A number of years ago there was a woman who loved to ride. She decided one day it would be a good idea to learn to jump. She pictured herself sailing over huge and difficult obstacles with ease and the ringside crowds going wild.
She was lucky enough to find a coach who asked her what her goals in riding might be and she told him this idea. "In two years I would like to compete over fences and be able to jump a 3ft. course competently."They set about work and slowly she acquired the skills to reach her goal. Up and down the gymnastic line of small bounce fences they went, gaining balance and confidence , timing and understanding.
Still, whenever the time came to compete her stomach would tie up in knots. She seemed trapped in an inexplicable panic. She could just imagine the mocking audience on the rail savouring each refusal , each runout until the disqualified bell rang and she exited the ring , shamed and discouraged.
The woman began to think of giving up , finding another hobby:at least she had all kinds of passable excuses....she was raising a family, her back was bad , her horse was not the most able.
One final Sunday she stood nervously in the stall , her class coming up shortly. She asked herself "who is going to win today ? you or your stomach?"
As she led her horse out to the warmup ring she decided. This was the last time she would let herself down , the last time she would spend her family's hard earned money for nothing.
Mounting her horse she methodically began warming up , feeling more nauseated with every stride. Enviously she watched happy , confident riders exit the ring , round after successful round to await their ribbons. Looking out over the course she noted it was small and well designed. There was nothing she and her horse could not clear with ease and had at home many times.
Someone mentioned she was on deck. Not knowing if she might faint she made her way over to the in gate.Summoning a weak smile she blurted out a mumbled "good round " to the exiting rider and trotted in with a huge lump her throat.
Suddenly something very strange began to happen. The snickering bystanders on the rail began to melt away. Soon mist shrouded everything outside the ring. There seemed to be nothing on the grounds , in the world, in the universe but the ring , she and her horse and a very wide clear gray path leading from one fence to the next , to the next.Picking up a canter she circled , nodded to the judge and followed the path to the first fence, then the next and the next , around they went until every jump was beautifully cleared.She came back to trot patting her horse and left the ring in a kind of trance.
She won a ribbon , it was only a green one but might as well have been Olympic Gold. It hangs on her wall to this day. The coach passed away but his wisdom still rings in her head. The horse is buried under the apple tree and lovingly thought of every day.The spirit of that day hangs frozen in time and she has never been out of the ribbons again.The woman now rides mainly in Dressage but the lesson of that day has changed her life forever.
Welcome to the magical world of focused riding. Libby Keenan