Don't take yourself too seriously

Ok, so whenever I get a bit too serious and life is pressing in from all sides I take a moment to recall something funny in my life  or something humorous I have read or watched. It's important to 'lighten' things up on occasion to relieve some stress and gain a little more perspective. So here I go...

One such memory never fails to make me laugh...

I am not sure what possessed me but I decided after many years of not jumping to get on my daughter's show jumping horses in a training session. This was quite a few years ago now but feels like just the other day.

We took the horses to our local show ground and put up some jumps to school them. As neither of them jumped super well at the last competition I decided to get on and give them a ‘tune up’.

As always, very positive, I just expected things to be like they were ‘once upon a time’. This soon ended and I had to face up to reality, “I was as blind as a bat!!”

Starting on the first horse and jumping over some cross poles it first didn’t seem too bad.

I saw my last three strides and the horse just popped over the fence, then ‘low and behold’ I come around the corner and someone (my daughter) had put the fence up.

Very quickly I was reminded that seeing the last three strides is really not that great at all, it’s just enough to let you see that you are getting a bad stride with not enough time to do anything about it.

So I was very brave and soldiered on making sure that I gave the horse a pat whenever he saved my life, until I came around the corner to the oxer.

Someone clearly put the fence into the wrong spot as I could not get a good stride at all and sure enough there on the third approach I saw my last three strides again only to realise that the spot was not going to be pretty.

I clearly remember thinking:

“It’s a long one,” then on the last stride I realised “it’s a bloody long one” and then I remember thinking ‘shhhiiiiiiitt……..!” as he slammed on the brakes and ducked to the side. Next thing I am seeing the ground coming closer, then realising that I was going to land on the poles and thinking “it’s gonna hurt!”

As I hit the dirt I was surprised to find that it didn’t hurt, more pleasingly it felt like I actually bounced, something I thought I wasn’t able to do anymore (I might have to add here that I hadn’t fallen off in a long time). So I suddenly remember Fran Griffen's saying, whenever she has a scary moment with her horses she calls out “Yes, I am a rider” (we often use this phrase in our clinics and it always gets a giggle). So that’s what I am saying to myself “Yes, I am a rider. I can still bounce and I could think all the way while sailing through the air.”

So now I am feeling pretty pleased with myself until I realise that I had an audience.

My daughter looking at me with a ‘What the….?’ expression, a friend who had been taking photographs thinking that she now has blackmail material for a lifetime, my husband sitting on another horse trying to look concerned and one of our leading show jumping coaches who was teaching in the arena next to us!!!!!!!

So, I dust myself off and very determined get back on the horse with a positive “Lets try this again” philosophy. I must admit that my eye only slightly improved.

After I handed the horse over to my daughter who now looks at me with a “Gee thanks Mum” expression, gets on, jumps him (I have to admit she got far better strides then I did) and finally to my great delight gets the same long, long stride to the oxer (I was just about to call out “hang on darling”) when the horse just goes ahead and jumps it for her!!!??? What the…!

I think I have to explain to him who is paying the feed bills!

Finally an hour later and I am now on a different horse I have worked out what line to take to the oxer in order to get a better stride. I could hear the sigh of relief from the horse as I am sure he thought he’d have to keep jumping the #^%** fence all through the night. (I am sure someone put the fence in the wrong spot on purpose!!) 

So as the day comes to an end I am pondering on todays lesson and what I have learned:

  1. I am a lot fitter and bouncier that I thought 
  2. The saying “If you don’t use it you lose it” is true 
  3. I still love show jumping 
  4. It might be a good idea to practice behind closed doors before going public
  5. And don’t take yourself too seriously.

So my advice to you my readers and this one comes from experience:

  • Don’t worry what other people think, just go and enjoy yourself
  • Whenever you get ahead of yourself, horses have a wonderful way of bringing you down to earth again (quite literally)
  • No matter how much experience you have there is always plenty more to learn.

Happy riding everyone!