Ginger was on her worst behaviour. Spooky, quick, and looking to tune me out and focus on anything but her rider. I kept S's advice in my head and just rode her like I ride Bridget on a bad day. Bridget is capable of being just as naughty, and I always handle it just fine. There is no reason it should be any different with Ginger - it's just my stupid negative self talk that tells me I can't do it.
|Again, no photos from the day so you get some older ones to break up the text wall|
Was it perfect? No, but there were a lot of really excellent moments. Since there was no one there to tell me what to do. I had to keep a level head and just ride through it and make what I wanted to happen, happen. There was no G on the sidelines - much as I love him, he worries about me on Ginger and I tend to ride passively in an effort to not pick any fights and get anyone worried . So, today, for the first time ever on the big mare, I just sucked it up and really rode. I picked a fight or two and the world didn't end. I didn't make compromises. I didn't pick the easy route for either of us. I made mistakes and she had to deal. The lightbulb moment? By focusing, taking charge and riding as confidently as I am capable of doing (a la Bridget), I never once felt unsafe or out of control. Instead, I felt a step ahead of the game. This is of course, a common sense approach for just about anything in life. Being proactive is a good thing! But try telling that to anxiety brain. Not easy. I'm hopeful that now I've pushed myself and done it once and it felt good, it will get easier and easier and the fear based stuff will go back into hiding.
To top it off, I took the pony on a trail loop to finish. Again, much drama and much forward. For whatever reason, I'm much braver on the trails, so this is a good strategy for us. Our west coast trails are mostly narrow and a bit technical, so bad ponies are essentially funneled forward and are forced to watch where they put their feet. As a rider, you just need to let them get on with it. Ginny is all about the forward, so she tackled bridges, creeks and mud holes with only a little hesitation, Of course, she's seen it all before but it's been literally years since I took her out anywhere alone. I'm proud of her for mostly keeping her head, and proud of myself for being brave enough to just stay out of her way, insist on forward, and trust her to get us where we were going.
Rome wasn't built in a day, so of course we will still be working on my confidence and Ginger's issues with focus for a while yet. But for the first time, maybe ever with this horse, I truly believe I can do this without a serious intervention or a ton of hand holding:)