Our regular readers will probably not be surprised at this post, I'm conscious that my last few posts have been decidedly bleurgh and a bit negative and unfortunately this one is along the same theme - sorry! It's going to be long and probably disjointed so apologies for that in advance.. I'll try and find some pretty pictures to brighten it up a bit ;o)
I have always had (and will always have) a competitive streak. I like to succeed and do well and that hunger to be the best I can be has brought it's benefits throughout my career but it also has a huge downside which I have now named the downtown funk. The downtown funk comes into play when you are striving to be the best you can be, are working really hard but nothing seems to go right when it matters. It's not a one off occurance (ie one dressage comp) but a series of unfortunate events that all come together to create the funk and make you feel completely rubbish about everything - it is impossible to see the positives straight away (even though your rational mind knows them) and all you do is focus on the negatives.
I am currently in the darkest depths of this downtown funk. Everytime I get on Buddy I have an objective and when it doesn't go to plan I am beating myself up, even though I know that I am being completely unrational. I am a huge fan of the Chimp Paradox and it has helped me hugely in the past but it's not working this time!!
My previous blog posts have alluded to the fact that I have not been content with our results but even in my lessons I am struggling to see the good bits even when they are pointed out. I have awesome support from my trainers and poor Warren has had to deal with me the most during this weird period and has been everything an excellent coach should be, pointing out the positives and showing me clearly where I have progressed in each session and overall. Today was a bad day for me. I tried one of Warren's saddles to see if it would help my position.. Buddy used to have a huge mounting issue which, after a lot of hard work, we got him over but it is always at the back of my mind - especially in a place away from home and even more so if he is feeling bright - but I have a strategy to deal with it and he's not done it for a good couple of years. However I broke that strategy today and paid the price! As soon as I started to swing my leg over he shot off and I hit the deck (although I was particularly proud at how long I managed to cling like a limpet for). I got back on but Buddy was upset by the incident and TBH I was too. So I spent the majority of my lesson mentally chastising myself for being such an idiot, angry for ruining my friends lesson (we shared) and feeling like I was taking a massive step backwards. I know none of this is true, hindsight is a fabulous thing and Katie had a fab lesson with some huge lightbulb moments! Warren also highlighted the improvement in my balance in the saddle which meant that I could make adjustments without affecting B's confidence over and coming into a fence. It was a huge lightbulb moment and although I agree and can see it my overwhelming emotion is disappontment in myself and wondering why I am bothering.
I really want to qualify for Badminton Grassroots but I know that a season to do it in isn't really realistic, especially our first BE season, but it is possible if the fates align and I work hard. Plus there are other bits in play - my saddle is crap and really hinders my position (grippy knees and an unsupporting lower leg as a result) so I need a new one if I want to progress in the way that I do... I should hopefully have that sorted in the next couple of months but in the meantime the fact that it is crap is just playing on my mind and I'm wondering why I'm even bothering when I know it's causing me (and Buddy) issues so should I just wait until I can sort it out?!
I know I am putting crazy amounts of pressure on myself to do well. We are both more than capable so we *should* be doing well so when it's not as good as it can be I am getting sucked into thinking negatively about it all. Urgh.
I have made a decision to see a sports psychologist who will hopefully help me out of this funk of mine so it will be interesting to hear her thoughts on my situation. I need to do something as although I still love riding I can see that the passion I have could start to dwindle if I don't get on top of it quickly. In the meantime I will keep on trucking - dressage tomorrow and the countdown to ALW is on although it looks like we may be getting balloted! If so, we will re-route to Munstead instead.