Most people don’t keep finding the funds to pay for something they don’t like.

I’m going to add that fear, frustration and feeling like a failure all have a direct correlation to fitness.

If you can’t get your body in the right place because you’re not strong enough it gets pretty frustrating,

and when you can’t react quickly enough when things go wrong it’s pretty scary.

I managed to survive the first warm up and while I was less than thrilled we managed to jump around.

On the 3rd day of the show I was on my last ride. I had headed out on cross country and there was a big turn between jump 2 and 3. I needed to sit down, make the turn and put my leg on.

I always know when I’m fatigued if I feel like I can’t sit down. It’s so much easier to hover in my “pretty princess” jump position.

I remember coming up to the turn, knowing I should sit down and feeling

my life force ebbing

And I thought OH SHIT BADEVENTER sit the F down!

The rest of the course was sheer mind over lack-of-fitness as I stuffed my hesitant body into position & my hesitant pony over every jump.

I was so mad about the whole thing, when I got home I went for a run!

But no worries, there was definitely NO pretty riding.

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