Go south

After a kind of challenging Dec and a January that wasn’t improving….We took a trip to Mexico! Specifically Huatulaco. I had been there before, but not for a few years and after two years of going nowhere and doing nothing…I was beyond fed up, stressed out and unhappy and I WAS GOING DAMMIT.

The weather was beautiful EVERY DAY.

It was an extremely stressful lead up. In the days that preceded our trip, we had:

  • A tsunami warning
  • Crazy fog taking over everything and not lifting
  • Omicron variant taking over everything and overwhelming the health system, flights, work-staffing, ferries, buses, etc
  • One of my colleagues went missing and he is still missing three weeks later
  • No third booster shots (I just got mine this week!)

No joke. I was SO TENSE and freaked out going into the holiday. I had no idea what to expect, and how our testing worked to get home, what if we had tested positive and had to quarantine, what to do with the animals and Oats, etc etc etc.

And you know what? It went perfectly fine. Were there glitches, like not having a paper copy of our COVID neg test results and the airport demanding them, when we only had QR codes/apps? Yep! Was there uncertainty? Yep. Was it worth it? OMG YES 100%. For your mental health, go. Just go. Life is too short and too horrible most of the time. Do something nice for yourself, for once.

We swam, kayaked, went stand-up paddleboarding, went into town, snorkeled, went fishing, I did aqua fit and we drank a million crazy cocktails and generally just had an awesome time.

I needed it desperately and I firmly believe so does everyone else.

Don’t let it get to you

I will fully admit I was not in a good place yesterday writing my blog. I wrote that post out as a cry to help for my counselor (who I reconnected with yesterday and I already feel better about that, I am going to set up a session when I get back from horse camping). I felt like I needed someone to ‘trigger’ an emotional release with me, physically if that makes sense?

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Week 2 of shockwave. Ouch. 

I know when I was crying just thinking about it, that I was far overdue for an emotional release.

Everything seems to set me off, and I honestly think that dealing with a few harsh realities from the weekend (the show that went horribly, still being injured and in pain) were just…Too much to bear on Monday. Any Monday, really.

Anyways, I did my treatment yesterday, cried about it for awhile (it is absolutely EXCRUCIATING), felt miserable about the physio saying it could take another THREE WEEKS?! and downbeat about things for a bit, reached out for help and support, and felt comforted by what I can do.

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It’s great to have friends and colleagues who support you! 

I rode yesterday, and the arena was freshly dragged, and clean of all jumps. I rode on a loose rein, and let Oats dictate his headset and basically didn’t even steer. I let him make some decisions, and I walked, trotted and cantered. Around, around and around. Looping, moving, flowing. I didn’t practice anything. I just rode.

The freedom felt incredible. I felt open, not so scared, worried or frustrated. I was smiling. Sure my leg really hurt (it looks like a bruised banana today…So raw yesterday) but I was out there, and I was riding. Doing what I love.

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Just want to have fun (I know this by heart). 

I want that back, in my personal life and my riding life. I’m done with being closed off, hurt and mad. I think personally taking some of the ‘skin’ and anxiety out of the game is going to have to be how it is for me right now. Otherwise, all I can think about is how much time this injury is taking away from my training (Haaaaaaaaaaaaa well now that’s in the toilet!!) and how frustrated I feel with my horse if I want to train for horse shows and jump lessons.

My friend is taking over my jump lesson on Thursday, so I can watch. I can’t emotionally handle pressure right now, of any kind. I need to take a step back, and a step down. I realized that this weekend. To be the kind of rider I want to be for my dear pony, and the kind of athlete I want to be, I have to let it go.

It’s funny, I want to hang on to it with my fingernails. Isn’t that what strong, tough people do? Hang on? Even writing that, I felt upset and disappointed. The reality is very different- I was happier yesterday when I didn’t have an agenda.

 

Low maintenance (and yet I still wish to be maintained)

I  had a really interesting chat/session with a friend yesterday (in lieu of me going to the gym at lunch, which is my preferred routine). Because I am still recovering from some of my minor injuries (shoulder, the scrapes on my hands, knee and elbow, now with added bonus of shin splints), I figured I needed to take more time off from working out that I wanted to.

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Healing! This was on Friday.

So we met and had a great conversation! I was kind of struggling mentally with the (relatively minor) setback I had recently, so it was really nice to talk about this stuff with someone who can help me ‘reframe’ what is going on in my head, and help me make a plan for my future rides, and runs, where I’m not running through disaster scenarios in my head, or reliving tripping and falling. If I am being honest, I had falling nightmares after Thursday. All I could feel when I was trying to sleep was this scary ‘rocked’ feeling?

Ugh.

And this weirdly triggered some pretty intense riding anxiety. A ‘physical’ anxiety, if you will? When I went to ride Oats, and he was lame (and now sound), I just couldn’t deal. Physically I’m not even badly hurt, but for some reason it felt serious, like wow…I could get hurt doing this (riding, running, whatever) in a way that doesn’t feel real most days. Or at least, I don’t care.

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This one started healing really early!

Now I do. For now anyways!

I have to tone it WAY down this week. My shin splints hurt so badly this morning I limped to work. That was idiotic. I’m making the big step to walk home from work (can’t run), and get a lift in tomorrow, which is strangely difficult for me to swallow. I don’t WANT to get a lift in? I want to run.

I’m clearly still healing, and this is hard for me to take.

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this one remains the grossest. Not that painful, but it got stuck to my breeches. YUCK.

So my friend and I worked on a plan for my rides (mentally mostly) to make sure that when I go out to ride, I do not bring this negative, ‘triggering’ mentality with me. I’m looking for fun, easy, happy, positive rides. Productive? Sure, can be. But is it fun? That’s the most important.

I had to work on this mindset last night, I was back in the indoor (I am VERY afraid of bringing back his weird 2-week lameness???) so I have been riding in the indoor. Plus my shoulder is messed up, and I have on and off numbness in my foot from the freaking shin splints. You should see me dismount…It’s not pretty. Lots of cringing, and a slowwww slide off Oats.

It’s not as fun, but whatever. He was very good, nice floaty trot, but he was heavier on my hands, draggy through transitions, whatever. Typical Oats stuff. But if/when I’m having kind of a tougher day mentally, this sets me off into a ‘perfection’ spiral, if you know what that means?

Luckily I had JUST worked on defusing and moving on that morning. So I did that! I didn’t get tense, clench up on him, anxious or anything. If I felt like we were getting too ‘into’ it and intense, I moved on and did stretchy trot. I thought ‘calm’ and ‘moving on’ when it got too much. Plus I smiled! I miss riding. 😉

It’s weird that a physical pain (falling) translates into me being extra-anxious and hard on myself and my horse…But that’s kind of where I am. I’m working my way back, and I feel hopeful that we can do it! I want to be challenged, I want to have fun. I want to learn, try, fail, achieve and succeed again. I miss that (and honestly, it’s only been like 3 weeks. Hah!).

Being ok with riding ok?

So, not a ton to report on the riding front. As I mentioned my jump lesson on Thursday was more of a ‘deal with the weird issue that is cropping up’ and that was dealt with…

Saturday he was ok, not great, just ok. My rides have certainly been feeling ‘blah’ lately so I rode, and we worked through some stuff and it was fine but I never really got that ‘ YES ‘ feeling that I am looking for. We also worked on some therapy- anxiety training after my ride, with Oats wearing a bareback pad and me getting led around on him, working on my breathing. It was good, and he was very cooperative. Bit by bit, I suppose.

I do still wonder if I am making progress with my anxiety? But it just isn’t something you can really ‘measure’ you know…

Sunday was a quickie ride, as we had a full day planned that consisted of floating at Thetis Lake (yeah summer is HERE!) and then going downtown for ‘Car-Free Day’ which was a blast! Oats was good, again not ‘great’ or anything to write home about. We worked on lumpy bumpy transitions, some awkward, some ok, nothing wonderful.

UGH though on our way back up to the barn, a pony was snoozing in the field (Elmo), and I laughed and was like oh cute Elmo, he look dead! Well, apparently Oats thought so too, and when Elmo got up, Oats LOST HIS SHIT I guess assuming Elmo had since risen from the dead…I was on a runaway who was losing his mind, and couldn’t decide if he should bolt up the hill, run sideways and jump over the fence, or c. what he actually did, which was run backwards into the blackberry bushes, snorting and freaking out. I leapt off, my water bottle went flying, and I managed to grab the reins back.

Jesus.

He was still snorting and freaking out, and we walked calmly back up to the barn.

Horses….

I do have a lesson tonight, dressage, so we SHALL SEE!