When to just say "Screw it!"
I got a message today from a friend of mine sharing her reflection off my post with the saying: "if you keep doing what you're doing, you will keep getting what you're getting". She said that she normally doesn't ride in a certain part of the arena with her gelding when its dark because she is sure to get big spooks and shenanigans, and she hardly ever visits her walk to canter transitions because they are something that they both struggle with. She said after reading my post, she thought about how often she doesn't work on those certain things and how it makes her uncomfortable. Well, she did the opposite last night, and faced all those hard deals that normally she passes on to get a decent ride. And guess what, her ride was a success!
Progress comes from feeling a little uncomfortable. This got me thinking about what was going on last spring with my horse Prevost. As you know, we were overcoming a long rehab from the prior years surgery, and now we were back to riding and conditioning with a 50 miler in mind. I tell you what, there were SO many times trotting him down the trail I thought he felt slightly off. I was so worried about it. I analyzed it, I thought about it while cooking dinner, I told all my horse friends of course, and I just couldn't let myself believe that he was sound. I struggled with this nearly every training ride and the only thing I did was tone things down a notch in our training thinking backing off would help him get better from being "off". It finally got to the point though, after having one of my normal riding buddies stare at my horse trotting down the trail from the side, from an angle, from behind, slow trot, fast trot, 'do you see anything at the canter?' all those deals... and no, she still didn't see anything despite what 'I' was feeling. So I finally said SCREW IT! Whatever it was that I thought was going on was not obvious enough to cause anyone other than me to think there was something wrong. Either I was going to feel a little uncomfortable to try and push up our conditioning to meet our 50 miler goal, or I was going to let it us hold us back.
And in this case, guess what? After all that google searching for what it could be, I ignored it, pushed him on up those hills and got our miles logged. We completed our first 25 after surgery and rehab in April, then a month later in May completed our first ever 50 miler and placed in the top 10 out of I believe was around 23ish riders!
Sometimes you need to push outside that zone and either push for progress or don't get anywhere at all and just keep circling the drain. So glad I bucked up and said SCREW IT!