I just purchased my very own optimum time event watch which I guess means I am serious about making time on cross country. Which I guess means I am going to learn how to gallop.
It’s interesting to me that as adults we tend to think about all of the what ifs, whereas when I was a kid, I couldn’t care less about the what ifs. And I assume I am not wrong in saying most adults, like me, think about “what if there is a hole my horse steps in while galloping?” “What if she spooks at that jump judge?” “What if she hits the front of the table and flips over it?”
Ok, so maybe I go to the extreme with the what ifs, but they definitely mess with my mind on cross country and then mess with my speed. Right before the jump I do exactly what you aren’t supposed to do. I mess with my horse. I get nervous and stop my arms from following and stiffen. It’s a really bad coping strategy, and I am lucky I have such a nice horse.
So, this is the year I stop with the what ifs and stop with the horrible coping strategy. I’ve already started some mental exercises of picturing myself approaching the jump. I sit up, put my leg on and continue to follow with my hands. Georgie and I jump the enormous table beautifully and she thanks me for not messing with her three strides before the jump. Oh, and in these images, my hands look totally normal. It’s amazing!
We’ve already started some cross country schooling. Last week we did a lot of galloping and we jumped a 2’3 coop/table over and over. Georgie wanted to leave out the last stride before the jump so we had some schooling to do. Over and over.
But then we galloped. And I will admit the first and second time I thought “What if Maizey the dog is hiding behind that jump when I gallop by it?” Or “What if there are holes in this field?” But by the third gallop, when we went the fastest, I said to myself “If she trips or spooks and I fall off, at least I’ve got this air vest I spent a fortune on” and I urged her forward into an even bigger gallop. And guess what? As I pulled her up at the end of the field, an entire herd of elk came crashing out of the bushes and ran about 40 yards in front of us. One after another. And Georgie and I watched them and didn’t care, or think “What if they came crashing out when I was galloping?” Because they didn’t, and even if they had everything still would have been ok.