Thursday, May 13, 2021

Nerves of spaghetti

 For awhile I've dealt on and off with different levels and kinds of fear in my horse life. And while I've always managed to work my way through it this time it's different.

On Sunday a good friend of mine came off at a barrel race (jackpot not rodeo/futurity/slot race, in case that matters).  Jewls came off bad, as in she was airlifted by Stars with a broken femur.  I've chatted with her via text since and she seems to be in okay spirits. And no, I wasn't there to witness it however I've spoken with several people who have.

The next day I picked Sarita up from a trainer. I'd taken her to put some polish on the barrel training I've been doing, mainly because she's six this year and IMO behind. With my crazy zombie creating work schedule last year and my injury the year before I didn't get on with her as much as I'd like to have done.

Anyway, Sarita did well at the trainer and after putting her through her paces I got on... and froze up.  I couldn't make myself go faster than a trot.

Wednesday we were entered in a jackpot in Rosetown, and I told myself that even if all I did was trot I was going!!  Then I ended up having to take Sam and his face/mouth of quills to the vet. It was surgery day and they were already quite busy, plus had three dogs and a cat (wtf!?!) with quills in before I'd called with Sam so they weren't sure how soon they could fit him in.  They asked me to drop him off and they'd fit him in where they could. I ended up having to scratch the jackpot.

I rode Sarita again that evening at home instead.  And again I couldn't do more than trot.  I felt so anxious at the thought of loping her, and she has a loooovely lope.

 Jewls accident is in the back of my mind a lot. Especially the "she was on a young horse" part. Maybe if I knew what had happened it would help. Did he buck? Did he duck out dirty? Did he stumble bad? I don't know.

Today I got a "tough love" text in a chat group, WHY hadn't I entered Sarita this weekend!?  I mentioned that it was going to be a big one and for her first time out thought it might be a bit much.  After a bit more messaging I told them that while I know they're coming from a good place I was going to listen to my gut. My confidence and nerve are shot right now.  I need more rides on her to feel more comfortable with her again. That even the thought of running Lefta and Frosty makes me super anxious (during the chat my heartrate spiked to 126).
Here's the thing... I don't get nervous before a run. Maybe sometimes a bit of happy butterflies, but not the scared/anxious nerves that some people get. And I feel safer with Lefta and Frosty than any horses I've rode, so that two days before the event I'm nervous at the thought of running them... that makes me both sad and a bit scared of what this summer holds.

In the meantime, I'm going to ride and work on it. 


  1. I totally know where you are coming from. Always listen to your gut. Not running at an event is okay. Don't do something because other people are pressuring you.
    Maybe this year instead of focusing on barrel racing it's time to do other things with your horse(s). Like exploring local trails or even hauling to a park or nature preserve. Or get involved in show classes like trail or even Cowboy Dressage, where loping is optional. There are lots of things one can do to rebuild confidence.
    Also- If I don't regain my confidence with a horse- I sell it. And there's no shame in that either. Not every horse is a perfect fit.

  2. I have sold horses in the past for that reason, not feeling confident or safe with it.
    I did run Lefta and Frosty yesterday, funny enough once I was saddling them all nerves went away so that was good!
    I'll give Sarita some time. Before this I had no issue loping her, on the barrels or off so I'm thinking this is a me thing and I just need to work through it.
    We do have fun non barrel stuff planned too!

    1. Stacy Westfall has a new podcast out that you might find interesting.


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