Why it’s not always bad to take a few steps back.
My trainer and good friend always say that progress in this sport isn’t linear, you might have a fall that sets you back, your horse might get injured, you might get stuck working on one element of your riding or your horses training. Basically horse riding has so many different elements and so many different factors it can some times feel like one step forward, three steps back.
This is how I’ve been feeling lately, my fall shook my confidence in heaps of ways, the physical injury itself left me stiff and my riding took a huge leap back. To me that was the most frustrating part but going back to basics has been hugely benifitial.
In the first few weeks I did lots of flat work one on one. I had ridden Patrick for about a year or close to it but because at this point going faster than a trot scared the crap out of me we did lots of work on transitions walk, trot, halt ect. Patrick is a lesson horse but he is a smart lesson horse he will stretch a transition out for as long as he can before changing his gait, he cuts corners in the arena and basically tries to get away with doing the least amount of work possible, which I’m not saying is desirable behaviour but I was able spend time getting him to listen to me, to work on my aids and using them in the most effective way.
I also spent time tweaking my position, not going to lie it’s easy to get sloppy with your position when your focusing on other elements in your riding. My trainer alway has a new method to help with certain positional problems that’s always seem crazy but always seem to work. One of my biggest problems when riding was locking my ankles which she corrected by wrapping polo wraps over my stirrups, it made them squishy so I had to loosen my ankles to compensate for the movement.
I am so much more secure in my position now and cantering is back to being easy and fun. Jumping is still causing me problems which it totally irritating since my fall had nothin to do with jumping but it’s freakin me out all of a sudden none the less. I was talking to my trainer about how frustrating it was to be scared of something I’m more than capable of doing and have done before and she reassured me that every small step forward is a step in the right direction, I maybe back to trotting over cross rails but that’s better than letting the fear win and walking away altogether.
To conclude in not recommending face planting, a head injury and a hospital stay as something you should try as a method to improve your riding but don’t forget the basics, we as riders always have something we can improve on. Also don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to go backwards as long as your looking forwards and keep moving toward your goals you’ll be fine.