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,
2 thoughts on “Nerves Update, April 2016”
Now don’t hate your fairy godmother for saying this. But if I’d known how profound your nerves problem is, I likely wouldn’t have sent you a lovely OTTB. I would have found you a Steady Eddie QH or a sporty draft cross that you could re-learn to breathe upon. You know I love my TBs as much as you do, and the idea of downgrading to something less athletic or less gorgeous (or, well, differently gorgeous) isn’t something you want to wrap your head around … but you also don’t need a twink from my magic wand to tell you that they’re not the ideal horse for a nervous rider, regardless of the source of the nerves.
So perhaps these are indeed not the horses you need at this particular moment in your life, and we should find you one who is?
However Milton got here, he’s here and he’s not leaving. While he may be frustrating the humans (me first in line) with this lack of show career, from his POV, he’s enjoying life as a lawn ornament/potential driving horse/Rodney annoyer. He gets daily work and attention. He’s becoming quite a softie, despite his desire to convince the world of his grumpiness.
A third horse would most likely be a driving horse, perhaps an OTStB.
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