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Sunday, 26 January 2020

Showjumping Training - 25.01.2020

It’s been a little while since I last updated my blog with progress in our showjumping training. We’ve had two sessions with Philippa plus a shared session as part of the British Showjumping academy scheme, and all three have been super positive. Yesterday we had another private session and for the first time in a very long time, I left feeling quite disappointed. Not because of bad performance or Louie losing any confidence, but because it wasn’t perfect...

I mean you only have to look back at our showjumping journey to see that I have never worried about being perfect when jumping, but yesterday it really squashed how I felt about the session. I was finished by 10am and yet I spent the rest of the whole day pulling apart every tiny detail you can just about imagine (& probably some more!) It leaves me feeling totally rubbish about things if I don’t turn it around and kick the perfectionist thinking into touch. So that’s exactly what I did...!

I’d deliberately not watched any of the videos all day, expecting them to just remind me as to how rubbish we really are! Well, that’s just a load of tosh right there...let’s put things into perspective.
  1. Less than 4 months ago, jumping around a 90-1m course of fences felt a million miles away, let alone going around in a consistent rhythm, feeling Louie full of confidence & enjoying his time jumping
  2. I’ve been to about one showjumping competition in about three years
  3. This is mostly all new to both Louie & I. He’s learning to take more challenging corners, jumps and courses, as well as them being bigger, all while I’m learning how to be a much more correct rider 
It was ridiculous that I had such a negative attitude towards the training session, as I’d have been over the moon with this, even just a few months ago, so I gave myself a good shake and sat down to watch the videos...

I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of the imaginary things I thought they would show really existed. I expected a horrible, stuffy canter, no rhythm or consistency as we went around and to generally look like we didn’t have a clue as to what we were meant to be doing.

The reality of what I watched wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had thought, in fact, it wasn’t actually bad! We’ve made some really big steps to progress recently, and sometimes that means it can feel bland when you plateau or take smaller steps. I think this is absolutely a classic case of just that...

After spending the last 3 weeks working on keeping my hands low and sitting still to stop firing into fe. Es she I’m not quite sure, but still being effective with my leg, I fear I fell into the opposite situation, becoming a bit too quiet and actually not being active when I see the stride to ‘go’.

So as I sat watching, I accepted these things and could see that I fell foul with my corners, allow the power to be cut down too much. I wasn’t being effective and using my leg to go to the jump when straight and wobbled a little off the turns through the lack of commitment. All of that made it difficult for me to see a stride which made commuting even more difficult for me, so I didn’t use my leg, and made me cautious coming to the fence.

But then a light came on, and I could see a number of positives shining through...
  1. Louie didn’t react to my caution and just kept coming, making his own decisions and doing a great job for jumping on his own
  2. We maintained a consistent rhythm all the way around
  3. I was looking up around my turns to the fence ahead 
  4. My hands stayed low and still

Suddenly my time spent thinking it was a disappointment became a reality thanks to some much-needed perspective. It made me realise just how far we’d come since October and how proud I was of myself and of Louie. It takes two to tango as they say and things really have clicked together with us. Progress steps won’t always be as large as we’ve had recently and the days when they are smaller are just as rewarding.

I put out a very honest post on Facebook and Instagram and saw plenty of support and uplifting comments, so for anyone else who finds themselves feeling or thinking like this, my advice would be to make sure you add some perspective and context to things. Not everyone’s journey is linear, even your own, so try to always remember to strive for progress and NOT perfection, and enjoy your own journey along the way!

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