Friday, November 6, 2015

Confidence is a blessing and a curse (Sunday lesson recap)

My apologies on posting this soooo late, but I participated this week in a CHA certification clinic that required much more of my energy than I realized it would. I will happily post on that experience if anyone is interested, but I tend to keep this blog related to Tillie's training progress rather than my own goals in this industry (although they do somewhat overlap).

The Merriam-Webstar dictionary defines confidence as: 

: a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something
: a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something
: the feeling of being certain that something will happen or that something is true
Tillie sometimes is an enthusiastic overachiever in the belief at succeeding towards something. 
 I struggle with the concept of confidence when applying it to myself. I see it as both a strength and a weakness...get too confident and you may get too complacent and trusting which increases the risk for margin of error. But have too little confidence and you risk harboring tension, setting you and your horse up for self fulfilling prophecy and literally set yourself up to fail.

I am receiving Tillie dishing me a big plate of her own confidence which tends to mean a smaller plate of my own. 

Because the sport of horseback riding has two living organisms that can adapt and have brains, the confidence can fall under both the horse's confidence, as well as the rider. It can depend day by day, ride by ride or even moment by moment.

Everyone has had something make them question their faith in their ability. And everyone has also sat on that horse who shaken their confidence to the core.

By Webster's definition, I have the most ridiculously faithful confidence in Tillie (I also think I am biased so it may not be true and so I doubt my own thoughts here): I think she is talented, wickedly smart, athletic and has the most enthusiastic work ethic I have come across in any horse.

I am so tired mom, but I did good right?
Of course I think highly of her. I have put time into her, not to mention some may tears, a lot of blood and quite a bit of stress.  At this point, the time i have invested weighs on the influence of my "belief" in Tilie getting it done. ("It" being my goals as a competitive team).

Part of me questions if I am being stubborn and blind to her lack of talent - we never get raved over, recognized or praised as being above average in most cases (f anything its negative attention for doing things wrong!)

I hear fellow riders and their horses receive so much praise and it forces me to question why arent We getting it? Are we falling short?...and so the downhill decline begins.

Lesson Recap:

I went onto a C lesson feeling very defeated after our XC school in my last post. I was not only lacking confidence in me and my riding ability, but Tilile's ability to achieve what is needed jumping such solid obstacles.

Galloping like this is a perfect example of where my doubts come from

What I love about these lessons is the comfort level to question and get into theory a bit more. I am not nearly as intimidated with this instructor. We immediately started off warming up in the canter with opening the stride and letting Tillie loose, then asking her to engage her core and come back with my seat, even if it took 15 circles. Oddly enough it was the same warm up exercise D has us do the day before XC.

Tillie responded beautifully so we began trotting fences to warm up which lead up to:

Tillie clearly things 2'11 is cakewalk.

Lessons with C are always lessons I leave feeling encouraged and strong. I can make mistakes time and time again and still fee like it was constructive. More importantly, my horse gives me the greatest feedback. She is so willing in every lesson I have had with C to the point where I think C thinks I make up some of my woes lol.

Now on to cantering the jumps as a warm up..I folded a bit too much with my upper body and miss Tillie splendidly took care of me.

I came into the lesson asking for help on my position weaknesses I have been seeing lately. I know what needs to change and could describe when I see it on anyone else, but actually applying it to myself I need help. What is neat about C lessons is she gave me a few key phrases that made sense in my brain and, VOILA, my lower leg and tense back was much improved. Not perfect, but really could feel and see a difference here in these videos. 

Another try here not leading as much with the shoulder.

After this, we moved on to jumping an oxer. Clearly I struggled with not riding enough the first time through. I struggle with this line of over riding Tillie and letting her figure it out. 

We eventually progressed to a bending line (Love how when we do these I get a more focused horse...bending + more to think about = much more engaged and happy Tillie)

First attempt at the bending line. 

Final attempt:


  1. Awesome final ride! Sounds like C gave you just what you needed.

  2. i love bending lines for getting a more focused horse too lol. glad it was such an awesome lesson - tillie looks great in the videos :)