Sunday, March 31, 2013

HALF HALT - LET GO!

Ahhhh, the half halt...  that one moment where your hand asks the horse to stop while your legs ask them to go forward.  Done well, the horse balances, transfers power onto their hind legs and then thrusts forward with grace... elevating the pair upwards lightly. 

The action is swift, hold and then let go.  Done poorly, momentum is slowed, the horse gets stuck and heavily rooted.  There is no where to go from there...  except to start over and hope to achieve the lightness, while maintaining the power and grace.

I just finished a most spectacular Staycation that moved into a Vacation.  Its Spring here in New England and I used every opportunity I could to ride outside...  Outside, the glorious outdoors...  Its been almost 4 months since I could truly say that I spent lots of time OUTSIDE...  That grin that started Wednesday was a full blown all encompassing full-cheeked smile by Friday. 


Spring in New England
Shhhhhhh...  Sugar and I galloped for the first time since the Thanksgiving Hunt and it was spectacular!  We probably got a real gallop going on for maybe 200 yards before she leaped and bounded...unable to contain her excitement.  Every first gallop of the season is amazing and this one was no different than the other Spring gallops.

Yet, by the time I left for Kripalu Yoga and Center for Health, I lost that loving feeling.  Well, maybe I allowed the negativity of others fill the joy that was in my heart.   You see, I went from the  overwhelming happiness of being alive, of loving my quirky exuberant horse, to obsessing about the upcoming show season and indulging in a long time resentment towards a barn peep.

What I needed, truly needed...  really needed... was a HALF HALT!  A spiritual half halt allowing me to rebalance my energy and power and letting go of fear, anger and resentment and releasing the grace and peace that makes me smile.

Kripalu - it's that kind of place!
And thus, my quest this weekend was for that moment where my mind half halts while letting go, moving forward with beauty, power and grace...  The work began and will continue as long as my heart is willing...  How lucky am I?

{{{Note to self - Waving drivers into the merge is a very nice gesture which loses it's nice quality if you teach them to drive - Jersey Style.  Just sayin'!}}}

Sunday, March 24, 2013

JUST THINKING....

Really?  Just thinking?  Well, do yourself a favor and just stop...  just stop!  For the moment, just be...  Just sayin'!
Don't ya think this is gallop worthy?

A very, very wise woman once told me that wandering alone in your mind can be a very dangerous place.  And I believe that somewhere out there Jimmy Wofford once said that intelligence has no place on the back of a horse.  He is a firm believer in KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.

The title of my blog includes "... a Convicted Overthinker" and I must once again confess that I, in fact, think waaaaaayyyy too much!  Now some of you may be saying to yourself, "Well, for sure, you didn't need to tell us.  Seriously, do you even read your own writings?" 

My jumping lesson yesterday was fantastic!  And not because I didn't have a panic attack, cry or even fall.  Yesterday, I jumped big (novice height).  I jumped complicated (rollbacks, tight turns and bending lines) and we jumped hard (lots of jumps in a course). 

Don't ya think XC rocks?
I could feel Sug's doubt and added the confidence that makes her bold.  And that feeling came sooner and the confidence more real and committed than its been in a long time.  I still sputtered and cursed (just a bit) to keep me committed to making us work when I had doubt...  we jumped and for the most part we jumped well.

This lesson was about being in the moment.  When asked to do a tight bending line to an oxer, I had a moment ...  the vision in my head was a disastrous fall.  I stopped the train of thought, said out loud for me to hear, "We can do this Sug!  Let's do it!"  And, we did... 

Then the jumps went up again...  My brain kicked in...  How am I going to get her past the spooky corner deep enough to make the short turn to angle the vertical enough to avoid the plank in the center, to hit the small vertical to the rollback...  Wait, how should I do the rollback?  Did she want me to do the yellow and then rollback to the vertical?  Wait, how am I going to get the turn to the vertical to make the jump....

Don't ya think... 2013, my year?
And then my eye stopped going forward and looked at how close we were to the standard and Sug, ran out...  And we all know who is at fault for a runout...  right?  The Eventing Trainer said,  "Do it again!  Sug lost confidence in you after saving your butt the last time.  Now you have to tell her that you are committed to helping her..."

My overactive brain went ballistic...  "OMG, you ruined her!  She lost confidence in you!  You are falling apart!  OMG!  She lost confidence!  OMG!"

Shhhhhhh....  take a breath and make it happen...  Shhhh...  Then my Eventing Trainer said the words that makes my mind settle...  "Do this one more time and you can be finished!" 

We did and we were!

{{{{Note to self - Stay in the moment...  its safer that way}}}}

Sunday, March 17, 2013

GETTING TO YES!

Gonna be good!
They say that one of the hardest things about being a salesperson is enduring the many little failures to finally get to success.  There have been times when I've posted a sale only to have a "situation" come up that killed it and I had to take the heat from the management team as I crossed it off the SOLD column and label it as LOST. 

Sales is not all about fabulous lunches, glowing reports and big money...  it is hard work that sometimes requires an internal cheerleading squad kicking you on..

A wise woman once said very early on in this career, "If you don't ask, the answer is always no!  Asking takes you much closer to a yes than holding silent and hoping." 

Yesterday, I did not say no!  Let me repeat, even though I felt that I could not jump any higher than 2'6" on my spooky, bossy mare, when the Eventing Trainer put the jumps up yet again, and even though my brain screamed for release, I did not say no!  I did not say no!

Oh, I wanted to...  the words ran wildly in my brain as I battled my demons...  "Not Ready!", "Let's do that next week!"  "I'll take two lessons next week, and we can do it then."  "Not ready!"  "I'm ok with what we just did."  "We should stop here and let the others come in and use the indoor!"  "Please, let's wait, Please?!"

Somewhere in all those words another battle raged!  The cheering squad finally stood up and challenged the demons... "You can do this!"  "Sug, is better and less spooky at the bigger jumps!"  "You feel so secure in the tack today and nothing has ruffled legs and seat!"  "Honey, it's time... just breathe, stop crying and go... trust me, you'll have fun when it's done!"
Peace and contentment

God Bless the Eventing Trainer and Bestest Eventing Buddy!  It would be so much easier to encourage me to quit than to help me push through these last walls.  And, if the question is not asked the answer is always no!

And, after we did a pretty spectacular line, the ET asked, "You have to admit that that line was really fun, right?"  My sniffling response squeaked out, "Yes" {{sniffle, snort}} "Ask me again in a few hours and I'll tell you how great it was."  True to form, after tack was cleaned and Sugar received her spa treatment and I was alone in the barn, I said (for no one but me to hear), "That was an effen blast!"

"Fun is flying over jumps on your horse!"  It is gonna be ok!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

SUCH A WHINER...

Tough to be him
Gosh I love my foxhound, Chandler Bing (aka, Mr Floppy).  He is most adorable, funny and cuddly.  Strangely enough, I've never had an animal that was so loving AND affectionate. 

Jonah (aka, The Convict) loves me...  He is much like the boyfriends of my past - doing things that demonstrate love, giving me things (and for Jonah, that means my dirty socks or barn shoes) that could be about love but never actually using the word "love" ever... 

But, I digress...  this was about whining...  You see, all of Chandler's "love" comes with a NEED to be with me...  If I am not close or he feels that I am leaving, he begins to fret, which becomes a whimper until the whining begins...  And, then the barking and then the yelling...  (ooops, that's me).  That whining is so irritating that one begins to forget the LOVE and, well...

I jumped last night.  And it was good!  My body felt balanced, my lower leg strong and my reflexes just about above average.  And, I was happy... no THRILLED!  The height is coming back and I can feel the progress moving forward.  Unfortunately, all this reflection and all this peace and serenity over my future comes after I'm done (and sometimes hours after I'm done.)

You see, despite all the new age, alternative therapies and positive thinking/projecting I do, I still find myself a whiner at heart.  I wonder sometimes if my Eventing and Dressage Trainers just want to slap me silly when the whimpering starts in all attempts to stop the whining.   (Hmmm, maybe I'm cute and cuddly like Chandler....)

A wise woman once told me (well, tells me many times) that life is about progress, moving one step forward rather than focusing on perfection. 

My Boyfriend
I could quit....  I mean I love dressage and hunting...  so why not?  Why bother "torturing" myself with anxiety, fretting and whining.  Just do the fancy dancing...  It's easy and quite fun when things begin clicking and all that power and grace is contained underneath... enjoying the fine line between control and explosion...

Yeah, I think like that everytime I put the jumping saddle on...  What I know to be true from the very core of my being is that when I jump and when I come off a cross country course...  there is no greater high than the one I was on....  It is that good! 

So, for today...  I wish I wasn't battling my demons with whine!  Yet, the journey has been most excellent and promises to be even more...  I guess I just embraced my inner-foxhound!
video

Sunday, March 3, 2013

LIKE!!!

The founders of Facebook refuse to add a DISLIKE button.  Their idea of social networking was to promote community and foster fun with friends and family.  (Who knew that it would also promote more than just a few awkward pics of smooched up faces doing the sideways peace sign while strategically hiding a red solo cup in the background). 

Think about it, how many times would you just LOVE to hit the dislike button letting the poster know how you felt about a political post or two?  And, if you had a choice... would you be more likely to hit "dislike" over "like"? Hmmmmm....

I like to think of myself as a positive person.  You know, looking at the bright side, finding the silver lining and all of that...  I even evaluate my "talk", be it to self or to others, 'cause I want to be on the good side of positive thinking...  just a hair's breadth before being called annoyingly perky. 

So when Niall Quirk asked me to tell him what I liked about my warm up, I went on and on....  tight, not enough hind end, adequate trot - could be more, struggling to keep her engaged...  blah, blah, blah.  His voice, with that lovely Irish accent, stopped me in mid blather... "WHAT DO YOU LIKE about what you're doing?"

"What? Um? Uh? Well..... Uh...  She's not spooky?"  Still spoken in the negative but come on...  that's it?  That is all you got?"  {{{{SIGH!}}}}  Right! If I focus on what is wrong, wrong becomes the norm.  And if I can not feel what is correct and accept what is good, how does that attitude translate to Ms Sug?  Could it even be pleasant and good? 

So begins the transition, from a nit-picking, never satisfied, nagging fish wife to an open loving, yet demanding partner...  Feeling what is good, asking for more, being clear about our goals and enjoying the progress...

Ahhhhh, clinics and lessons... best marital counseling evah!