Jen Mellace: A Lesson in Trust

There are three of us ladies at the farm that share a weekly lesson. And while a quarter of the time is spent giggling at our horses’ silly antics, the rest of the lesson is spent learning some wonderful exercises from our trainer. Exercises that help supple our big horses and help keep us riders thinking. It’s 60-minutes that I truly look forward to each week.

But during our last lesson, our instructor set-up a jumping exercise that had me thinking, I wish I had stayed home this week. Viewing it from where I sat—atop my big, sometimes not-so-handy, draft-cross—it looked awfully intimidating. It wasn’t that the jumps were big. It was just … tricky.

The grid went something like this: Canter in to a bounce, to a one stride, to a bounce. The thing is, the last jump was set on an angle (one to the left and one to the right), which required a slight (predetermined) left or right turn as we came over the second to last jump. It was, in fact, quite tricky.

But here’s the thing … all the non-jumping exercises my trainer had me working on in previous weeks had prepped me for this. And more importantly, she had faith that I could ride through it. And, of course, she was right. Although I missed it the first time—opting to go straight instead of attempting a not so pretty turn over the right jump—we got it right the next couple tries. And better yet, our last go was absolutely brilliant. It rode perfectly, and I couldn’t have been prouder of my boy.

As I look back, I realize that this wasn’t only a riding lesson, but a lesson in trust. Trusting that my trainer wasn’t going to ask me to do something I couldn’t do, and trusting in Woodrow and myself. So as we head into another week and another lesson, I will do my best not to doubt, and instead trust that I’m right where I need to be.

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