OK, so the goal for 5 weeks from now is to be able to hack out around the 1 hour route and include some cantering, but to do all of this without feeling any fear.....
So this morning's job was to hack out alone around the 30 minute hack route and stay in walk. This is actually a lot trickier task than it sounds, as 85% of the route is across large grass fields, and most horses would want to tackle them at a much quicker pace. But, to Kermit's credit she only jogged forwards 3 times and came straight back to me the minute I checked my outside rein and asked her to steady. I made sure that I kept her on a pretty long rein throughout so that she didn't feel like she had anything to fight against.
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous leaving the yard but just kept thinking of Robert Pattison and my blue circles and explained to Kermit that if he could see us he would be very proud, and that if she knew who he was, she'd understand why the thought of him smiling at me and praising me was a very good motivator!!!! The more I thought of this the more I smiled, and the more relaxed I became, and the longer the time spent in the saddle the better we were both feeling.
She hesitated a few times, and I even had to use the kick and 3 gentle taps once, but after that she was great and I think she was reassured enough to know it was all ok.
We continued on our ride very calmly and it was great (although pouring with rain and very very windy), but interestingly, I only really became aware of this when we got back into the yard. When I had woken up this morning and seen the weather, the gremlin on my shoulder launched into a whole host of reasons why I shouldn't ride out today, but luckily my new pain to power attitude shut him up!!! I reminded myself that if I didn't ride today, the pain I would feel at not moving forwards would be far worse that the fear I would feel whilst out on the ride....and it worked!
I felt so so powerful when I got back to the yard, but in a really quiet, gentle and contented way. I need to bottle up this feeling and sprinkle it over myself tomorrow morning before my lesson, to wash away any doubts or fears that my gremlin may talk to me about. Alternatively, I could just drown the gremlin in it???!!!!