You know that euphoric feeling when your riding session goes great, you did everything (or most things!) right and your horse went fantastically well? Do you feel on top of the world? Like you are finally getting somewhere with your riding? Finally feeling improvement?
Oh I do remember those sessions myself!
What about those sessions when you got off and before your feet even touched the ground you were browsing the possibilities to commence breeding hamsters, collecting lady bird figurines or something equally bizarre, anything but to ride again. You felt useless and like you were not doing right by your horse (he would do so much better with my trainer! I am holding him back!). Your brain frantically considered sale of the horse and perhaps even giving up riding all together.
I do remember those training sessions too
Why are riders so inclined to go in between those end of scale feelings about their lessons? As an instructor I also have an added plethora of emotions when riders I teach go thorough theirs. I love when things go well for them but when they hit rock bottom I have to be the one stopping them from researching lineages of hamster sires!
I used to find it hard when my riders finished in a down mood, disheartened and useless and blamed the way I taught for it. With time I have learnt when it is me who can flip the situation over and when there is not much I can do on the day. I am still learning this as I go, being positive without becoming too complimentary and complacent is not an easy task.
Anyway, I digress! The key thing is that whilst seeking ways to lift my riders mood on various occasions over the years (also fellow bloggers when I saw their sad posts!) I have come to the conclusion that we allow our “rider feelings” or even “trainer’s feelings” overwhelm us too much…
The euphoria we feel when things go well in a session becomes somewhat of an indicator how good a rider or an instructor we are in general. The latter becomes an indicator how great a person we are…Similarly, when we ride below our expectations, our image of ourselves suffers too. We feel like bad riders. The latter affects our self-worth as a whole and before we know it we are down about many other things in life.
All of a sudden, riding well has a whole different dimension. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves but also on the horse. He or she is now responsible for how good a person we are. Everything we do in training now comes with a mission of proving how good a rider we are, how good a person we are. This can lead to riding aggression (towards the horse), impatience (with oneself and/or the horse), irritation. In euphoric moments on the other hand, it can lead to overtaxing, demanding things our horse or ourselves might not yet be fully ready for…
I would lie if I said I can control all my riding and teaching emotions. However, I found that since looking at the bigger picture I am much more patient and less dependent on singular moments of great sessions and those that didn’t bring the results I hoped for.
I read somewhere this great statement (if someone knows who said it please let me know 🙂 : an imago is not a bad version of a butterfly, it’s just a different stage of it…
It makes me think that when we learn something (and with horses we learn all the time) there is never a question of being a good or bad version of a rider we hope we will once be. It’s a question of a level we are at and a matter of exploring of the learning process.
When I feel particularly pleased or disappointed with my teaching or riding I reflect on this and it helps me to stay grounded 🙂
What about you? Do you agree with the above? How do you deal with your up and down riding experiences? Do they bother you?