In the weeks before Nationals, I had two-a-day lessons for two weeks. (More on this later). I improved commensurately. I improved so much that I undoubtedly lifted myself from the pastels into the primary colors. (For purposes of discussion, green or sixth place, counts as a pastel.) Hence the redesign of my predictions [Show Today].
I improved so much that I entertained fantasies of winning the whole thing. I envisioned a ribbon rack holding eight blues, including two National Championships and the driving Championship. As it turned out, I was deeply wrong about my ribbon haul [Show Report]. However, once the idea of a blue streak was planted in my head it would not go away.
This rendered me EXTREMELY nervous. Last year, I could barely eat my breakfast by Sunday. This year, I was that nervous on the first day. (By the second day, I had much less to worry about, but I digress.) The possibility of doing that well put me in a very weird head space. It didn’t end up affecting the way I rode, but it made the ramp up way too tense. Bottom line, if I am that nervous, I am not as ready as I think I am.
Contrast this with my attitude before the Equitation Final. I knew – down to my seatbones knew – that if I could qualify to ride the pattern, I would lay down the best line in the class. I might not win the class, but I would win the pattern. Bring. It. On.
It’s the difference between hope and confidence.