Twenty minutes and only a handful of jumps into my very first lesson with LJO as my new teacher, Raglan hopped over the second part of a tiny line, dropped his head between his knees, and proceeded to dolphin buck me into the dirt (while I chanted “you a**hole, you a**hole, you a**hole” as LOUDLY as possible).
I was pissed. More than that, though, I was shaken. I told LJO that I didn’t want to do it anymore, but she just gave me The Look (LOL), so we jumped the line again. It went fine.
But even though I was physically unscathed, my confidence plummeted. My mind kept replaying the fall. I felt like I couldn’t trust Raglan not to pull the same move again. Every time we trotted up to a jump I found myself grabbing at his face, just so that I could be 100% sure that his nose didn’t come below his chest.
I knew LJO was right and I needed to let it go and move past it, but my anxiety wouldn’t let me. I held him back as much as possible. I kept half-halting, even when I didn’t need to. Like the saint he is, Raglan went slower and slower until he was barely trotting the jumps—like they were tiny raised cavaletti.
And then we put the course together and we made it to the oxer.
Halfway over the oxer, I started to wonder what the hell I was doing. Somewhere between the moment his front feet left the ground and the moment his back feet touched down, my thoughts petered out and my grit took over. I landed with my leg on and pushed him forward. We attacked the next fences.
We ended the lesson feeling good about our comeback. I was super happy with what I’d accomplished emotionally! Six months ago I wouldn’t have been able to continue jumping after a fall like that.
In the days since, my confidence still hasn’t been quite what it used to be—but that’s okay. I’m not sure my anxiety will ever be entirely gone, but over the past couple of years I’ve made huge progress in learning how to manage and overcome it. I’m proud of myself for overcoming Monday’s setback. 💗