I can stop questioning my nerves. They won’t get better until I ride or come to terms with Rodney &/or Milton. As long as those two remain gorgeous and useless, I will feel like a failure, which will erode my confidence, which will increase my anxiety. Simple as that.
Nerves – at least my nerves – compound themselves. Granted horses can always be dangerous. Hence the helmet. Given that, why am I such a mess before lessons and shows? I am doing three simple gaits on a reliable school horse in a contained environment. Why am I so damn nervous? What can I do to stop being so damn nervous? When does it get easier?
I have tried to fix the nerves with books [Show Report], self talk [Banishing the F-word, Embrace the Day], and professional help [And So We Leave Behind the Sports Psychology Adventure]. I have pondered the problem [too many links to list].
Despite all this, nerves are not getting better. If anything, they are gradually getting worse. At the last show [Report], I was so wound up before my classes that someone seriously suggested I look into anti-anxiety medicine. (I did. Only treats symptoms.) OTOH, I am usually in the first few classes. Waiting until the middle of the afternoon gave me way too much time to stew.
Then, at my most recent lesson, I was a stellar mess beforehand and – more troubling – I did not settle down once I started riding. Usually, I am okay once I get going [ibid]. OTOH, I rode a horse I have not ridden in a while, using a different saddle, in a group lesson. Each of these factors stresses my comfort level, so the combination of the three may have been a one-off in terms of nerves.
Although they rear their ugly, pointy heads there, I think my nerves have nothing to do with the kind horses and the nice people at the Saddlebred barn.
Why am I so damn nervous? Because of the home team.
What can I do to stop being so damn nervous? Fix the home team.
When does it get easier? When the home team gets fixed.
I’m not saying this is a healthy outlook, just the one I have to work with.
Thank you for reading,