My stomach acid generators are two-fold, if interrelated. On one hand, I get nervous before lessons and shows with the Saddlebreds. On the other hand, I am a basket-case about my own horses. Clearly, solving the latter would go a long way to reducing the former. If I was happy about the home team, I’d be a lot happier about a lot of things.
The morning after my appointment, I had a lesson. Dr. Margaret’s first exercise was thought observation. Oh look. A nervous thought. How interesting. Don’t do anything. Don’t freak out. Just watch.
Did it help? Not really. It wasn’t going to. One iteration of an exercise does not impart immediate zen-like calm. Progress is built up slowly, each layer as thin as a sheet of paper.
I was fine watching my nerves. It might have helped a small amount. Then my stomach started to hurt. That’s when I caved and asked to ride Sam instead of the horse I was scheduled to ride. I say “caved” because it was definitely a retreat into my comfort zone.
The ride went well, great even. Riding is not the problem. My nerves disappear as soon as the curtain goes up. (And may I add, I fervently hope this continues to be the case.)
In thinking about lessons, I realized two things. First, lessons are closer to shows than to hacking in the backyard on Previous Horse. There is an element of judgment by an outside party, if only ‘What do we need to work on next?’ Therefore, I should not be surprised by an addition of adrenaline. I may wish it were otherwise, but wishing won’t make it so.
Second. Not my horse. Not my barn. Not my program. This might be an improvement. My barn and my program may be a disaster zone at the moment, but they are mine. No matter how welcoming the host, no matter how nice the house, being a guest is never the same as being in your own space.
Dr. Marget also had ideas for building a better relationship with Milton. I will leave discussion of that for next week.
At least, I think that is what she said. All errors mine.