Confession time – My worst habit as a horse rider

Confession time – My worst habit as a horse rider

Ok guys, I’m taking a leaf out of A Timid Rider’s book and I’m confessing. It’s about my worst habit as a rider. No it’s not about the fact that even after riding for twenty years I still frequently pick up the wrong diagonal on the left rein. Although in the interests of full disclosure I actually do this. And it’s not about the fact that I sometimes allow my emotions to overrun me while in the saddle in a wave of will-I-ever-be-good-enoughness.

No it’s neither of those things.

Several years ago, the late Vince Corvi told me I was a lazy rider. And this dear readers, is in fact my worst habit as a rider.

My worst habit as a rider lies in the fact that I don't always push myself through the difficult moments

When Vince first told me this, I thought it was quite funny. Even back then in my very early twenties I was out there riding at least five days a week. I’d forgo nights out with friends to be up at the crack of dawn on weekends to compete.

It took me close to 10 years to truly understand what Vince had been trying to tell me. He didn’t mean that I was lazy in the sense that I didn’t show up. What he meant that I was that I would sometimes take the easy way out.

Easily my worst habit as a horse rider is laziness - I lack mental discipline

Fast forward and I think it’s safe to say that I am still guilty of being lazy in my riding. Sure I still show up and saddle up. I get into the gym a few times (most) weeks and I do work out of the saddle to  build my mental strength. But in terms of being tough on myself during sessions I certainly don’t have all the bases covered. When it comes to taking risks in my riding, well I don’t.

And maybe that would be fine. Fine if I want to be an okay rider for the rest of my life. Progressing as slowly as paint dries. But I want so much more than okay.

I want to dance down the centreline of an FEI test. I want to learn to ride tempi changes and canter pirouettes.

I show up and I work hard in the saddle, so how can it be that my worst habit as a rider is laziness

If I’m to do these things need to be disciplined with myself, making sure that I ride through the challenging stuff. Since I had this earth shattering revelation less than a week ago I’ve been pushing myself in a different way than normal.

I’ve been making myself stay on the ball and ride the canter more forward and ride for the bigger medium trot even if doing these things mean that Nonie wants to lean. I’ll fix that if it happens. If I don’t risk it and push myself out of my comfort zone nothing will change.

The first step to overcoming any problem lies in acknowledging it. I’ve realised one of the ways that I have been letting myself and Nonie down and I am ready to tackle it during our summer training.