I came off yesterday.
It was the first jump of the second course of our lesson, so pretty early on. We cantered up slowly to a 2’3″ oxer. I leaned for him to jump at a spot that was maybe a smidge long, and he put his feet back down. I fell completely on his neck and then popped off to the side in front of the jump.
I fell hard and got the wind knocked out of me. It was one of those falls where you know pretty much immediately that nothing major is hurt, but you don’t exactly bounce back up either. Today I kind of feel like I’ve been run over by a truck, but I’ll certainly survive.
When I got back on, my trainer lowered the oxer to a vertical and he stopped again. I had to get after him a bit. Then we had a series of pretty ugly jumps over it, and finally ended on a short course of about 3-4 cross rails. He felt fine by the end, but they were cross rails… I was pretty much completely unnerved. I should also add that on our last crossrail course, he did two clean lead changes. I’m calling them guilt changes.
On the drive home from the barn it is safe to say that I was not the most positive thinker ever. My thoughts ranged from, “If he does lead changes I’m just fucking going back to hunters” to “If I can learn to love dressage I’ll never have to be scared again.” Neither one of these thoughts are very fair, because my horse and I have been doing really well lately. Video proof from a lesson earlier last week.
The problem is two fold. My biggest fears are simultaneously falling off from a horse stopping at a jump (aka yesterday) and turning my horse into a stopper from shitty riding. If I took the world’s most honest jumper and turned him into a stopper because I’m an emotional basket case, I don’t think I could forgive myself.
I know we will get over this, but last time it took about two months and I didn’t fall nearly as hard as I did yesterday. The fear is real with me. One of my favorite things of the year, the hunter derby, is in two weeks. The derby is basically a sea of 2’6″ oxers that you can’t school ahead of time. If we can’t be brave, we can’t do it.
Twenty four hours after, I’m really trying to put on my brave and positive thinking cape. When I first fell off I told my trainer I wanted her to ride him over a million oxers, but I changed my tune to instead ask for a private lesson Tuesday night. I know I was riding too slow to the oxer and I also know that I leaned a tad too much, however I can’t stop thinking that Simon totally let me down on his end of the deal. That’s not rational thinking, but it’s the truth.
I won’t make any decisions about the show until next week. Just going to shake this off the best I can and try to improve my riding between now and then. That’s probably a healthier action plan than curling up in a fetal position and giving up jumping entirely.
Falls happen. Stops happen. It’s part of riding, and riding is humbling.