The most heartfelt update from our amazing polo queen, Susan…
I can’t believe that it’s now almost a year since I became part of Team Wimpy. 2018 was one of those rare, enchanted years when everything just seemed to work out. (If this sounds smug, please believe me when I tell you that I’d had a couple of the suckiest years you can possibly imagine prior to this). But with all the things that happened, all the achievements that built up – it’s made me unsure, even two months in, what I want from 2019.
A Moment of reflection
I don’t have the big ground breaking goals that I had last year. When I got word that I was in Team Wimpy, I had already come a long way from the lowest point of my struggle with confidence. But I never really dreamed of how far I would still come. I played the grass polo season. I played in a competitive league in the arena, I played a proper, big tournament and didn’t embarrass myself or let down Pataca. I laughed when I was ridden off so hard I nearly flew off my pony or when my backhand swing unseated me. I passed the Rules Test and got an official HPA handicap. I went on fast hacks both in groups and on my own, I rode bareback, I learned to take out sets. I learned to do polo pony flying changes hahaa, where you jump from one pony to the other between chukkas. But now its almost like ‘where do I go from here?’
Ever fragile confidence…
I fear that I stop progressing or that I go backwards. A few times this year I’ve almost gotten cocky that I wasn’t nervous anymore. I’d think who even WAS that ridiculous girl who was in tears at the thought of trotting around an indoor arena, who made excuses not to have to ride? But then WHAM!, something random would happen to knock that confidence and suddenly all the old doubt in myself would flood back in and the crippling nerves would take over. I think that’s the big thing. I know that my riding is unrecognisable to how it was just two years ago, but I also know that it’s still all quite fragile. More fragile than I sometimes remember myself.
Baby steps remember!
I know that to improve at polo I should start riding different ponies. I should play in a polo saddle not my trusty GP that I’ve just taken the knee rolls out of. But I don’t think I feel ready yet. I’m so happy on Pataca, I love and trust her so much that I’m scared of stepping out of that comfort zone. I’ve always felt that my confidence grew because I was able to build on lots of small good experiences and I’m terrified that it would only take a few bad ones to set me back again.
So there lies the big question for what’s ahead this year. Do I push on as hard as I can or do I just cut myself some slack, enjoy my pony and have a year of celebrating what I’ve built without worrying about progress? It feels like its dangerous to say that. I have never really pushed myself so hard as I did on the initial learning curve for polo. I thought I just wasn’t cut out for it so many times and yet something made me keep trying and not give up. Is it lack of ambition to sit back on my heels? If I take my foot off the accelerator now will I end up never putting it back on? Would there be anything WRONG with never putting it back on and just enjoying my pony and club chukkas and not really caring about whether I play tournaments or whether I ever go up in handicap?
Sorry! So many questions on this rather rambling update. I wanted to try to be honest and I think that Team Wimpy isn’t just about celebrating the successes, its about having support when you do wobble a bit, or when you aren’t quite sure what the next step should be. For me I’m just thrilled to be continuing for another year. There’ve been so many times that I’ve not really wanted to do something I was scared of doing, but I SO wanted to be able to come home and go on our FB group and tell the girls that I’d done it.
Pataca and I are playing for The Westfield Wizards in our polo club’s Frostbite League, so my short term goal is to be an asset to the team and win at least one of our matches! I could gush about my pony for thousands of words, but nothing could ever fully describe what she has given me this year, she truly is a horse of a lifetime. And to be honest, if I did nothing more than hack about the countryside on her, I think I’d still be a happy girl. Hope your 2019s are all off to a good start!