I know my riding journal has been on hold but THIS RAINY WEATHER IS KILLING ME. It ALWAYS rains before my lessons and then I can’t ride. However, I was able to take Chloe on a field trip to Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC) for a Saturday schooling day a few weekends ago. For a schooling fee, you can have entire use of the TIEC facility. Luckily my barn is only 1.5 hours away so we took a trailer full of horses and did group lessons. We are so lucky to have this center so close! I think field trips help break up the monotony for the horses and also give you a chance to practice in new settings.
If you follow me on Insta, you know that I was super nervous about doing this. The whole thing is too close to going to a show for me mentally, and I was getting very anxious. Not to mention that Chloe was a bit fresh, coming off multiple days of weather-related rest. When we got there and signed in, I was in a semi-panic and noticeably a few shades paler according to Jackie! Yes, I know I have problems!!
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), Chloe is uber sensitive to my feelings and vibes, so as soon as I sat on her I could feel my own anxiety spread throughout her. Tryon’s rings are similar to some at WEF, where they are set below the pedestrian walkways and spectator seating. All the noises come from above the horses in the rings, and sometimes you can’t see the people (just hear them talking or moving about), and for a horse that was already feeding off my nervous energy, these invisible predators made it worse. I started hacking around and trying to calm myself down through controlled breathing, ignoring Chloe when she would jump at every noise. After a few laps I realized that it was silly to not try earplugs. We got some from the trailer and after a few dramatic head tosses, she never flinched a muscle at any sound or movement. She was very focused on me alone and I was able to (partially) relax.
I always think Chloe is best behaved at the show. I think it might be out of self preservation more than a desire to please me, but she always is more responsive to my cues when we are not at home. The spooky, silly stuff she can do at home, typically never happens elsewhere. At TIEC, she did not disappoint me. She was fantastic, especially for not showing since October. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more from her. I wasn’t too bad. I did a bunch of amateur mistakes but I was happy that I made myself jump around and most importantly, I really tried to give her the benefit of the doubt and relax. I don’t have many pics or videos to share, but I did manage to find two cellphone videos of different segments of the day.
Keeping in mind that I am REALLY stepping outside of my comfort zone sharing these videos bc I am seriously the most critical person when it comes to riding. I cringe and die inside watching these. CRINGE. It is a reminder of how far I need to still go, BUT I can totally hear Helen, Taylor and Melina yelling at me right now (from LE, ECE, MPM) to be more positive and not so ridiculous. I am trying, which is the most important thing, and unfortunately riding a handful of times a month is really all I can do right now until nicer weather comes around. BUT I CAN ONLY IMPROVE! 🙂
This first video is what I felt like was the worst series of jumps of the day, so I am actually pretty thankful I have it on video to learn from. I can definitely tell that it is at the very beginning of the ride because I am so tense. It cracks me up too because 1. Chloe is being an angel while I am hanging in her mouth and 2. I thought I was going so much faster than this. So thankful for this video!
Second video is in a different ring and it’s just fun to see what it really looked like versus how it felt in my head. Chloe’s tail always is so sassy!