Wednesday, January 25, 2012

You Can Only Go Up From Here

Pippin the wonder (lesson) pony
Right after I sold Bugs we had to move again. Now we were on the other side of the country. For several months I didn't even ride and when I did start riding again it was just school horses and as for the jumping I basically started back over from the beginning literally just jumping poles and little 18" jumps.

When we got the news that we were going to be stationed in Japan I was very upset (to put it mildly!). Don't get me wrong the chance to travel was one of the temptations of a military life but Japan??? That was not on my agenda! Well, my wonderful DH compromised with me and while he left for Japan in May of 2011 I got to go home and spend the summer with my family. Once again I found myself with extra time and money. This time I was determined to use it wisely!

My sister had started taking lessons from L at this point and she let me know that L had a horse available for lease. When she sent me the picture of "Chief" the horse for lease I had a horrible sense of deja vu. 

Not another paint!

But leasing certainly seemed like my best option. Chief was an experienced eventer up to the training level. He was a bit out of shape when I first started riding him but he turned out to be a wonderful packer and a huge help for my shaky confidence.

When I first started taking lessons with L I was amazed at how low my confidence had actually gotten. On a new horse small cross rails suddenly seemed huge and menacing. I admit it I was a mess. The great thing about L is she is really good at challenging you. She pushes you just enough. It took most of the summer but by the end of the summer we were doing things like this:

  
Ugh! my lower leg is crap but at least Chief looks nice! I'm a work in progress!
and this:

I got to ride in four events (three of them sanctioned) including one at the Kentucky Horse Park! We even got in the ribbons a couple of times. It was truly a dream summer.

Now that I am taking lessons again in Japan I am realizing how much that summer has helped me. I've been able to jump on strange horses and take them right over a few jumps without the huge panic attacks I used to have. I can't think L and Chief enough for that. I still have SO MUCH TO LEARN! but I couldn't have gotten this far without them. I would have bought Chief if I'd had enough money but sadly he was out of my price range. He has since gone on to a new home. He deserves to have his own girl. As sad as I am that I won't get to compete with Chief again I have to admit I am really looking forward to bringing my own horse along someday (maybe this summer???). I know it will be challenging and we'll start from the ground up but what an amazing adventure it will be.

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