Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Gosh, I wish that title meant that we, Sugar and I, are back in the game!  Alas, I just got the ok from Orthopedics to go back into full work and the "proposed" first Event is the University of New Hampshire Summer Horse Trials in July.  (Sugar's first event was GMHA on 6/1- more about that later.)

Winning is still winning even if it means winning the Area 1 Adult Riders Scholarship "to promote knowledge of and skill development in the sport of eventing" through writing and not actually riding.  My essay was simple and should be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog:

Addendum to the USEA Area 1 Educational Scholarship Application

Every rider in some way or another struggles with nerves. As a Competitor, it sometimes comes as part of showing, attending a clinic or even a lesson. We know it, work on it and learn to live at peace with it…

And, when “nerves” become a bit more like anxiety and sometimes becomes debilitating, a person either quits or seeks out professionals who can help them walk through the walls holding them back.

When we were care free!
For me, I was always a worried rider but when I got seriously hurt competing at Groton House Farm in 2010, worry intensified into full blown anxiety attacks. My, already fragile, confidence was shattered after my horse slipped and fell on me after jumping a wall during a foxhunt. Although neither of us were hurt, I would break down before and during jumping lessons. It was not a pretty sight.

I worked on these very serious issues with a Psychologist specializing in PTSD work. I got better and began to function again. Jumping was still hard work but my brain did not shut off. Even though I was not riding at the level I was before the accident, there was slow progress.

As I healed, the issues became as much about dealing with an athletic, opinionated spooky mare as my nerves. My psychologist tried but could not help with the riding issues and resulting anxiety. I believe that a Psychologist that events and teaches riding could be the final spot of glue that pulls the pieces together. 

You might say, “You could quit rather than putting yourself through this.” I would reply, “For two years preceding the fall, my most challenging part of eventing was the dressage warm up or maybe getting by the judges box without a spooky tight horse. I know we can get back what we lost (without the antics in the warm up or tightness, hopefully) with just a bit more “specialized” help. Eventing is what I want to do – no doubt about it.

Used with permission
This scholarship will help me put together an intensive workshop with Andrea Waldo, founder of the Stressless Riding program.. It will be structured as follows:  
  • Day 1 – Therapy first, then a lesson
    • Purpose – talk about what is going on before riding, then have Andrea teach me after the session
  • Day 2 – Therapy during a lesson 
    • Purpose – talk me through my anxiety during lesson
  •  Day 3 – Lesson first, then Therapy
    • Purpose – lesson, then help me cope with moving forward 
Finally, as a blogger and writer for Optimum Minutes… I’ll be able to effectively communicate the experience to others and make it fun and educational.

Suzanne Adams – Rider
Fame & Frolic (aka Sugar) – Horse

So the dates for my very own behavioral health (crazy, middle-aged master rider)clinic are 6/14-6/16.  No matter what the result, it will be worth the effort and I am very grateful to have this opportunity.



Marissa said...

Wow...that is so awesome. I've had horrible confidence issues recently and something like that would really benefit me. Can't wait to hear about it!

Amanda said...


Austen Gage said...

I've been following you since before your accident, and I'm so excited you're getting this opportunity! How fantastic. Let us know how it goes, for sure!

Amy said...

Damn skippy Yay You!! What a cool opportunity! Where did you find this woman? Can't wait to read all about it. So psyched for you and your Sugar. :) Love from Jerz!

T Myers said...

Congrats! Cant wait to hear about it :)