Tuesday, February 21, 2012


One year I just gave up making New Year's resolutions... you know, the kind where you're going to lose weight, exercise everyday, balance your check book and keep a clean and tidy house.  They never really worked and well, you never felt good when you left them in the dust.  

Instead of resolutions, I made attitude adjustments.   The best (which I still need a reminder from time to time) was the commitment to be a kinder and gentler human being.  Making the change from being an authoritarian to a mentor (and not one of those "mentors" that is really a bossy control freak) wasn't easy.  It was, actually, the gift of all gifts because as I learned to be kind and gentle to others I had to do the same to me.  And folks, that is not an easy task... no it is not!

I haven't felt whole in a while.  I believe that my confidence was still fragile after the infamous tree incident and shattered when Sugar and I fell while foxhunting.  Pushing myself to "get back' did more damage than any of the falls.  Everyone - trainers, friends and fellow riders - have been supportive in my quest to restore my GRRRR.  The only person pushing me...  is me and it hasn't been working.  A kinder and gentler response to my fear and anxiety has to come from within. 

In the spirit of confession, it is true that sometimes you need something else...  like a trainer, not for dressage or jumping, but one for your mind.  Yup, some trainer/psyschologist that specializes in PTSD.  I am not ready to quit, well not eventing, but I would love to quit all the anxiety/panic attacks and get back to the place where nerves equal just harmless annoying verbal diarrhea.

Sunday was the very first jumping lesson that seemed normal since the "Lost Season of 2011". Normal really is an overstated term... You see, I did not have a panic attack, I did not have an emotional break down and I did not cry. I began the lesson with a sense of eagerness which turned into fun. The jumps were just 2'3". Without the worry of height, I could focus on all those pieces that when put together nicely, allow for rythm and flow with power and grace.

Used with permission

The Instructor at the City Barn is kind and patient.  Bless her heart, she's honored the Eventer I was and offers the reinforcement I need now to help me continue in my quest.  And who knew how therapeutic it would be to be in a class of talented beginners... their struggles and successes boister my confidence.  I am grateful for this connection.

And the trainer fixing my head/heart is working one issue at a time...  and I can see faintly that rythmic gallop and cross country run that makes all of this worth it...  worth every tear, every penny...  it's all good!


Barbara said...

When I have had falls, or even near falls where my confidence runs and hides in the dark, the only thing that really works for me is to start over. Mount, walk, turn, turn both ways..... only add when what I am doing gets so boring that I have trouble staying awake. It works for me and it works gradually faster and faster. When I try to jump back in at what seems a reasonable level of work - that is an anxiety disaster. Do what works for you and don't let anyone else (even your little dark voice) change the agenda.

eventer79 said...

It's amazing what an impact a little compassion can make in a person's life. Good for you for finding someone who is such a giver.

Amy said...

I love what Barbara said, about not giving in to the little dark voice. Insidious little booger, that LBV. As for your comment on AWIP, holy crap, we ARE living the same life! Amazing!
I'm learning to take care of myself as well. My friend Libby is a great teacher as far as this goes. From her I am learning to step back when I need to, take a break when I need to, and that it's OK to say you know, I'm fine at 2'3" today. Because as David O'Connor says, if you aren't doing it right at that level, it's gonna come back to bite you further down the road.
Good for you!

Liz Goldsmith said...

The best advice I got after I had my confidence shattering fall was to stop making myself scared and stay at a level until I was so bored that I had to move up. If that meant just jumping cross-rails, so be it.

I stopped jumping once for about 6 months. I didn't want to take the risk. My horse was such a lovely mover that I thought we could concentrate on dressage and be happy.

Well, I got bored. First I hopped a cross rail or two. AFter awhile that wasn't enough. When no one was looking and with my heart in my mouth, I started trotting some small xc fences.

You know where you met me :). I went from wondering if I'd ever jump again to loving the hunt field. Once I gave myself permission to take it slowly, it didn't take that long to get my "GRR" back.

How about you and i meet up at Great Brook and have some fun. We can trade horses, jump the small stuff and have no pressure!

Miranda said...

I get worked up about showing every time, no matter what. Pippi could school wonderfully and I still flip. Heck I get nervous just having friends and family watching me ride. Glad you finally got a "normal" ride. That's a good start in the right direction.

SprinklerBandit said...

Nothing like that first "normal" ride. :-D Glad you're making progress.

Amanda said...

Glad to hear you aren't giving up. I know how paralyzing fear and anxiety can be.

samihob said...

Hi - Your blog is Haynets Blog of the Day today - come and take a look: http://hay-net.co.uk/haynet-news/2125/blog-of-the-day---confessions-of-an-aa-event-rider-and-convicted-over-thinker