Focus, Focus

It is unfathonable to me that when I flat my horse outside on a lovely summer afternoon I am usually surrounded by calm, but when I head out for a jumping lesson I seem to perfectly time it to when there are the more distractions than I can imagine.  The other day I needed an alien ship to land, to max out on possible diversions. 

As one counts petals for love, let me count the distractions: 1–not one but 3 adorable foals running free with their mamas in the paddocks on one side of me, chasing each other up and down the fencelines; 2–4 horses in their own pens whinnying, rolling in the sand; 3– Juan mowing the lawn surrounding the outdoor arena and emptying the grass bag into the railer right beside a jump; 4–how many semis can drive up the road?; 5–a trailer pulling up the driveway and unloading an uncooperative horse; 6–a cat or squirrel running through the abandonded standards and jumps in the woods, causing pieces to inadvertantly slide about.  Seven would be the mental somersaults spinning in my brain, as I tried to ignore everything around and focus on my ride and my instructor Sue.
Felix laughing, 2006
Felix laughing, 2006

I was once again riding Felix, my favorite mount.  As we rode by each distraction the first-second-third time, I realized that the mental sprites that plagued me during the previous summers were today invisible. After our accident last year, it was at least 9 months until I rode Felix again, though I rode many others in between.  Now I realize why my instructors did that. Even though we have a great rapport, the cautions I was unknowingly transmitting to him were resulting in problem reactions. Now that the negative vibes are gone, I am calmer; he is more relaxed. We are now a stronger team than we were before.

Once we assessed and ignored the commotion around us, I was able to focus completely at the task at hand. We completed our course several times, building, modifying, growing as we went along.  Each jump was smooth and even, the approaches steady,  my confidence building as we worked in tandem.

I know from experience that one impeccable ride does not translate into tomorrow’s lesson, but as a wonderful memory, a confidence builder, and a learning experience I will keep it.   Sue voiced that she didn’t think I would have worked through all those jumps earlier this year with so much motion going on, and I agree. I think I have worked extremely hard to leave some trivial fears behind.  And that is better for me and whichever horse I ride. C

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