Monday, May 24, 2010

Fear? WTF?

So I like hockey. In hockey, if a team gets their opponent's goalie rattled, people say that the other team got in the goalie's head. If the goalie has to be pulled and the backup goalie put in because the main goalie's giving up too many goals, they call that chasing the goalie, or just "chasing him."

On Saturday, Rev got in my head, and then she chased me.

I have no idea what she was all up about, but she decided that the dogs sleeping outside the arena door made that corner super-scary. She would spook a little, not go into the corner, get all tight, et cetera. MT wanted to have me work on a canter exercise over a crossrail, but I was having problems in the trot, much less a canter. Rev getting all spooky and "up" got me good and scared. I have no idea why -- but for some reason, I get scared when she spooks or threatens to. It doesn't make much sense, because every time but one that she's spooked, I've just gone with it. I fell once, right when I was getting back on track this winter, but every other time, I've stayed on and then gone on doing what we were doing to begin with. Why I should have been so scared this weekend, I have no idea.

So when MT asked me to pick up the canter and try the exercise in the canter, I had to say something. I felt like I was riding a spring that was getting more and more tightly wound -- and I was scared of what would happen when that potential energy became kinetic energy. And I was afraid that picking up the canter would trigger that explosion. So I just came out and said it: "Reveille's spooking at that corner, and I ... I'm afraid." MT said he was glad I'd told him, then told me to start circling in that corner, trying to school her out of her spookiness.

But -- she'd gotten to me by then. I ended up asking MT if he'd be willing to get on her and help me, because I didn't know what I needed or how to get there or anything. He did, and he schooled her hard. Much more aggressively than I could have, in the mindset I was in. Basically, she chased me like a goalie. Put the backup goalie in, I'm rattled. I was simultaneously incredibly grateful to MT for getting on her and terribly ashamed that I'd had to ask.

But in the end, after Rev jumped really well for him, MT told me that he'd much rather I tell him when I get scared like that than not say anything, get scareder and scareder, and then eventually fall off. Me falling doesn't help me at all, and it doesn't help Rev either. So -- if I get to the point where I'm completely ineffective because of fear, I should say something. I'm glad I did, but it was still not a good feeling.

Of course, I then had a cold knot of fear in my stomach for the rest of the day. I felt like I had to do SOMETHING to create order, to kind of discharge my neurosis of wanting to Do It Right, so I bought a plastic drawer unit and reorganized my tack locker. ;) I felt a lot better after doing something productive and successful.

So when I went back to ride on Sunday, I set up ground poles in a line similar to the exercise MT had asked me to do -- no jumping outside of lessons, otherwise I'd have worked the exact same exercise. Then I longed Rev in the scary corner until I was satisfied that she wouldn't be a nincompoop and until I felt confident in her. When I mounted up, we worked in that end of the arena until I felt confident in myself. Then we moved out to work in the whole arena, then worked the ground pole exercise I'd set up, both at the trot and at the canter. Focusing hard on my three-point seat and riding the rhythm I wanted, working hard at getting a steady rhythm into, during, and out of the poles.

And yknow ... everything went just fine. Nobody freaked out. The canter poles went brilliantly -- I sat my butt in the saddle, rode my rhythm and my line, and everything happened in stride.

Take THAT, little fear demon. I got this. :)

1 comment:

  1. I am glad you got off when you knew you couldn't work though...well let me rephrase that...I know you could have worked through it, and I bet MT did as well, but the fact that you thought you couldn't get through it and acknowledged that and got off is an admirable thing to do. Plus, you got on and fixed the problem when you were comfortable so double bonus!