I grew up going to NCSU (go pack!) games with my Dad.  Every year he had season tickets to football and basketball, and I would join him at least a few times per season.  We both liked basketball the best, and the reason my Dad prefers basketball to football is that he says that basketball is a momentum sport.  The team’s performance swings a lot in highs and lows, and some good momentum can really turn the game around.

I do not think riding is a momentum sport.

Case in point: I had a fantastic lesson on Thursday.  We worked on some specific issues, and my horse was eager and listening and just fabulous.  He felt forward and relaxed and totally in my pocket for whatever we wanted to do… we even got another clean lead change!  I left the barn feeling on top of the world, despite a head cold that I had been ignoring all week in hopes it would go away.


P.S., ignoring a head cold is not the best thing you can do.  Spoiler alert – I spent all weekend feeling crappy.

Friday I gave him the day off since he jumped around so much on Thursday, and made plans for some excellent work over the weekend.  My trainer gave me a list of things to practice and I was pumped.  He did so well, we were just going to ride that positive momentum and keep excelling until we left for the show on Friday.  Easy peasy!

I’m sure you see where this is going.

Saturday I trudged out to the barn even though I didn’t feel well.  Simon didn’t behave badly or do anything wrong, but he wasn’t fun to ride.  He was just overall kind of grumpy and annoyed to be working, which is very unlike him.  I even had the thought that he might have felt physically off, but decided every horse has an off day and not to worry about it.  Even with me not being 100% on my A game and him not being 100% on his a-game, we still had a decent ride.  Practiced straightness cantering over poles, got a skip-change in his hard direction and schooled the counter canter… which he did very, very well.  I hosed him off and enjoyed taking some pictures of him galloping around his paddock like a moron (I use that term lovingly).



Sunday was lesson day, and I pretty much knew immediately that it was not going to be awesome.  Simon was fine.  He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad at all but I was pretty much a complete and total asshat.  I felt awful, it was near 90 degrees (wtf where is winter?!?) and my legs felt like wet noodles.  What made it super frustrating is that this should have been a really enjoyable lesson, because my trainer had us do really complicated questions and hard courses and that is my favorite thing to work on.  Instead, I rode like an idiot.

I got frustrated at my horse when he didn’t deserve it.  I was too harsh with my hands and weak in my core.  I couldn’t find most distances to save my life, and even the fence height at one point bothered me… which hasn’t bothered me at all lately.  It was a simple 2’6″ vertical and I felt myself clamming up as I cantered up to it… so of course we chipped (badly).

Basically, I sucked.  It wasn’t my mistakes as a rider that sucked, but my frustration and taking it out on Simon who never deserves it.  My trainer called me out on it after the lesson in a nice but reality check kind of way, and she was totally right.  Momentum gone.


So now I’m going to tell myself that Simon will forgive me for being an ass, and it’s not like I hauled at him and beat him or scarred him for life.  I did give him a bad ride, but he’ll get a training ride this week and we’ll do some calm hacks before another lesson on Thursday before the show.  My cold will go away, and I won’t ride like an idiot this weekend.

It’ll be fine, and I’ll get my good momentum back.

17 thoughts on “Momentum

  1. Everyone has rides like that. I always try (it’s hard) to focus on the idea, that dwelling on it cannot change, and won’t help us later on. The best thing about having horses is the chance to do it better the next time. That’s what we ask of them right? 🙂

    Simon looks happy in those pictures! Good luck on your next hacks!

  2. Must be the week. Or the full moon. Or the time of the month.

    Who the hell knows . . . if Simon is like Ashke, you’ll have your best ride ever the next time you go out. Good thing they have such big hearts.

  3. I’m sorry for your bad ride but I couldn’t help but chuckle- my boyfriend and I talk about this a lot. He grew up a basketball/baseball jock and was great at his sport… momentum sports. Because of it, he carries with him an air of arrogance that drives me CRAZY sometimes. I laugh because I always tell him there’s no way anyone can be too arrogant for long in the horse world. As soon as you reach a peak, you’re plummeting back down on the other side. It’s always a constant up and down struggle- you just hope you’re making progress forward rather then backwards in the overall picture. Definitely keeps you from being big-headed, though! I hope this week goes better and you have a great show 🙂

  4. That’s why I don’t ride when I’m sick… feeling bad makes me a cranky, easily frustrated, short tempered person who doesn’t ride well and is no fun to be around lol. So yeah I hide when I’m sick. I hope you feel better quickly!!

    P.S. I love his sweet face! The way his snip oozes down his nostril is so adorable!

  5. Ugh! I hate that clammy feeling up to a fence and know exactly how those nerves feel! It’s like- if I just go a little slower and add one more stride…..then I just hold all the way to the base.
    Remember- it never LOOKS as bad as it FEELS! Don’t be too hard on yourself!

  6. Don’t worry, horses rarely hold a grudge. A couple of easy hacks followed by a good lesson sounds like just the plan to clear it out of your head.

    PS I think pretty much any top rider could tell you that riding isn’t a momentum sport!

  7. Heh, I had a similar ride this weekend. Sometimes I have to remember that in the end, the #1 goal is to be friends with my horse — if he’s not being bad and I’m riding like shit, we HAVE to be friends — it’s not his fault!

  8. Yup, we have all had those days. It is especially tough when it happens during a lesson because you feel the need to keep riding. I’ve finally learned to either just get off or go for a hack when I feel my attitude deteriorating. But, I’ve had my bad days too, for sure. Simon will definitely forgive you.

  9. I hate when I have given my horse a bad ride. It’s worse when someone else calls me on it. Sending you positive thoughts and vibes. We ALL have been there!

  10. Definitely not a momentum sport, haha. One day R>L flying lead changes, next day NADA! Maybe that’s why we keep going back to the barn everyday. And darn it, if horses aren’t a lesson in perseverance. Get well soon 🙂

  11. Simon was over it 5 minutes after it happened. Hell, he was probably over it 1 minute after it happened. Jane Savoie recently published a blurb about how horses only live in the NOW. It’s so true! It’s just not in their nature to hold a grudge. 😉

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