No, this is not a political post. Apologies to Elizabeth Warren, but I’ve decided that phrase neatly summarizes my efforts to become a good rider. Okay, maybe I should really say “adequate rider.” Right now “good rider” feels like I’d be setting the bar too high.
Have you ever had those “I suck at this and should be banned from ever throwing my leg across a horse’s back” rides? The kind where you feel that your brain is telling your body parts what to do and those body parts are replying “No comprende.”
I’ve had several of those rides recently. Some nights I just give up and say “Tonight’s just a fitness night, Indy. We’re going to do trot and canter sets with you on the buckle and Mommy in a two-point so I can say I’m building strength and doing something productive.”
It’s not all bad. I have had some successes. Instead of being Queen Calculator (adding strides to Every.Single.Fence) I have been riding boldly to fences, almost like I did when I was a kid. Mind you, I feel like an unbalanced sack of potatoes cowboying her way around a course, but at least I’m doing the numbers. I yearn for the day when I can actually produce a smooth round, but lately that day feels more like a fantasy than a potential reality.
Another bright moment was the other day when one of my trainers was riding Indy and said that Indy was becoming more fun to ride, as he was more broke and balanced. That was nice to hear. My trainer does the occasional training ride on Indy, but 90% of his training over the year I’ve had him has been done by my daughter and me. So that made me feel that I can’t suck too badly, as at least he’d improved. And of course I ruined that moment by thinking, “Imagine what he’d feel like now if he’d gotten more training rides.” Sometimes I wish I could tell my mind to just shut the hell up for once. I try, but it never listens.
Despite feeling that I will never be more than an adequate rider at best, I still try. I take regular lessons when I’m not traveling. I do my best to ride five days a week. I read books and try to incorporate what I’ve learned into my riding.
So while I may never be a good rider, there is one thing I feel I can say about myself. Whether it’s folly, stubborn bullheadedness, or sheer determination, at least I’ve persisted.