Confidence Nudges

Apologies for the delay in posting this week. Normally I try to post early in the week, reflecting on the weekend’s adventures but this week has already managed to run away with me. On Monday I did a presentation to a larger group of colleagues than I am used to presenting to, and I am happy to admit I was really nervous beforehand. I’m not sure I am cut out for public speaking, I find it nerve racking and while happy to chat and present to small groups of people – make me stand up and hand me a mic and I start to talk faster and faster, pretty sure I mumble and I forget some of the facts I wanted to say.

There was meant to be a colleague presenting with me on Monday but due to illness I stood up there alone and spoke. Now I have minor presentation amnesia meaning I rarely remember the full presentation I give but it seemed to go okay, I got across all the points I wanted to make and I didn’t sound like an idiot in front of my bosses and colleagues, success I feel. I even got a lovely mention on Twitter where someone said I was a delightful presenter – which is wonderful praise to receive.

So how does this link to my riding and life in general? Well remember I asked for tips on building confidence last week, I wonder if people had been reading this blog as the wonderful girls at Seacliff gave me Anna to test me similarly as presenting to a larger crowd tests me and pushes me out of my comfort zone. I was made to ride her, to control her and to make decisions. For example at the end we were jumping logs in the woods, I only trotted over one but it reaffirmed my view that jumping is meant to be done like that. Little jumps throughout trees, perfect. Anyway, after my one little trot over I tried to hang back with the kids and the leaders but I was told I had to ride Anna through the trees picking my own lines and avoiding the jumps if I wanted to. It was really useful, I gained a lot of confidence. Earlier in the ride we had been racketing around on the beach and I actually enjoyed it although I briefly went out of control.

Just now it seems like challenging myself in small ways is the way to improve my confidence, this was cemented last night during my 2nd riding lesson at the new school. We didn’t do a lot of technical work in the 30 minutes but I did do a fair amount of transitions into canter and working on letting go of my nerves and the tension I build up. I was riding a gorgeous dark bay mare named Jessica, another long horse with a lot of spring in her trot. By the end as Jessica and I cantered around I was even smiling. It was interesting as these horses are forward going in the school which was actually a blessing although it seemed like a curse to begin with, it meant once I committed to the canter I had to keep going. The instructor was lovely, she reckoned it would be worthwhile to focus purely on the canter and removing my trepidation of the transition. She also made a very interesting point, it has now been so long since I had that eureka moment cantering, so long since I felt truly like I was becoming a rider that I need to stop focusing on what I could do and start setting new, smaller goals for my riding. With that in mind I want to say that within 8 lessons there I would like to be approaching a canter transition in a calmer frame of mind and focus on my aid to canter not on freezing up and forgetting to breathe. I think for just now I have to forget the rider I was, after all as the lass mentioned one day I will just realise I have passed the point I was at.

It is really cosy in my comfortable zone but it is pretty good fun to be out of it at times!

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