I didn't start learning to ride until May 2010 and for the entire summer of that year was injured. My first year of riding was not that solid but since April last year, I've not missed a ride. I can walk, sit and rise trot, canter, and have started learning transitions and diagonals on a variety of horses. Come and join me on my adventures with my horsey friends all done with no sight on my part. don't feel afraid to ask me any questions. being blind and a horse rider is new, interesting and very exciting. So I hope you can gain something from reading this.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Feel Like Quitting

I know I've said this before here and many other places in my life, I am my worst critic but what I'm about to discuss has nothing to do with that. I'm a perfectionist, this is true but I know like anyone who has been around animals, that some days it's you, some days it is them and the rest it works perfectly. I am under no illusion that my achievements on horse back this year have been pretty impressive, from my point of view at least. I learnt to walk and trot without someone holding on to the horse. I know, no big deal for a sighted rider but for me that was huge. Even in recent months, I've been trusted to try cantering without a leader and I am so thankful for being given those opportunities to do those things. Maybe I've had a bad ride today and that's that but maybe I've hit a road block that I can't get around. Maybe I'm only meant to be this good and improvement will never come so for the rest of my riding life, I'll be walking, rising trotting and never getting a good canter. I know all the things, relax, heels down, hands low,go with the rhythm and relax but no matter what happens, I can never get all of those things. I see others learning doing it with ease and I just feel I'll never get past this road block. I know it's me, it's all in my head and I don't see a way forward to change my approach and therefore change the outcome. I had a relatively uneventful lesson today, some walking and trotting. It was hard to get into the trot but I did it so that made me happy. My legs got a work out as the cobbles were apparently scary for my tall, cheeky bay friend but I kept him going and kept in control. Then the canter, just awful! Got two strides on second attempt and then pulled back. I don't know how to stop doing this. I don't know how to stop tensing, how to just do everything I know I need to. I love horses!!! I am so happy I've done this but I don't know how to move forward and not sure I can keep taking this continued level of failure. Boy, this is a depressing blog but I have always been honest in my blog entries so today should be no different. I surely feel like quitting today. And the horrible, sad thing is, if I did, I didn't say goodbye to my horsey friends. I'm not sure what I'll do. So if this is goodbye, thanks for reading and take care and all the best to you and your horsey friends! :) Marie


  1. What are you like?! I couldn't get you on Twitter or haynet because Twitter has crashed and haynet has gone weird and set me up with a new account - interesting huh?!
    I'm typing everything that's going through my head because I know you can delete it so it doesn't have to be read by everyone :)

    The first thing is - I'm not going to say "Don't give up!" This is your hobby - it's meant to be fun and if it really isn't any more then perhaps you should take a break? It might do you good. I'm a terrible perfectionist and like you I push myself to my limit. Great if things go well but also very depressing when they don't.

    People learn in steps - they whizz up and up for weeks and then plateau. It's normal to have real highs and lows like you're having. Of ALL the riders I've ever taught I can only remember five or six that ever found cantering easy so don't knock yourself. Many riders fall off too - that is a very real worry for your instructors I'm sure.It could be what's holding you and them back a bit.

    I do have a really simple idea for you though if you want to keep going - and for what it's worth I really think you should give it a go - I think you should go somewhere else that caters for blind riders. Even if you go less and travel further. Your yard (Amazing and kind as they have been)has reached its limit for you I feel. An RDA yard would have horses that are used to cantering round the school with little effort from you - they can even lunge you so you can canter until you really learn to get a feel for it. I used to teach at one and I think it you'd be surprised at how much you'll learn very quickly.

    Also whatever you do choose to do remember that only three days ago you were excited about your fantastic ride so it's not all bad. :) I wish we were nearer because I'd love to help you with this. Check out that yard I mentioned on Twitter - they're a yard for special needs. If they have horses hat are used to blind riders you're going to have a ball! You'll be jumping before you know it.

    I really hope this helps you. I totally understand your frustration. Have a stiff drink and a box of chocolates! Oh ... and by the way - Happy New Year for tomorrow :) Lorraine

  2. Lorraine. Thank you for taking the time to post on here. It's funny, because some of those same thoughts have been going through my head. I know, I cannot give up on horses. No matter how bad it's going. I love the huge, hairy monsters too much. That would really be like saying now, I could give up on having a guide dog and that is so untrue too. But I will check out that yard you DMed me about. Sadly, our nearest RDA is like 10 miles but if I can figure out a easy way to get to it, I am willing to give it a shot. I suppose at least I won't be a nubbi right? haha. :) I kinda feel the unexpected of a canter and the feeling of it is what is holding me back from just relaxing. Maddi suggested the lunging idea too. She's been fab today. I'm lucky to have all you guys around and hopefully if anyone has a boo-hoo day like I have had today, I'll be kicking them up the bum too. Noted on the drink and choccies. All the best to you for the new Year too. Thanks again. :) and it's been a real pleasure meeting you this year. :)

  3. I'm glad it's all keeping your chin up!! I'd have been here sooner if Twitter would co operate! We're hopeless when technology goes wrong nowadays!! Now Haynet has gone really weird on me too -yet everyone else seems to be as normal! Perhaps I'm the gremlin? Thankfully my email is still getting my DMs from Twitter, Happy New Year :)

  4. We have all felt like this, hobby riders, horse owners and competers alike. While I'm lucky enough to have got the hang of so many of the basic necessities at once, I still have bad days and lessons where my posture, my heels or something go to pot. It is beyond frustrating and disappointing to not be able to do something you know you have within you (whether you've accomplished it yet or not). Please stick with it, even if you do need a break. As others have said, perhaps an RDA school can help you achieve your goals at a better pace or break things down in a different way. Whatever you choose, I bet horses are a part of your future, one way or another ;0)