Wednesday, June 18, 2014


So I rode a wild horse last night over jumps that could be bigger and scarier...  I did not ask for more and I barely controlled my desire to tell Eventing Trainer that enough was enough.  You see, I suffer from ARD (Adult Rider's Disease) and last night it flared up dramatically!

 It's a little recognized and often prevalent disorder that attacks re-riders over a certain age.  I've heard it said that mothers of young children can be afflicted with a low grade infection for many years before actual diagnosis. 

There are two distinct forms of the condition:
  • Perfectionism - as in, I must have everything perfect before ________ (insert event - showing, taking a clinic with a BNT, etc here).  This form of ARD can be brutally limiting keeping the rider busy getting ready to do something.  It saps the fun out of the experience and often, even if achieving "perfection" the disease shifts into another level of desire never acknowledging the actual accomplishment.
  • Apprehension/Fear - for some, this is a fear of failure, a fear of embarrassment and although, less frequently, a fear of getting hurt.  This form is less debilitating than Perfectionism since many sufferers work hard with professionals to find relief and ultimately remission.
Used with permission
It's funny, once you've been diagnosed with a condition, you find others with it.  I hear their cry at every horse event - eventers, fox hunters, dressage - seriously, every discipline...  The terms "shoes" "footing/too hard/too soft", "taking it easy", "knees/back ache" and "a little off", "that could be better", etc are indicators that someone may be suffering from ARD.  We are not alone. 

Sugar was a wild thing last night.  Cooped up for three days nursing a loose shoe made my lil' pinto pony into a barely trained mustang...  Oh, she wanted to jump as she locked into every jump that hit her (our) gaze but she wanted it her way!  And, that way was fast and furious.

I spent a hard day at work thinking I should cancel the lesson - too hot, too humid, Sugar just got her new shoes, there were only four jumps in the outdoor, wasn't worth Eventing Trainer's time and work needed my attention.  ARD at my finest.

And, it was a good lesson.  My apprehension caused me to override her which exasperated the wild thing.  The more we jumped the better we got until we went from wild, underpowered/overpowered and irratic to jumping somewhat in a rythm and somewhat keeping her exhuberance under control

So, the prescription from the Eventing Trainer, for folks with my form of ARD - jump at least once a week.  Let me say that again - Jump at least once a week! 


Anonymous said...

I too have a bad case of ARD.

sunflowers & absinthe said...

Sounds like it worked out!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I don't know - fear of getting hurt is right up there, lurking in the background - and I don't even jump any more!

Glad things ended well in your lesson.

Maybe we need a new term - ancient riders disease.

Amanda said...

Oh yes, I am definitely a sufferer of ARD. Glad your lesson worked out!

AlchemyEventing said...

Haha great post, very relateable...

Happy Pony said...

Another ARD sufferer :) I've got it bad, so two jumping lessons a week are in order to keep it in remission!

Suzanne said...

I knew I wasn't alone.. thanks for sharing! (Two jumping lessons... hmmmm)

Cassie said...

I think I've got it! Though I never knew what it was until now, glad to know I'm not alone!